Easiest Way to Measure and Replace Cabinet Hinges

Want to change a broken hinge of your closet? Or looking for a solution to upgrade all the hinges of your kitchen cabinets? Changing cabinet hinges is no rocket science. All you need is the right replacement. 

Measuring your old hinges is the prerequisite to finding the best replacement for your cabinet hinge. You can get your new hinges online with this measurement. If you wish to get the hinges from the local hardware store, then this very measurement will be needed by the seller to find you the right replacement. 

So, today’s article is all about how to measure the hinges correctly. As a bonus, we also added guidelines to install a new set of hinges, where to put which type of hinge, buying guides, and many more! It is a complete package for you, so don’t skip any part of it. 

Types of Hinges

Cabinet hinges are countless types, to be honest. Because in the market they are found in different sizes, screw patterns, made of different materials and so on. But broadly all the cabinet or door hinges can be categorized into three types. 

Mortise

mortise cabinet hinges

These are old-fashioned and the most commonly used hinges. These are used in cabinets, doors, windows, and other facilities. This hinge has a vertical pin in the middle and has two same-sized leaves on both sides. These are still used in corner cabinets where an opening of 170 degrees is required. So, a broad opening is its advantage. But the pin shows from outside, which is not preferred anymore. 

Semi-Concealed

Semi-Concealed cabinet hinges

These hinges are just like the name suggests: they are less visible than mortise hinges. Semi-concealed ones are used in cabinets with partial or full insets. The pin is stuck inward and has two leaves of different sizes. 

Concealed/European Style

Cabinet Hinges

Currently, concealed hinges are used in modern homes. In modern establishments, people prefer cabinets with seamless doors. So, the doors are fully inset against the cabinet frame. This is where these hinges come in handy. 

These are used in any kind of door, but mostly in inset doors, these hinges are impossible to detect from outside and offer an opening of 95 degrees. Concealed hinges feature soft-close doors. 

Types of Cabinet Doors

Now you know that there are differences among different hinges in terms of functionality. Not all the hinges will work in all your kitchen or closet cabinets. What type of hinge you need depends on where the cabinet door is, and which hinges were used earlier. 

Inset

When cabinet doors are designed to align with the cabinet frame, the door completely sits on the frame. The door doesn’t overlap. Modern interior prefers seamlessness. So, this type of door is used almost anywhere and everywhere in a home. 

Partial Inset

In the corner shelves and cabinets, the doors can not be made full inset. So, a part of the door is cut out to ensure the proper closing of the door against the corner. The other part of the door remains as it is. This is what a partial inset door is. It is more likely that you will need different types of hinges for the corners and other hinges for the rest of the cabinets, 

Overlay

how to measure cabinet hinges

Does your cabinet door overlap the cabinet frame? These are called overlay doors. Finding the right hinges mostly depends on the size of the overlay. Measuring the overlay can be as exhausting as measuring the hinges. 

Terms of Different Parts of Cabinet Hinges

To measure the cabinet hinges properly, first, let’s talk about different parts of the plants. Taking the right measurement become easier when you already know the terms,

Leaf

The parts on the sides of the hinge pin are called a leaf. The leaf can be symmetrical or asymmetrical. Mortise hinges have two same-size leaves whereas concealed hinges have different size leaves. For large cabinet doors, a longer door leaf provides better support. 

Pin

It is that part that ensures that the cabinet door moves inward and outward. The vertical long metal bar in between the leaf is the pin. Read more: 7 Table Saw Workstation Plans You Can DIY Easily

Cup/Tub

This section is only seen in concealed or European hinges. There is a deep, cup-shaped part on the cabinet hinge that sits on the cabinet door groove. This is called a cup or tub. 

Overlay

Though we have covered this part, on the door type section. But in the hinges, the overlay means the measurement of the overlapping of the door. This measurement is crucial and important to take as it varies for different designs of hinges. 

Take two strips of tape. Place one to the edge of the hinge when the door closed. Take another strip of tape and place it on the edge of the opening edge of the frame when it is open. The gap between the two masking tapes is called an overlay of the hinges. Usually, it is ¼ inches, but can be different. 

Lip 

For semi insert doors, take the measurement of the edge when the door is open. You have to take the length of the door edge which is grooved to fix it on the frame. In this case, the width differences of the outer width of the door and the inner width are the overlay and it is called the lip.

Mortise/Groove

To install European hinges, there is a pattern cut out from the cabinet door to fit in the cup tub. This is called a groove. Other types of hinges don’t require this measurement. The depth of the cut is needed to measure to get the same type of hinges. The cup diameter varies from 26mm, 35mm, or 40mm.

Required Tools

To replace old hinges or install new hinges, you will need masking tapes, a pencil, paper, a drill machine, or a flat-head screwdriver, wood fillers, and a utility knife. 

Steps of Measuring Cabinet Hinges

  • First, determine the type of hinge and door. 
  • Then, take the measurement of the length, depth, and width of each leaf of the hinge. 
  • Measure the cup diameter and depth
  • Draw the groove and screw patterns to find the perfect replacement. 
  • Use masking tapes to measure the overlay. 

Steps of Replacing Hinges

The semi-concealed and mortise hinges require no direction to install. So, here we are only talking about the tricky one: the European-style hinge. 

  • The best way to replace cabinet hinges is the take the old one to the store and buy the exact hinge again. This saves time and energy to measure the hinge parts and finding a replacement. 
  • If you are unable to find the perfect replacement or want to use a whole new set of hinges, then find the new hinge depending on your measurement. 
  • If the new hinge requires a different screw pattern,  then remove the old hinges, fill up the old screw marks with wood fillers and install the new hinges. 
  • First, there are two separable leaves of European hinges. You have to install the cabinet mounting plate first. Then, attach another mounting plate to the cabinet door at the proper height as the first installed plate. 
  • Now, slide or clip the door on the cabinet mounting plate. Test the overlay by opening and closing the doors. 
  • The overlay of the European hinge is adjustable. If needed, then slide the door to the right position in the mounting plate and screw it securely. 

What to Consider While Choosing a Hinge?

Cup Depth

The cup depth is quite fixed for your cabinet. If you want to install a different cup depth hinge, then you have to make the groove again. This will hamper the finish of your cabinet. So, try getting the hinge of the cup depth your cabinet approves. 

Opening

The opening of the door plays a vital role in selecting hinges. If the cabinet is placed in a corner and it has a half door, then surely it requires 110 to 170 degrees opening. In this case, the hinges with 95-degree openings are useless. 

Adjuster Size

European or concealed hinges come with adjustable overlay. Make sure that you get the adjustable one. The fixed adjuster concealed hinges won’t be of any use if you have measured your door overlay wrong. 

Door Size

The length, width, thickness, and weight of the door matters. The big the door is, the more large hinges need to be used. 

Mortise

To install any hinge, there is a pattern made on the cabinet, which is referred to as mortise. If you are installing a semi-concealed hinge and had a pointed mortise, then attaching a hinge with rounded plates won’t fit. 

Screw Pattern

Just like the mortise, the screw pattern is also should be considered. If the new hinge has a different screw pattern. 

How Many Hinge Needed in a Cabinet Door?

If the cabinet door is more than two ft, then it will need at least five hinges. Doors under two ft will need two to three hinges. All the hinges should be placed in a regular interval. It will help to spread the door weight uniform way. 

Final Verdict

So, this way all about taking the measurement of a cabinet hinge and install the right one to the right place in the right way. Now you are a pro to changing cabinet hinges. It won’t take long once you figure out how to do it practically. 

When you will do it for the first time you should try changing one cabinet door hinges at first. If you are successful then you can take attempt to change the rest of the hinges the same way. It will save you from over-buying the wrong size.

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About Gavin Ford

Hi, I am Gavin Ford. I am a full-time power tools salesperson and a part-time mechanic. I help my friends and neighbors with their tools. Which one to buy, how to buy it, how to use it, methods to fix broken tools, and so on. In I will do the same for the rest of the world. You will get everything you need to know about tools for regular and professional use.

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