Selecting Full Sized Door Hinges

Butt Hinges


The following information applies to hinges for residential homes, not commercial applications.

Residential Door Hinges

Residential hinges are the door hinges that are used in most tract type housing today. They are lighter in weight and are only available in a limited number of sizes and finishes. They are generally only available in 3 sizes (3″ x 3″, 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″, and 4″ x 4″). They are best used on lightweight doors.

Architectural Door Hinges

The hinges on our website called “Architectural Hinges” are the hinges most people want to use when upgrading the hardware in their home or when installing new custom doors. Architectural hinges are higher quality and made of thicker material than Residential hinges. They are available in all hinge sizes from 3″ x 3″ up to 6″ x 6″ and larger. Architectural hinges are available in a wider choice of finishes than are Residential hinges. They are also available with an NRP feature (NRP stands for non-removable pin). An Architectural hinge with NRP has a set screw in the barrel that is only accessible when the door is swung open. This security feature deters someone from removing the hinge pin and door on an outward swinging door. When you upgrade existing hinges from Residential grade to Architectural grade keep in mind that you must increase the mortise depth on the door and jamb because Architectural hinges are thicker.

Architectural Ball Bearing Door Hinges

An upgrade to the plain bearing Architectural Hinge is the ball bearing Architectural Hinge.Hinges do wear out over time. Heavier and/or wider doors put more stress on the hinges and tend to wear on the hinges’ knuckles. The ball bearings are placed between the knuckles to reduce friction. Ball bearing hinges increase the life of the hinge, tend not to make a creaking sound, make the door easier to open and are a good choice anytime a door closer is used.

How to Determine the Correct Number of Hinges per Door


How to Determine the Correct Size of Door Hinge to Use


Comparison of Architectural Door Hinges and Residential Door Hinges


The above comparison between Architectural and Residential hinges is a general guideline. Some hinge manufacturers may use slightly different thicknesses, screw hole patterns, etc.

Location of Butt Hinges on the Door


The top hinge should be located 5″ from the rabbet in the door frame (measure to the top of the hinge barrel). The bottom hinge should be located 10″ from the finished floor (measure to the bottom of the hinge barrel). This is the U.S. Standards procedure. Certain Western states use as a standard 7″ from the top and 11″ from the bottom. The third hinge should be centered between the top and the bottom hinges.

Specialty Hinges


Swing Clear Hinges are used whenever a door is required to swing completely clear of the openings so that wide equipment (for example wheelchairs) can pass through.

Wide Throw Hinges position the door out further when it is open than conventional hinges. They are used when a door is set back in a reveal (or where a door has a wide door jamb) and is required to open 180 degrees.

How to Estimate Door Weights


The figure below represents average pounds per square foot.

How to Measure Door Weights

To calculate your door weight multiply the size of your door (in square feet) times the number in the chart above (pounds per square feet). The result is your door weight in pounds.

For example if you have a 1-3/4″ thick door that is 8’0″ by 3’2″ and made out of oak, you would calculate the square inches of the door (96 x 38 = 3648) and divide by 144 to get the square footage (3648/144 = 25.33). To calculate the door weight multiply the square footage times the pounds per square foot for oak (25.33 x 7 = 177.31 lbs). Keep in mind that this is an estimate and does not include any hardware that you are going to have on the door.

Door Handing


Which Hinge Handing to Use?

  • For left hand doors, use left hand hinges.
  • For right hand doors, use right hand hinges.
  • For right hand reverse doors, use left hand hinges.
  • For left hand reverse doors, use right hand hinges.

Other Considerations

  • The hand of a door is determined from the outside of the door.
  • The outside of a room door is the hall side.
  • The outside of a closet door is the room or hall side.
  • The outside of a single communicating door is the side from which the hinges are not visible.

IMPORTANT! PLEASE NOTE: If you were sent to this page by a link on the HardwareSource.com website then this handing information applies to the product on the page that sent you here. If you arrived on this page from another website or from a search engine then this handing information may not apply to your hinge or product. Some manufacturers and some industries use different handing rules.