Selecting European Hinges
General Information about European Hinges
European style hinges are a modern high-tech hinge for cabinets. European hinges may also be commonly referred to Blum or Grass hinges, as these are two of the main manufacturers of this type of hinge. They are typically comprised of two parts: the hinge and the mounting plate. The hinge mounts in a hole bored in the back side of a cabinet door. This hole is most commonly 35mm in diameter, but there are also special cases where this hole will be 25 or 40mm in diameter. The mounting plate is installed on the cabinet in one of several places depending on the type of cabinet. For face-frame cabinets the mounting plate is either installed on the edge of the face frame (most typical) or on the front surface of the face frame. For frameless cabinets the mounting plate is installed on the inside surface of the side panel.
Compact European hinge with mounting plate on edge of face frame.
Compact European hinge with mounting plate on the front surface of the face frame.
European hinge with mounting plate attached to inside surface of the side panel (this is frameless cabinet meaning it does not have a face frame).
Pros and Cons of European Style Hinges
- When the door is closed the hinges are completely concealed
- The doors are adjustable after the hinges are installed
- The hinges are available in a wide variety of configurations
- They are relatively inexpensive.
- With the proper installation jigs they can be installed fairly quickly
- Installation can be difficult for the average homeowner unless one has the proper tools and a complete understanding of the different installation configurations. It is typically recommended to hire an experienced cabinet hardware installer to for installation. If considering going the DIY route, at the very least a Forstner bit sized for the hinge cup is required to drill into the back of the door. Having additional tools, such as access to a drill press, can provide a huge advantage. As an alternative to hiring someone to install the hinges on site, a cabinet shop with a boring machine for European hinges may be willing to drill your holes for a fee. With this step out of the way the installation process will be much easier.
Installation of European Hinges
Before you can attempt installation of European style hinges, you need to understand the following terms regarding your cabinets and the European style hinges.
- Is your cabinet construction type face frame or frameless?The mounting plate for frameless type cabinets mount on the inside wall (side panel) of the cabinet. The mounting plate for face frame type cabinets mount on the edge of the face frame itself.
- Are the doors overlay, inset, or back-to-back (also known as twin doors)?The type of door you have determines which mounting plate and what type of hinge you will use.
Door Types for Frameless Cabinets
Door Types for Face Frame Cabinets
- How far do you want the doors to open (opening angle)?Blum hinges and European hinges come in different opening angle degrees. Some examples of opening angles are 110 degrees, 120 degrees and 170 degrees.
- If the door is an “overlay door” what overlay dimension do you want?The overlay dimension is the distance that the door lays over the cabinet opening. It is measured on an existing cabinet by taking the distance from the edge of the opening to the edge of the door when the door is in the closed position. Once you know what overlay dimension you are going to use you would consult an “overlay table” to pick your mounting plate and your bore distance. The bore distance is the distance from the edge of the cabinet door to the edge of the 35mm hole that is drilled for the hinge. Each hinge will have an “overlay table” that will help you determine which mounting plate and what bore distance to use to give you the overlay that you want.
- If the door is an “inset door” or “back-to-back” door, what reveal dimension do you need to use? The reveal (reveal is the gap between the twin doors or the gap between the door and the face frame in the case of an inset door) is important because you need enough reveal to keep the door from binding when it is opened. The thicker the door the more reveal is needed. The reveal dimension is determined by the bore distance. Each hinge will have a “reveal table” which will show the mounting plate height, the bore distance and the resulting reveal dimension.
Each of the Blum European hinges that is on the HardwareSource website has installation information such as overlay tables, reveal tables and mounting plate choices to help you with your purchase.
How Many Hinges to Use on Your Door