Choosing hinges for overlay doors

- May 08, 2018 -

Face Frame Cabinets with Overlay Doors

Overlay doors are an extremely popular choice for face frame cabinets. Overlay doors are easy to install and can be mounted with a variety of types of hinges, including:

  • European Concealed Hinges

  • Overlay Hinges

  • Variable Overlay Hinges

  • Single and Double Demountable Hinges

European Concealed Hinges

face frame inset euro style hinge

In General: Although originally designed for frameless cabinets, European concealed hinges have been adapted for a varitey of face fame cabinet applications. Easy to install, durable and completely hidden from view when the cabinet door is closed, European hinge are now a top choice for new face frame cabinets.

Adjustability: Most European hinges offer exceptional adjustability. Many use a cam adjustment system that allows fine adjustments to be made with the turn of a screwdriver. Most Euro style hinges allow adjustment in either two or three directions.

Installation: European hinges are very easy to install, although the process does require one special operation. The "cup" of a European concealed hinge mounts to a specially sized hole bored into the back of the cabinet door. A hinge cup jig, such as the Rocker Concealed Hinge Jig-It, is recommended for fast, accurate drilling of hinge cup bores.

When to use: European style hinges are a popular choice for kitchen cabinets and entertainment centers, and may be used for a variety of other applications.

Overlay Hinges

partial inset hinge

In General: Overlay hinges are a "semi-concealed" hinge, meaning that the hinge knuckle and a small amount of the hinge body are visible when the cabinet door is closed. Overlay hinges wrap around the insided edge of the cabient face frame and are designed for use with specific door overlay dimensions.

Adjustability: Varies from hinge to hinge. Some overlay hinges are drilled with oblong screw holes for height or side-to-side adjustability.

Installation: Overlay hinges are fairly easy to install. Overlay hinges attach directly to the inside edge of the cabinet face frame and cabinet door. They do not require a mortise.

When to use: Overlay hinges are an affordable option for kitchen and utility cabinets.

Variable Overlay Hinges

partial inset hinge

In Genereal: Variable overlay hinges are a traditional choice for overlay cabinet doors. They're sturdy, available in a variety of finishes, and often include a sef-closing feature.

Adjustability: Varies from hinge to hinge. Some variable overlay hinges have oblong screw holes to alow for height or side-to-side adjustments.

Installation: Variable overlay hinges are easy to install. They attach to the surface of the cabinet and door, and do not require a mortise. The cabinet-side hinge leaf can be attached to the cabinet face frame while the door is held the final closed position, making correct positionong of the door especially easy.

When to use: The cabinet-side leaf of a variable overlay hinge can be attached anywhere across the width of the cabinet face frame, making the hinge comapatible with doors of any overlay dimension. Their a great choice for non-standard door overlays and retro-fitting projects.

Single and Double Demountable Hinges

face frame inset euro style hinge

In General: Single and double Demountable hinges are a more complex version of traditional overlay hinges. While somewhat more difficult to install than other overlay hinges, they offer greater adjustability and the ability to quickly mount and demaount doors. Demountable hinges partially visible when the cabinet door is closed and are available in a variety decorative finishes.

Adjustability: Demountable hinges offer excellent adjustability. They are adjustable for height, depth and from side to side with the turn of a single screw.

Installation: Single demountable hinges mount to a routed T-slot in the cabinet door and to the surface of the cabinet face frame. Double demountable hinges mount to a slot in both the door and the face frame. Specially designed slot cutting router bits are available through the Rockler demountable hinge offer.
When to use: 3-way adjustability make demountable hinges a good alternative to European concealed hinges when visible hinge hardware is desired. Especially recommended for retrofitting projects.

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