The cheapest ways to give your kitchen a face lift are painting the cabinets and changing out the knobs and replacing the hinges (like we did on our looong labor day weekend). Have you ever gone to the hardware store to pick out new cabinet hinges? Chances are you ended up staring at a wall of countless hinges wondering which ones will fit - at least that's how it happened for me! Before you head to the hardware store, here's what you need to know:
There are different cabinet door styles
Not all doors are made the same. Some doors fit in the cabinet frame, some fit fully over the frame so you can't see the frame at all, and some partially cover the frame. Here's the breakdown:
With inset cabinets the door fits fully inside the cabinet frame. With this style, the frame is in full view. If you decide to paint this type of cabinet be careful how much paint you put on the inside of the cabinet and the edge of the doors, too much paint and your door won't fit anymore!
Full Overlay cabinet doors completely cover the cabinet frame. If you look at cabinets like this you just see a wall of doors with no frame. They are popular now but you won't find them in older cabinets, mostly because the kind of hinge it uses is a newer style. If you have a full overlay cabinet you won't need to replace the hinge (because no one will see it!) unless it's broken.
Partial overlay is similar to a full overlay but the door is slightly smaller, exposing part of the cabinet frame. Partial overlay cabinets can come in number of sizes based on how much of the door overlaps the frame. The most common overlaps are 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2".
Now that you know what style of cabinet you have, it's time to pick some hinges!
There are different hinge styles
Not all hinges are made the same either. Hinges are designed to work for a specific style of cabinet door but often you have more than one option for hinges that will work with your style.
Hidden vs. Visible
Recently a hidden, or European style, hinge has been the rage. You can hang a cabinet door without seeing the hinges at all. The only way to have a full overlay door is with hidden hinges, but they also make them for partial overlay and even inset doors. If you're replacing your hinges with hidden hinges, make sure there's no ugly scars from the previous hinges. Especially on inset doors, there may be cut notches in the wood to fit the old hinges so if you switch to hidden hinges you'll have to spend a lot of time applying wood fill and sanding the surface to fill in that cut and make it square. If your cabinets are natural wood it will be hard to make the wood glue match but if the cabinets are painted you have a better chance of a smooth patching job.
Hinges for Inset
For inset doors, the hing will have to be squeezed between the cabinet and door. You'll be looking at one of these options:
Hinges for Partial Overlay
With this style the hing will have connect to the cabinet base, then slide over the distance of the overlay to meet the cabinet door. You'll be looking at one of these options:
Hinges for Full Overlay
By default any hinge in a full overlay cabinet is hidden. There are separate hinges for whether or not the cabinet frame has a face, but both cases will look about like this:
Now that you're a door and hinge expert, what hardware replacing projects are you going to tackle?