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How Do Choose the Correct Self-Closing Hinges?

B. Turner
B. Turner

Self-closing hinges contain an internal spring mechanism that automatically closes a door after it's been opened. When selecting these hinges, buyers must first determine where they will be used, as those designed for cabinets cannot meet the demands of a full-size door. Another important consideration involves how the hinges will be installed, and whether they are designed for surface or concealed mounting. Self-closing hinges must match the size and weight of the door, and should also meet performance and speed requirements. Finally, buyers should consider the aesthetic properties of each unit based on its style and finish.

Cabinet hinges are designed to give the cabinets a clean, neat appearance, and have a small profile to fit within the relatively thin walls or doors of these units. Self-closing door hinges are much larger, and are made to fit inside door frames or full-sized doors. When buying hinges for either of these applications, buyers should consider the desired degree of opening, as some spring hinges open less than 90-degrees, while others can open 120-degrees or more. These decisions may be influenced by the positioning of other furniture, walls, or cabinets around the door.

Man with a drill
Man with a drill

The size and weight of the door represent another critical factor when selecting self-closing hinges. Each hinge manufacture rates its products to handle doors up to a maximum weight. When hinges are used with oversized doors, they may not be powerful enough to fully close the door or cabinet. At the same time, hinges that are too powerful could cause very light doors to close too rapidly, posing a danger to users. Self-closing hinges for full-sized doors should also be evaluated to determine that they meet fire codes or standards designed to provide access for the disabled, particularly in commercial settings.

When replacing self-closing hinges, or installing them on existing doors or cabinets, it's critical to determine how each hinge must be installed. It's much easier to buy hinges that fit into existing holes or cut-outs in the door and frame than to try and modify these openings. Novice installers should also think carefully about choosing self-closing hinges designed to be concealed within the door, as these units can require significant skill to install correctly. For most users, surface-mounted self-closing hinges represent the easiest option, and pose the smallest risk of mistakes.

Finally, buyers should evaluate the appearance and finish of each self-closing hinge option. Heavy duty hinges and those made from more durable materials will hold up better against frequent use and abuse. Hinges should match other hardware or fixtures within the room, including knobs and pulls, as well as sink faucets and knobs in a kitchen.

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