Homeowner’s Guide to Cabinet Hinges

Types of Cabinets and Doors

First, you need to determine the type of cabinets and doors you have.

Frameless Cabinets

Frameless wood cabinet with inset door.

Frameless cabinet with inset door.

These types of cabinets lack a face frame around the door opening. When you look at the cabinet front, you will see the ends of the cabinet sides.

Frameless cabinet can have doors that are:

  • Full-Overlay Door: The door completely conceals the cabinet frame.
  • Half-Overlay Door: The door partially overlaps the cabinet frame.
  • Inset or Flush Door: The door is set into the opening, flush with the side frame.

Face Frame Cabinets

Face frame cabinet with overlay door.

Overlay door on face frame cabinet.

Face frame cabinets have a solid wood frame attached to the cabinet around the door opening. The frame serves to cover the ends of the cabinet sides and add strength to the cabinet.

Face frame cabinets can have doors that:

  • Overlay Door: The door overlaps the face frame. Common overlays are full overlay, 1/2”, 5/8”, or 1 3/8” overlay.
  • Inset/Lipped Door: The door has a rabbet (groove open on one side) cut around the edges, so it’s partially inset into the door opening. The most common inset width is 3/8”.
  • Flush Door: The door is completely set into the face frame, so that it’s flush with the surface.

Types of Cabinet Hinges

Now that you’ve determined what type of cabinet and door you have, you can choose the correct type of hinge for the look and function you want. Read on to find out the most common types of hinges.


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9 Comments on “Homeowner’s Guide to Cabinet Hinges”

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  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    March 15th, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Hi, James,
    Here’s “Today’s Homeowner” host Danny Lipford’s answer to your question:
    “You may have to remove the screws on this cabinet style. Fill those holes with putty and then reinstall the doors to allow proper clearance. Touch-up painting may be required.”
    Thanks for your question.

  • James McGinnis Says:
    February 20th, 2018 at 11:21 am

    We repainted our bathroom vanity and changed the color of hinges to chrome or satin hinges. The doors were also repainted. When we purchased the new hinges we made sure the holes all lined up. Now we cannot get the doors to close as before because the they appear too wide. We think there is a hinge problem. Any suggestions to help us?

  • paul white Says:
    December 1st, 2017 at 9:56 am

    i need a pair of hinges to suit a diaganol wall cabinet can you tell me the hinges that i need what degree ?? thanks paul

  • gary Says:
    January 15th, 2016 at 10:50 am

    I have 1/2 semi-wrap overlay cab. door hings. I refinished the doors and reinstalled the hings.now some of the doors they will not close all the way. I cannot figure how to correct them. HELP

  • Daniel McCoy Says:
    April 5th, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    I installed the partial semi wrap around hinge on my doors but it does not close all the way. Need help with installation. My doors used to have zek wrap around so these were similar since the ones I had are obsolete. Thanks

  • bonnie Says:
    December 29th, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    When using 3/8 inch surface mounted self closing hinges and mounting them to the cabinet frame, do I need to kick the spring out just a tad to make it sit flat ? If that makes sence?
    Thank you !

  • Nilda Rivas Says:
    November 18th, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Really like this website; it has been very helpful.

    Is there a tool that can bore the hole need for the installation of the European hinge? If so, can you recommend a good one?

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    April 21st, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Hi Marsha,
    Sorry about that! Our print friendly feature is a plug-in that we have little control over that doesn’t work right on multipage articles. We hope to have a fix for the problem in the future. In the meantime you can go to each page and copy and paste it into a Word document.

  • MarshaK Says:
    April 21st, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Your print friendly doesn’t work so well. It onlys shows the first paragraph or so. Not the whole article.

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Homeowner’s Guide to Cabinet Hinges