DIY enthusiasts know that using cabinet hinges is a precise woodworking task. Measuring cabinet hinges is an essential part of the process. You must know the sizes of the cabinet frame to understand what kind of cabinet hinges you need. There are many hinges to choose from, each used for specific designs.
Cabinet hinges are measured for the proper fit of cabinet doors. Traditional hinges’ measurements are along the length of the pin inside the knuckle and the width of the hinge leaves. Modern hinges have adjustable sizes. Cabinet hinges fit 3.5 inches from the cabinet door’s top and bottom.
Getting the right cabinet hinges in place can be easy if you’ve hung a door once before. You must measure the cabinet hinges to match the cabinet frame. You want to get the cabinet hinge measurements right. You know the scene. A door that sags or doesn’t close properly is an eyesore and impractical. Get the measurements right the first time.
Related: How are Door Hinges Measured
How are Cabinet Hinges Measured?
- Tape Measure
- Combination set square
Step 1: Measuring Cabinet Hinge Sizes
When you set out on a DIY project to hang or refurbish a cabinet door, the measurement of the cabinet hinges is one of the first things you have to consider and get right. You must measure the size of the cabinet hinge as well as the size of the cabinet box. Ensure you have a tape measure, ruler, and combination set square.
The success of an installation project depends on getting the right hinge in place. That’s why accurate measuring is essential. Inaccurate measurements will affect how the door hangs and opens, and closes.
The first measurement is the cabinet box itself. Use a tape measure to get the width of the cabinet. Stand in front of the cabinet box. Hook the tape measure to attach to the outside edge of the cabinet. Stretch the tape measure back in a straight line, across the opening, to the point on the furthest outer edge. This will give you the width of the cabinet.
The width will determine the door size, and you can decide, depending on the width, if you use one or two doors. The door size will indicate the type of hinge you need.
If you choose to upgrade some kitchen cabinets, make sure you measure the length and width of the following:
- Pin that holds the leaves together
- Knuckle (hollow cylinder)
- Leaf size
The leaf runs alongside the knuckle, which holds the pin in place. The leaves rotate around the pin. This mechanism allows the door to swing open. Ensure you make the right choice to have the doors hang straight. And it would help if you chose the right size hinge. That is why measuring is essential.
For soft close cabinet hinges, there are two main measurements to look at, which are:
- Cup depth
- Door overlay
The cup depth is how deep the hinge fits into the cabinet door. This is how the soft closing hinge is attached and enables the opening and closing of the cabinet door. The cup’s circumference measurement is pretty standard, and so is the depth, around ½ inch.
And, to know the hinge size you must use, you have to look at the overlay.
The overlay is measured from the cabinet door's edge to the cabinet box's outer edge (see step 2 below).
Cabinet Hinge Measurements
Most of all, it's about finding the right match for the hinge to hang the cabinet door and choosing a hinge that'll work efficiently and well. This means that you measure the cabinet size, know the door sizes, and definitely the size of the hinges.
Whether you are measuring to replace hinges or doing a new project with compact concealed hinges, the size and position of the hinge cup matter. Hinges are installed at 3.5 inches from the bottom and from the door's top. The depth of the hinge cup is measured at ½ inch. And the overlay is about 1 inch.
The cup depth and the overlay measurements must be considered (see below).
Step 2: Measuring Hinge Size
The hinge must be fitted to make it easy to open and close the door. There are a variety of hinges – many shapes and designs. Whether installing a new hinge in a door or replacing a hinge, the actual size of the hinge is essential. Besides the length and width of a hinge, you have to calculate the amount of overlay (see Steps 3 and 4 below).
To measure the hinge length, you must look at the sides or leaves of a hinge. This is the vertical length of the hinge pin in the middle. You must open the hinge wide and use the tape measure to measure the distance between the ends.
The cabinet hinge size measurements are essential as you need a manageable size to swing open a door. The swing angle can vary from 90 to 110 degrees and sometimes up to 170 degrees. In the case of using concealed hinges, the cup holes can be between 1 inch and 1.5 inches in diameter, depending on the size of the hinge you choose.
You need to measure the doors of the cabinets to know just what the best fit hinges will be. The traditional hinges can easily be measured along the hinge's pin length. But for the concealed type hinges with adjustable sizing, the hinge size is from end to end.
Concealed cabinet hinges are often the best choice as these are adjustable. When hanging a door, one can hide minor imperfections that might arise during the hanging process. The leeway that the adjustment allows makes hanging a cabinet door easier. However, the cabinet design will determine the type of hinges used.
The size of a concealed hinge is measured from the central pin to the outside edge of the leaf. This will differ, and you should measure these to ensure the cabinet hinge fits. You also have to measure the hinge length from top to bottom. On a concealed hinge, the part fixed to the cabinet is usually longer, as this stabilizes the door and makes it easy to open and close.
You can also use the horizontal length of the base of a cabinet and a door’s overlay to measure the size of a cabinet hinge (see below).
Step 3: Measuring Inside AlongHorizontal to Vertical Intersection
DIY enthusiasts often want to upgrade cabinet doors and install soft-close screw-on hinges. It sometimes needs to be clarified what size hinge to get. However, you can take essential measurements to ensure you don't get the wrong hinge. So exactly how you go about getting the sizing right means that you have to consider two primary measures:
- Cup depth (the part of the compact hinge that fits in the door – see Step 1 above)
Measuring the overlay is the most critical. The overlay is the distance a door reaches beyond the outer edge of a cabinet frame or box. This means the door doesn’t fit flush or in line with the edge of the cabinet box or frame. The overlay determines where you screw in a cabinet hinge.
To get this position, you must measure along the cabinet box's horizontal or baseline to the vertical or upright inside the frame where the door is hung.
The overlay measurement for cabinet hinges is most critical. The measurement is done with the vertical edge of the cabinet where the door is attached. The intersection joins the base of the cabinet box (horizontal line) and the upright frame of the cabinet box. If this isn't that easy to see, you can use painter's tape to mark the spot.
This is a simple two-step process in which you:
- Line up painter's tape to the inside vertical edge of the cabinet box
- Line up painter's tape to the outer edge (or overlay) (See Step 4)
For the inside measurement, line up the painter’s tape on the horizontal or base of the cabinet box right next to the vertical or up-right side of the cabinet box. The point you mark is where the vertical intersects with the horizontal plane. This point with tape marks the inside edge measurement.
Next, you must do the outside edge, which is also to the cabinet box or frame.
Step 4: Measuring the Outside Overlay
For the outer edge, also using painter’s tape, you must find out what the overlay is. Here the measurement is the outer edge of the door. You must stick down painter’s tape at the door’s edge.
Step 5: Calculating the Overlay Distance
With the two pieces of painter's tape stuck down (as seen in Steps 3 and 4), the distance between the two is, on average, 7/8's of an inch. As the cabinet hinges are adjustable, you can round this measurement off to one inch. The length will determine the overlay, which, if larger, will push the cabinet door back.
In both the steps above, the cup depth is essential (i.e., ½ inch), and the overlay of 7/8 of an inch, and these become the two main dimensions.
There are other measurements, too, on specification sheets. These measurements for soft close hinges specify a maximum door thickness. This specification ensures that the thickness doesn't interfere with the door's opening and damage the cabinet's frame. New hinges might also be fixed to a door differently, as the wood screw holes can be offset in different positions.
In the case of the screw being offset in a different position, you'll need to drill new holes for these.
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