Concealed hinges are the BEST way to add doors to your projects. In this illustrated guide with video tutorial, we make it simple and straight forward to install concealed hinges on cabinets.
Why Concealed Hinges?
Concealed hinges (sometimes call Euro Hinges) are my favorite type of hinge.
- Hidden behind the door for a clean cabinetry look
- Many options to get exactly what you need for your cabinet
- Readily available at most home improvement stores
- Reasonably priced
- Opens without needing side clearance
- Easy to open and close and does not need a magnetic clasp to keep closed
- Very adjustable with just a screwdriver
- Actually very easy to install with a little know how!
Yes, I said that! These hinges are actually easy to install with just a little know how. In this video, I go through the entire process of choosing and installing these cabinet hinges.
And here's more specifics as promised in the video:
Selecting the Right Hinge
Concealed hinges come in different options to help you get the right install method and overlay for your specific cabinet. Here's the main options:
Face Frame or Frameless?
Face frame concealed hinges differ from frameless concealed hinges simply by how they are attached to the cabinet carcass. If you cabinet is a face frame cabinet, it will have trim around the front edges of the carcass.
The main difference between the hinges themselves is how they mount to the cabinet. A frameless concealed hinge will have a plate, and a face frame will have a bracket that fits over the face frame.
Frameless Overlay Options
If you have a frameless cabinet, there's two standard overlay choices.
- Frameless Full Overlay is for standalone cabinets, where there's only hinges on one side of a carcass side. This is most common, and is usually a 5/8" or 1/2" overlay (check with your hinge brand). This includes cabinets with double doors, as long as hinges aren't attached on the same carcass side. Here is an example of the Frameless Full Overlay Hinge.
- Frameless Half Overlay is for situations where two doors share the same carcass side. This isn't common, but if you are building your own cabinets all in a run, it's handy to have these hinges. Here is an example of the Frameless Half Overlay Hinge.
Face Frame Overlay Options
A standard face frame is 1-1/2" thick. So there's alot of options for overlays with a face frame. Here are the most common:
- 1-1/4" Overlay - Used for a cabinet door that almost completely covers the face frame (most common). This will leave a 1/4" reveal around the door.
- 1" Overlay - Door covers 1" of the face frame. Sometimes used for end cabinets, or when more of a face frame reveal is desired.
- 1/2" Overlay - Can be used for when two cabinet doors are mounted on the same 1x2 face frame stile. Can also be used for a larger reveal of the face frame.
- 1/4" or 5/16" Overlay - Use for semi-overlays where a large amount of the face frame is revealed.
Sizing doors is simple.
- Measure the opening
- Add the hinge overlay amount
- Add the desired overlay amount on the non hinge side
- Add the overlay amount on the top and bottom
Installing the Hinges on the Doors
Regardless of the hinge mounting type (frameless or faceframe) and the overlay, installing on the cabinet door is usually consistent. DO check with your specific hinges for a template or more specifics. Here is the standard setting I use to bore holes in the cabinet door
- 35 MM Holes (standard on most jigs) or 1-3/8" Forstner Bit
- 1/2" deep hole
- 5 MM inset
- 2-1/2" to 3-1/2" from top or bottom of door, if third hinge for taller doors, third hinge is centered on door.
Once you have the holes bored for the concealed hinges, simply place the hinge in the hole and square it up with a square or a straight edge on two hinges. Then predrill holes using a self-centering bit and finish with screws.
Installing Concealed Hinges on Face Frames Cabinets
Face frame installation of concealed hinges is very easy, since the hinge bracket will cup the face frame. The only fitting will be up or down. To install
- Measure the center point of the hinge to the top of the door. (Should be between 2-1/2" to 3-1/2" depending on where you bored your holes)
- Subtract the desired top overlay from this measurement.
- Mark the cabinet face frame down from the top edge this distance and make a horizontal line on the inside edge of the face frame.
- Attach the hinge bracket with the screw centered on your line.
- On concealed hinges, there is usually up and down adjustment as well to get your doors perfectly lined up.
Installing Concealed Hinges on Frameless Cabinets
First, check to see if your hinges come with a template. If not, we have a simple way of doing this (as shown in my video tutorial)
- Measure your hinges how far back the screw holes are set
- Draw a line on the inside of the cabinet this distance inset, parallel to the front edge of the cabinet
- Start your screws on the line