How To Replace Door Hinges
Providing doors with support and allowing them to open and close sufficiently, door hinges are crucial for almost every door in order to function properly.
Over time it’s likely that door hinges will need to be replaced, or that new door hinges will need to be installed on new doors. Luckily, these are two easy DIY projects that will make the world of difference to your home environment.
Our team at More4Doors have put together this handy how-to guide to explain just how to replace door hinges, as well as how to install door hinges on a new door.
Choosing the right hinges
Door hinges come in a range of different styles that are dependent on the door itself. From hinges for exterior doors to hinges for interior doors, it’s important to choose the right hinge for your door.
It’s also important to choose the correct finish for your hinges. Available in a wide range of finishes, it’s common to have hinges that match the door handles and work well with the rest of their surroundings.
Replacing door hinges
Whether you just fancy a change in the look of your door or are wanting to fix a door hinge squeak, replacing door hinges is an easy project to do at home.
What you need:
- Blocks of wood/Sturdy door-stops
- New hinges
- Tape measure
- Sanding tool (not always necessary)
- Paint (not always necessary)
- Wood putty (not always necessary)
What to do:
1. Steady the door
Open the door so that the entire hinge is open and exposed, then place blocks of wood or sturdy door-stops under the door to keep it steady. As the door won’t need to be removed, these blocks will help you support the door so that it doesn’t fall over.
2. Ensure you have the correct hinges and measure your door
Double-check that your new hinges match the old hinges in both size and edge shape.
As well as this, use a tape measure to make sure that the old hinges are in the right place on the door. They should be placed so that one is 7 inches from the top of the door frame, and one is 11 inches from the bottom of the door frame.
(If these are incorrect you’ll have to carry out the ensuing steps on cutting the mortise and installing a new hinge.
3. Remove the old hinges
If your old hinges were in the correct place, start at the upper hinge and remove the screws holding the hinge leafs into place. Pull them away from the door and the jamb (the vertical portion of the door frame where the door is secured), and check the wood underneath to make sure it’s in good condition.
If some of the holes have stripped out, you might want to plug them with a small wedge of wood.
4. Prepare the jamb and door for the new hinge
Most of the time, if the old door hinge had been there for a long time, you’ll most likely need to do a little bit of repair work on the jamb and the door.
Sand down the wood if necessary, and paint a coat of paint to match the wood.
At this time, it’s necessary to fill in the mortise hole in both the door and the door frame with wood putty if the replacement hinges are different sizes from the old ones. Allow the putty plenty of time to dry, then paint or stain to match the rest of the door.
5. Install the new hinge
Carefully place the new hinge over the location of the old hinge. Find the package screws and use a screwdriver or drill to secure the two sides of the hinge to both the jamb and the door. Secure the hinge by placing the hinge pin into the hinge.
6. Repeat for the second hinge
Move to the lower hinge and use a drill or screwdriver to remove it. Replace with the new hinge and new screws like before, and insert the new hinge pin to secure.
If you have a third hinge to replace, carry out the same steps.
7. Test the new hinges
Remove the blocks from beneath the door, and open and close the door multiple times to make sure it’s smooth and easy. If it is, your job is complete!
Installing door hinges on new doors
Installing new doors and hinges is one of the most important DIY projects when it comes to sprucing up appearances or finishing off a room. Installing hinges on new doors might sound tricky, but it really is an easy skill to master.
What you need:
- Door/new door
- Door hinges
- Tape measure
- Utility knife
- Sharp chisel
- Wood filler/thin piece of wood (not always necessary)
- Screw Guide
- Blocks of wood (not always necessary)
What to do:
1. Find the correct location for your hinges
Assuming you’re installing a new door, find the precise location for your hinges on the door frame. One hinge should be located 7 inches from the top of the door frame, whereas the second should be located 11 inches from the bottom of the door frame.
If your door requires a third hinge (usually only heavier doors will need a third hinge), it should be placed exactly in the middle of the two other hinges.
2. Trace the hinge
Placing the hinge on the door and jamb, use a pencil to trace around the hinge carefully. The depth of the hinge on the jamb should be as thick as the hinge itself is. Ensure that the outlines match locations on both the door and the jamb, and then use a utility knife to gently score the outline to make the next step easier.
3. Cut the Mortise
Cutting the mortise is when you cut out the wood in the jamb in the shape of the hinge, meaning that the hinge will be able to be inset in the jamb to provide more strength. Not only this, but it ensures that the hinge looks good in the door.
To cut the mortise, use a very sharp chisel and hammer to gently tap the chisel into the jamb from the side to remove thin strips of wood. Make sure you don’t cut the mortise too deep, and only cut out the outlined area and marked depth.
If you accidentally cut the mortise too deep, simply use a wood filler or thin piece of wood to fill it before moving to the next step.
4. Mark screw locations
Place the hinge into the jamb where you cut the mortise, and use a pencil to mark the locations of the screws in the jamb. Do the same with the hinge on the door.
Remove the hinges when you’re done marking.
5. Drill pilot holes
Using a screwdriver or drill, drill narrow pilot holes (small holes drilled ahead of full-sized holes as a guide) in the location of the marked screws.
Tap the screws lightly in first, then use a screw guide to keep the screws straight as they go into the wood.
6. Install the hinges
Place the hinges back into their places, and use a drill or screwdriver to attach them separately into the jamb and the door.
7. Connect the door to the jamb
Hold the door into place, using blocks of wood at the bottom to support if needed. Line up both hinge plates so that the ones on the door match with the ones on the jamb. Slide the hinge pins into place to secure the hinges, and remove any blocks supporting the door.
Test the door to make sure it works!
For more helpful how-to guides and recommendations, check out our selection of More4Door’s guides.