Designing doors

News Editor

Fasteners, latches, and similar door hardware are often considered earlier in the design process by most designers. Hinges, on the other hand, are often last-minute additions to many projects. With designers facing strict project delivery timelines, considering hinges late in a design cycle may severely restrict some possibilities and impact the final design. This may even force the installation of nonstandard components. That's why, when it comes to specifying concealed hinges for a project, several elements should be considered as part of the design process.

How much load will the concealed hinges bear?

The majority of standard doors in homes and offices will only require a maximum capacity hinge with a weight rating of around 200lb. This figure should be used as a guide, but it can also depend on whether the hinges will be installed on a high-traffic door or one that will be used less frequently. Choose between standard or heavy-duty concealed door hinges by considering the frequency of use and the door's weight.

Consider this when determining potential load and hinge choice:

●          High-frequency hinges — For doors used more than 25 times daily

●          Medium-frequency hinges — For doors used 10 to 24 times daily

●          Low-frequency hinges — For doors used ten times or fewer daily

Door function

If the doors will be opened and closed frequently, you should use concealed hinges that can withstand repeated opening and closing cycles without wearing out. But if it's used infrequently or only needs occasional access, then lighter-duty hinges may suffice. As mentioned above, door function plays a critical role in door hinge selection. You'll want to specify concealed hinges that are rated to support your specific door functions and door weight.

Overall design

The overall design of the hinge may need to be considered based on product application and end-use. For example, if you're using a door as an access point for industrial equipment or food production machinery that requires cleaning between uses, then concealed hinges are preferred. They keep debris out of the hinge cavity, which could otherwise cause the equipment to malfunction. There are also different hinge designs for various applications, such as sprung hinges that feature a concealed mechanism that automatically enables a door or a panel to open or close.

Amount of internal protrusion

There are three basic types of concealed hinges. One is the type where there's no internal protrusion at all, another has an extremely small amount, and a third has some moderately-sized protrusions from the door surface.

The first option should only be considered when other hardware will completely cover up any extraneous hinge points on the door, such as in a corner or on the back of a cabinet.

The second option may be considered when the hinge is not exposed, and it's to be used with an overlay type installation method where other hardware will cover up any protrusion points from the frame.

The third option may be considered when the hinge is fully exposed, and it's to be used for an overlay type installation where other hardware will cover any protrusion points.

The amount of internal protrusion should also take into account how much stress will be applied to the hinge when in use, especially when using two-stage hinges for flush doors or other types of hinges that are concealed within the door frame or cabinet.

A heavy door with little internal protrusion may not properly stay put and could shift or slide with too much impact force, such as a hefty slam by a frustrated occupant. On the other hand, if there's no real need for hinges that can handle high stress or force, then there's no point in specifying concealed door hinges with significant protrusions.

Door and frame configuration

The door and frame configuration also needs to be compatible with the concealed hinge design. Before selecting and installing hinges, there are several options to consider.

If there's a gap between the interior wall and the opening, then face-mounted hinges should be used to allow full extension without interference from each side of the door/wall junction. This allows the door to move more fully and also makes it easier for the hinges to rotate.

If there is a face frame, then you can use either side of the hinge as long as there aren't any obstructions in the way. In some cases, though, depending on how large/deep your cabinet is, and if your countertop has an overhang, you may need to use the backside of hinges. This means that there will be a visible hinge on the exterior side of your cabinet/wall junction.

If no face frame exists, but there is still an obstructing wall, then concealed face-mounted hinges are recommended because they give better concealment than top or bottom mounted ones.

Hinge side clearance

You must consider the size of your door and which side you want it to open. The concealed hinge typically mounts on either the right or left-hand side. However, some will mount in the centre. When specifying a concealed hinge, you need to make sure the side clearances are correct. If they aren't, this can cause issues with both the opening and closing of your door.

Industry specifications

Industry specifications may play an important role in determining which concealed hinge type is best suited for a product. Products that will be exposed to extreme temperatures or high humidity should use a dry environment hinge such as new earth-bonding hinges for electrical enclosures. Standard concealed hinges with gaskets can also meet the needs of most applications. However, choose an IP68 version for added protection against water and dirt ingress.

Hinge materials

When evaluating door hardware materials, consider the end use of an application and the potential environmental conditions. For example, stainless steel has long been the standard for corrosion resistance. Consider environmental conditions such as heat and humidity, too. Hinges made of plastic may warp or melt if exposed to high temperatures. The door's weight should also inform material selection. A steel door, for example, is generally heavier than a wood one, and the hinges must be strong enough to accommodate its weight.

Aesthetics and finish

The aesthetics of the concealed hinges should match those of other door hardware, such as knobs or handles, to maintain a consistent style throughout the project. Manufacturers often add different types of finishes like brass or nickel plating for added style and function. Aesthetic compatibility should also be considered when selecting knobs and other hardware that use similar screws as concealed hinges for installation purposes. Remember that when choosing door hardware, the goal is to achieve a smooth transition from one product to the next.


Hinges are important to the design of doors, but they should not be too flashy. The right hinges can function as an accent detail like a well-placed button on a shirt, without detracting from the basic purpose. They need to keep the door in place and hold it securely while still providing a sleek and stylish appearance. It is up to the designer to decide upon the right type of hinge. Concealed hinges can add a nice design element while remaining functional, so they need to match the style of door that is being used.

It's important to factor in the intended use of door hinges before specifying them. Whether it's a residential or commercial project, the door hinges should be durable and able to withstand wear from opening and closing. Designers need to balance the performance needs of the hinges with aesthetic judgment when it comes to specifying the right type of concealed door hinges needed for any project.