different-types-of-hinges-pic1Are you looking for different types of hinges for doors? There are different kinds and sizes.

For related information see the articles, 'Door Hinge Repair' and 'Troubleshooting Door Problems'.

A hinge is a hinge, right? Well not exactly, hinges are similar, but they differ in type and size. Do you know what type of door hinge that you need? This article will help you determine what type you need and how you can go about finding them.

Most door hinges are classified as 'butt hinges', that makes is simple, right? Well, sort of. Butt hinges describe the two entities that are 'abutted' together. The door and the frame are examples. The term 'Butt Hinge' is somewhat broad and can describe multiple types. For residential hinges, you do not have that many types. Whew! Did you think we were getting into a tough subject?

It is a little tough, when you factor in the size and style issues. There are several sizes that you can encounter. In addition, each size can have different styles. Don't despair, most styles and sizes are fairly common and you should be able to figure it out.

Types of Hinges for Doors - Information

This article on different types of hinges is a resource. It is intended to provide basic information. We do not classify this information as a repair. Therefore, the Common Sense evaluation is not included. Instead we provide you with facts about types and sizes of hinges that you will need to use.

Different types of hinges for doors are often sold in pairs. However, you will find some online stores that quote a 'per hinge' price. Be careful when ordering on line. The price doubles or triples when you get enough to do a single door.

Door Hinge Styles

There are several door hinge styles to choose from. They 'style' of hinges on your existing doors will likely play a major role in your decision.

Concerned with the size of the hinge? See 'Door Hinge Sizes' for more information. Related articles are 'Door Hinge Repair' and 'Door Hinge Installation'.

Butt Hinges – The standard term used for door hinges. It has nothing to do with the hinge itself. Instead, it refers to the fact the two surfaces are 'abutting'. In the case of a door it would be the door and the frame.

Loose Pin – This is a standard feature for most residential hinges. The pin can be removed for easy removal of the door. The pin is driven out from the bottom.

Fixed Pin – Less common for residential doors. You may find this type on older doors. The entire hinge needs to be removed to take the door down. Ball bearing hinges are often fixed pin hinges.

Ball Bearing – Ball bearing hinges provide smoother operation for the hinge. Instead of metal rubbing on metal, the ball bearings provide the surface to move on. These hinges cost more and are not generally found in residential installations.

Spring Loaded – This style of hinge has a spring built into to force the door closed. Garage man doors and screen doors are examples of doors that you want to shut automatically. The spring loaded hinges are rated for a certain amount of weight. You may need as many as three on a heavy door. Lighter doors only require one.

Ball or Finial Tip – This is a variation of a loose or fixed pin butt hinge. There is a decorative ball or finial on the top and bottom of the pin.

Door Hinge Finishes

There are many types of door hinge finishes. Add to the that different naming conventions. What is the difference between 'Bright Brass' and 'Polished Brass'? Then there are the restoration hardware finishes and the list goes on and on.

One thing to take note of is the quality of the hinges. Some finishes are only a surface coating over a steel base. These thin coatings will disintegrate over time, sometime flaking off. The result is a hinge that looks bad, even though it may still be functional. The 'you pay for what you get' applies to the finish.

  • Brass – This is probably the most common type you will find. Brass does not rust making it a good choice for hinges. Brass does discolor and tends to start looking bad over time. Cheaper hinges may only have a brass coating.

  • Available Brass Finishes: Bright or Polished, Antique, Brushed or Satin
  • Bronze – Similar to brass these hinges do not rust. These types of door hinge finishes can stain and discolor over time making a functional hinge look bad. Cheaper hinges may only have a coating on them over steel.

  • Available Bronze Finishes: Oil Rubbed or Antique, Smooth or Lacquered, Brushed or Satin
    • Nickel – A popular finish for hinges. It is durable and usually comes in a satin or brushed finish. It looks similar to stainless steel and good quality hinges of this type will not rust.

    • Available Nickel Finishes: Brushed or Satin, Smooth
    • Stainless Steel – Good quality stainless steel hinges will not rust or discolor. These hinges tend to be more expensive and are found less often. They are more common in commercial installations.

    • Available Stainless Steel Finishes: Brushed or Satin, Smooth
    • Chrome– Looking for a mirror like finish? Chrome may be the answer. Chrome door hinge finishes are applied over another type of metal. Quality is an issue. Poor quality chrome hinges have a coating that can flake off, making the hinge unattractive.

    • Available Chrome Finishes: Bright or Polished
  • Painted– Hinges can be painted. This is found on older doors or restoration style hardware. Factory painting may stay intact and fit in with a particular decor. There is no limitation to colors that can be used. Paint build up over time can affect the operation of the door and paint can flake off at friction points.

  • Available Paint Finishes: White or Black, Unlimited Custom Choices


The above list of door hinge finishes is not comprehensive. It gives you the general idea of what is available. When you are replacing different types of hinges the best advice is to take a hinge with you when you shop. Color and quality are best compared with the item in hand.


Do you feel better able to deal various types of hinges for doors? Replacing hinges on a door is not that hard if you get the right hinges. Corners and size are an issue. Getting a hinge that is a different size will require that you do some carpentry work on the door and frame. Avoid this if you can.

Replacing hinges for appearance issues is also possible. Some hinges work fine, but they look bad. Remember, quality is an issue with hinges. Cheap hinges will not last over time. Hopefully, you are done learning about different types of door hinges and are ready to move onto your next project.


Go to top