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European Hinges FAQ
Also see our European Hinge Installation page

1. What are European cup hinges?

2. How do I adjust Euro hinges?

3. How do I know if my hinge is “overlay”, “1/2 overlay”, or “inset”?

4. What is 32mm anyway? Does it relate to hinge size?

5. I want to bore the cup hole myself. How do I do it?

6. My cabinets are not frameless but have face frames, can I use the cup hinge?

7. What are frameless cabinets anyway?

8. How do I know how far my door opens?

9. How do I know if the hinge is self closing or free swing?

10. **Important Stuff about free swing/self closing

11. How thick can the doors be for the hinges?

13. I want to use glass doors. Can I still use cup hinges?

14. Why use the cup hinge? Why not use the same ones we have been?

15. Exactly how many hinges do I need per door?

16. My existing doors seem to have large screw holes. Why?

17. How far from the edge do I need to bore the hinge?

18. Is there a hinge that opens farther than 125 degrees?

19. Do I need to get new mounting plates?

 

 

What are European cup hinges?

European cup hinges, also known as concealed hinges, are hidden hinges which mount on the backside or inside of the door and require a hole bored (35mm or approximately 1 3/8”) to house the cup. With advent of the frameless cabinet these hinges are a perfect match to present a clean look for door alignment. The cup hinge is versatile with its’ ability to adjust both vertically and horizontally to compensate for slight imperfections of the cabinet. One of the nice things is that doors can be easily removed and replaced in the same alignment.

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How do I adjust European hinges?

Looking at the hinge there are typically two screws (picture below shows all). The front screw moves the door left or right and the back screw moves the door in or out and locks the door in place. A Phillips screw driver will be needed for this.

Usually the back screw is the one that comes loose and throws off door alignment. This is easily seen if the door is loose and feels like it’s ready to fall off.

1. Back Screw

This screw is the one that locks the door and place, but also allows you to take the door off. There should be a groove in the hinge arm that allows the hinge to slide in or out. Adjust the door in or out and tighten the screw. If the door still does not seem right loosen the screw and adjust again to find the balance.

2. Front Screw

Turning this screw counter clockwise the hinge will move the door either to the left or right. Turning the screw clockwise will move the door the other way. Super obviously remember that turning the screw one way moves the door left and turning the screw the other way moves it right.

3. Third Option

A third adjustment and one that does not show up very often is when the screws are holding the mounting plate to the cabinet. Typically there are a minimum of two per hinge plate. By loosening these on all the hinge plates the door can slide up or down.

Credits to DIY Home Improvement Blog

 

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How do I know if my hinge is overlay, ½ overlay, or inset?

Here is a diagram of overlays. 90% of all hinges will fall under theses three categories. If your hinge looks similar to one in these pictures it will go under that category.

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What is 32mm anyway? Does it relate to the hinges’ size?

Not really, but in a way yes. The 32mm is a measuring system for boring distances that was developed in Europe. It is a cost effective and efficient way to manufacture cabinets. It became popular in the USA about 15 years ago (from 2006), most notably with frameless cabinets. It is used to automate the hole boring system for hinges, shelves, and cabinet parts.

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I want to bore the cup hole myself, how do I do that?

This shouldn’t be a big problem. All you’ll need is drill press and a 35mm boring bit. It is possible to use a 1 3/8” bit but the 35mm is recommended. Depending on the hinge style and manufacturer you must determine where and how deep to bore the hinge. There are schematics for this for each separate hinge. As in all things though, it is advisable to sample the hole on scrap before boring the hole on the door.

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My cabinets are not frameless but have face frames. Can I use the cup hinge?

That’s not a problem. Manufacturers produce styles solely for cabinets with face frames. The good things about these hinges is that they are all the same, but have mounting plates which give the door overlay of ¼” up to 1 5/8”.

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What are frameless cabinets?

Frameless cabinets are just that, cabinets without face frames. This allows for a cleaner look and if installed properly all you’ll see are the doors which cover most of the cabinets. Another reason for frameless is cost and materials in manufacturing. This is a guesstimate on my part, but I would say that 50% of all cabinets made today are frameless.

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How do I know how far my door opens?

Most hinges have three opening angles…100 degrees, 125 degrees, and 165. Here is an easy way to judge. If the door opens perpendicular then it is a 100 degrees, if it goes a little past perpendicular then it is 125 degrees, and if it opens all the way or almost it is 165 degrees.

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How do I know if the hinge is self closing or free swing?

Most hinges are self closing. Here are some tells for a free swing hinge though: A free swing hinge is the same as self closing without the spring or closing mechanism that holds the door closed. Typically they’ll have a latch or magnetic catch to hold the door closed. They often do not have handles or knobs, and many times inset doors will use free swing hinges.

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**Important stuff about free swing and self closing?

There is some confusion on the difference between free swing and self closing. Both free swing and self closing are similar, the only difference is that self closing only hold the door closed and do not close a fully opened door.

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How thick can the doors be for the hinges?

90% of doors are either 5/8” or 3/4”thick and the standard hinges will apply. Some times doors are 7/8” to 1 ¼” and these will require a different hinge and also a different hole bore (40mm). If possible, it is recommended to keep the doors 5/8” or ¾” thick.

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I want to use glass doors, will I still be able to use cup hinges?

Yes. This is a very frequently asked question. It is the same thing, but with extra caution. You’ll need to bore holes 26mm in the glass itself. Normally only a glass company will be able to do this. Here are a couple of things to take note of: You will need a cover plate to hide the cup on the outside. One of the most useful applications for cup hinges is on large glass doors with no frame where three or more hinges are required. Conventional hinges cannot accomplish the job because the stress is too much for two hinges.

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Why use the cup hinge? Why not use the same ones we have been?

Why use a computer instead of a typewriter? Because new technology has been developed to facilitate the mounting and adjustment of cabinet doors. The cup hinge is hidden. There are 3 adjustments, in/out, up/down, and right/left. This allows for a perfect fit and alignment. Ease of door removal is another convenience.

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Exactly how many hinges do I need per door?

This varies, but a rule of thumb is that for doors up to 39” high and up to 24” wide you need two. Anything over these measurements and you will need 3 or more. Weight can also play a role in determining the number of hinges you will need.

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My existing doors seem to have large screw holes, why is this?

Big manufacturers automate everything, and the doors are pre bored for hinges. The industries invented a “euro screw” which is a nylon threaded screw that presses into a pre bored hole. This eliminates the need to hand screw on the hinges. The good thing here is that there is a conventional screw included for later removal.

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How far from the edge do I need to bore the hinge?

This depends upon the application. If you are replacing an existing hinge it is already predetermined.

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Is there a hinge that opens farther than 125 degrees?

Yes, there are hinges that can open 165 degrees. They are more expensive, but worth it for the right application.

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Do I need to get new mounting plates?

Possibly. If you’re replacing an existing hinge probably not unless they are broken. If you’re replacing an existing hinge with a different style or brand though we recommend replacing the mounting plates also.

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