When you’re planning to replace door hinges, getting the right size is critical. It doesn’t matter whether you’re replacing the hinges on a door that’s been there since the house was built or one that was part of recent renovations: it won’t open or close properly if you don’t get the hinge size right.
While measuring is relatively easy, it’s important to do it right, so that you don’t have to worry about whether the new one will fit properly into your door frame. You’ll need to know the existing hinge’s dimensions to ensure that you get a replacement of the right size, thickness, and weight. In this blog, the hardware experts at Access Residential Hardware show you how to measure door hinges.
An Overview of Hinge Dimensions
Hinges are sized according to gauge (thickness), radius (corner measurement), and width when fully open. The height and width of most hinges are the same. The standard size of residential door hinges is 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches, but you can find hinges in other sizes, from 2 inches to 6 inches.
Factors That Influence Hinge Size
When it comes to door hinges, one size does not fit all. Factors that influence sizing include:
- The dimensions of the door, including its height and width
- What the door is made of and how it is constructed
- How frequently the door will be opened and closed
- The suspended weight of the door
These are all factors you must consider before measuring for hinge sizes, as they will dictate what hardware you must buy.
- Hinge Leaf: You attach this rectangular part to the jamb of your door. Most hinges are made up of two flat pieces.
- Hinge Knuckle or Barrel: This is the circular hollow through which the hinge pin is inserted. Their purpose is to make sure that the hinges bend.
- Hinge Pin: This metal rod connects the two hinge leaves once it is inserted into the hinge barrel.
Measuring the Door Hinge
Before you start, you’ll need the following supplies:
- Philips screwdriver (a flathead screwdriver is also recommended)
- Utility knife
- Tape measure
- One quarter and one dime
Step 1: Remove the Hinge
Remove the screws from the hinge using a Phillips screwdriver. Start with the middle one and then unscrew the others. Use a flathead screwdriver tip to gently pry off the hinge if it sticks to the wood or paint. If you notice paint build-up on the hinges, pry it off with a utility knife.
Step 2: Measure the Hinge Width
On a flat surface, fully open the hinge. From one side of the hinge, stretch the tape measure across the center to the other side to get the width. This is an extremely important measurement, so it’s important to get it right.
Step 3: Measure the Hinge Height
Place the tape measure parallel to the hinge's side from top to bottom. Using the tape measure, note the hinge's full height. The height will match the width for standard hinges. Most of the hinges are 3 ½ inches, 4 inches, 4 ½ inches, 5 inches, or 6 inches.
Step 4: Measure the Corner Radius
Your hinge corner radius will either be 1/4 inch or 5/8 inch. To determine the correct one, lay your hinge flat and place a dime and quarter on two corners (one coin in one corner). Confirm which coin fits better. If it is the dime, you probably have a rounded corner of 1/4 inch. If the quarter fits better, the corner is rounded by 5/8 inches.
If you’re buying a hinge for a new installation instead of measuring for a replacement, use the following guidelines to get the correct sizing:
- If the new door has a thickness of 1-3/8 inches and a width of 32 inches, buy hinges that are 3-1/2 inches wide.
- A new door of 1-3/8 inches thick and 32 to 36 inches wide should have a hinge width of 4 inches.
- Buy a 4-1/2 inch hinge size when installing a 1-3/4 inches door that is 36 inches wide.
- A door with a thickness of 1-3/4 inches and a width of 36 to 48 inches requires a hinge size of 5 inches.
- Get a hinge size of 6 inches if your door is thicker than 1-3/4 inches and wider than 48 inches.
- Get a 5-inch heavy-duty hinge if your door is between 2 and 2-1/2 inches thick or 42 inches wide.
- Door widths above 42 inches and thicknesses of 2 to 2-1/2 inches require 6-inch commercial hinges.
Step 5: Note All Measurements
Take note of the radius, width, and height of the hinge you need. You can use these numbers to choose a hinge that will fit snugly into the existing door and mortise.
How Often Should Door Hinges Be Replaced?
As a general rule, hinge hardware is expected to last between 5 and 15 years if installed and maintained. With proper care, they can last even longer. Lubricate as recommended and check for signs of rusting and other damage.
You’ll definitely want to replace your hinges if you notice any of the following:
- The door starting to hang downward
- The door scraping against the frame when you open and close it
- The door lock is hitting against the hardware
- You’re having trouble locking the door
- You’re noticing a draft coming through the hinge side of the door
We Are Quality Door Hinge Providers
While it’s important to get the right dimensions when you’re replacing a door hinge, sourcing a quality replacement is also key. Access Residential Hardware sells exterior door hinges that are designed for maximum durability in addition to interior door hinges that are both aesthetic and functional. If you need assistance in selecting the right hardware for your door’s location and configuration, our hardware specialists are happy to help. To learn more, please call 866.752.9002 or use this contact form and we’ll respond as soon as possible!