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Placement of bottom door hinge

QuestionI have noticed on interior doors that the placement of the bottom hinge is farther from the bottom of the door than the top hinge is from the top of the door. I have asked many trim carpenters what rules apply to this, but they all say it is a standard procedure and they do not know how this was arrived at. Thanks for your time.

AnswerYou pose an interesting question and one might believe that the hinge is placed higher to allow for extra trimming of the bottom of the door, but the truth is somewhat hard to believe. When we look at a bottom hinge, we look at it standing back and in a downward angle and not straight on. This downward viewing angle gives the effect that the hinge is closer to the floor than it really is. This optical illusion appears to balance the bottom hinge with the top hinge. If the hinge were located closer to the floor, it would look out of balance and would stick out like a sore thumb.

Beyond the issue of appearance, however, there are some practical reasons behind this hinge placement. A higher hinge strengthens the door and helps it to work more smoothly because it takes some stress off the top hinge. It helps to eliminate any potential bowing on a 2-hinge door. Finally, the hinge balances itself with both a kickplate (if you should use one) and the door handle.

However, according to U.S. standard procedures regarding the true placement of hinges, the top hinge is placed 5" from face of frame to top of hinge barrel (hinge pin) and 10" from bottom of barrel to finish floor. This applies normally to hollow-core doors. When a solid door is installed, a third hinge is added between the top and bottom hinges. Certain western states use 7" from the top and 11" from the bottom. Another rule of thumb calls for doors up to 5' to have only two hinges and a third hinge is added for each additional 2.5' door height.

Copyright © 2002 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.
Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.



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