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All about Euro Hinges

They make cabinet doors easy!

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3 Reasons to Love Euro HingesFamily Handyman

3 Reasons to Love Euro Hinges

Euro hinges—also called “cup hinges” or “concealed hinges”—look complicated. But they’re actually much easier to install than traditional hinges. Learn how to fix kitchen cabinets with Euro hinges here.
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1. Easy to InstallFamily Handyman

1. Easy to Install

Traditional hinges are fussy to install. And if you get it wrong, you’re stuck. With Euro hinges, you just bore one large hole and drive some screws. Get that hole in the right spot and the rest is goof-proof. Learn how to fix a broken door hinge here.
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2. Easy to AdjustFamily Handyman

2. Easy to Adjust

With traditional hinges, you can spend hours getting the fit right: planing or sanding the door, shimming or moving hinges… With Euro hinges, you can move a door in and out, up and down, or side to side just by turning screws. Don’t know how to attach hinges? Learn how to recess hinges on a door.
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3. Instant On and OffFamily Handyman

3. Instant On and Off

With traditional hinges, you have to remove screws or hinge pins to remove doors. Euro hinges like this one just snap onto mounting plates so you can instantly check the door’s fit. Then pull a release lever to remove the door for finishing.
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Choosing the Right HingeFamily Handyman

Choosing the Right Hinge

When choosing the right hinge, you need to answer 4 basic questions:
  • Face frame or not?
  • Inset or overlay doors?
  • How much overlay
  • How far do you want your doors to open?
Read on for more information about these questions.
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1. Face frame or not?Family Handyman

1. Face frame or not?

A frameless or “Eurostyle” cabinet is basically a box. A face frame cabinet has a frame surrounding the opening of the box. Hinges like the face-frame hinge shown above mount onto the face frame, typically with a single screw. Hinges like frameless cabinet hinges shown above, attach to a mounting plate that’s screwed to the cabinet. They’re made for frameless cabinets but can be used with face frame cabinets if you buy special mounting brackets. Learn how to install cabinets here.
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2. Inset or overlay doors?Family Handyman

2. Inset or overlay doors?

Inset doors are flush with the front of the cabinet; overlay doors cover all or part of the front. Some doors, called “partial inset” (not shown) are a combination of both. We show frameless cabinets here, but the same terms apply to face frame cabinets. Want to refresh your cabinet doors? Learn how here.
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3. How much overlay?Family Handyman

3. How much overlay?

If you choose overlay doors, you’ll have to decide how much. With some frameless hinges, the amount of overlay is determined by the thickness of the mounting plate; a thicker mounting plate results in a lesser overlay.
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4. How far do you want your doors to open?Family Handyman

4. How far do you want your doors to open?

The simplest, smallest and least expensive hinges usually open to 105 or 110 degrees. If you want your doors to open farther for easier access inside the cabinet, the hinges will be bulkier and more expensive.
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Installing Euro HingesFamily Handyman

Installing Euro Hinges

No matter what type of hinge you choose, the hinges are mounted on the door first and then the cabinet. For installing cabinet hinges, you’ll be drilling two sets of holes in the door. First, there’s the “cup hole,” the large hole that the hinge drops into. This hole is 35 mm (1-3/8 in.) diameter for all Euro hinges. You’ll need a Forstner bit to drill it ($20 at home centers or online). Second, you’ll drill two pilot holes for the screws that fasten the hinge to the door. The instructions will tell you what bit to use. Some Euro hinges come with a full-size template for marking both sets of holes, but many hinges don’t. In that case, the instructions will include a scale drawing in millimeters (not inches) and you’ll have to make a template yourself. Read on for step-by-step instructions for how to install Euro hinges.
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1. Make a templateFamily Handyman

1. Make a template

Make the template from an old business card. Fold the card around the edge of a scrap of wood. Measuring from the fold, draw a line indicating the mounting screw locations. Cut the card along this line. Draw a centerline on the card, then measure the distance from the folded edge to the center of the cup hole. Poke a hole here using an awl.
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2. Mark the doorFamily Handyman

2. Mark the door

Determine the location of the hinges on the door. The distance from the top or bottom of the door to the hinge’s centerline is usually about 2 in. to 3 in. Draw centerlines for the hinges using a square or a wood scrap. Align the template with a centerline indicating where the hinge will go. Trace the edge of the card to mark the mounting screw line, and then use an awl to mark the center of the cup hole.
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3. Drill the cup holeFamily Handyman

3. Drill the cup hole

Using a 35-mm (1-3/8-in.) Forstner bit, drill until the top of the bit is about level with the wood. Use the bit itself to judge how deep you've drilled.
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4. Mark Screw HolesFamily Handyman

4. Mark Screw Holes

Place the hinge in the cup hole, then mark the hinge’s mounting screw holes (Photo above). Drill pilot holes (making sure you don’t drill through the door!), then fasten the hinge to the door.
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5. Face frame: Fasten the hingeFamily Handyman

5. Face frame: Fasten the hinge

To install hinges on face-frame cabinets, turn your cabinet on its side, and then place the door alongside it. Rest the protruding parts of the hinges on the face frame. Center the door. Make sure the tabs on the hinges are butted up to the face frame, and then use an awl to mark the centers of the mounting screw pilot holes. Drill the holes and install the screws. Stand up the cabinet and fine-tune the door’s position by turning the hinge’s adjusting screws. Learn face frame cabinet building tips here.
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6. Frameless Cabinet Hinges: Install a mounting plateFamily Handyman

6. Frameless Cabinet Hinges: Install a mounting plate

Hinges for frameless cabinet hinges have a separate mounting plate. The instructions will show you the correct distance from the front edge of the cabinet to the screw line. Draw screw lines inside the cabinet. Attach the mounting plates to the hinges. Place the cabinet on its side, then butt the door to the cabinet. Center the door side-to-side. Align the mounting plate’s holes with the setback lines. Mark the centers of the holes. Pull the door away from the cabinet and remove the mounting plates. Drill pilot holes, then fasten the mounting plates to the cabinet. Snap the hinges onto the plates, then stand up the cabinet and adjust the hinges as needed. Learn how to install frameless cabinets here.
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Tips for Euro HingesFamily Handyman

Tips for Euro Hinges

Here is a list of our pro's expert tips when it comes to making your Euro hinge installation easier.
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Mark your templateFamily Handyman

Mark your template

Store-bought templates like this one include lots of holes to accommodate various hinges. It’s all too easy to use the wrong holes. To prevent that, mark the holes you need with paint or a marker.
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Go metricSylvie Bouchard/Shutterstock

Go metric

In the world of Euro hinges, everything is metric. You’ll need a metric ruler to make your own marking template, for example. For about a buck, you can pick up a metric ruler at any store that carries school supplies.
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Drill shallow starter holesFamily Handyman

Drill shallow starter holes

The tiny screws that come with Euro hinges often strip out in softwoods or plywood. So instead of drilling a full-depth pilot hole for screws, just create a divot to position the screw using a drill bit, awl or even a nail. If you do accidentally strip your screw, learn how to remove it here.
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A corded drill is bestFamily Handyman

A corded drill is best

You can bore cup holes with a cordless drill, but that strains the drill and drains the battery fast. A corded drill does the job faster and better. If you do decide to go with a cordless drill, here is our buyers guide.
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Don't forget the bumpersFamily Handyman

Don't forget the bumpers

Most Euro hinges are self-closing, which means doors slam hard and loud. Pick up sheets of adhesive-backed cabinet bumpers at any home center for a couple bucks.
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Fast, goof-proof centerlinesFamily Handyman

Fast, goof-proof centerlines

To mark perfect centerlines for the hinges, lay the cabinet box on its side and center the door against it. Then trace along a marking block (2 to 3 in. wide). Use masking tape labels to match doors to their locations.
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Leave adjustments for lastFamily Handyman

Leave adjustments for last

Euro hinges allow for absolutely perfect alignment. But don’t bother with that until cabinets are installed. Fussing with adjustments before your cabinets are squared up and level is a waste of time.