As one can guess, hinges come in many different types, materials and finishes. A hinge is a bearing that connects two objects and allows them to move. Hinges can be found on everything that has moving parts - from small jewelry boxes to grand entry doors. The type, as well as the material of a hinge, depends on its application. You don't need a rustproof heavy-duty expensive bronze hinge for your kitchen cabinet doors, but it may be exactly what you need for the entry doors of your beach house. So, let's take a closer look at some popular and commonly used entry door hinges.
Butt hinges. These come in various sizes from 13 mm to 150 mm and are quite versatile in terms of their applications. This is the most popular type of hinges, which can be used for cabinet doors, as well as interior and exterior doors.
Barrel hinges. Barrel hinges have two separate parts. The threaded section of the hinge is inserted into the barrel - a cylinder-shaped section. These hinges are quite easy to install/dismantle.
Concealed hinges. These hinges were developed in Europe, so they are also called European hinges. They have two parts - the hinge arm and the mounting plate. This type of hinges is mostly used for furniture doors. Tectus brand is one of the most popular ones for this type of hinges.
Continuous hinges. Also called Piano hinges, these come in various sizes and are commonly used where very long hinges are required, such as a piano top or desk top. They usually run the entire length of the panel/door for extra support.
Pivot hinges. Pivot hinges usually attach to the top and the bottom of a door. There are various types of pivot hinges, both light-duty and commercial grade heavy-duty. Most of the pivot hinges allow the doors to open in both directions. With such pivot hinges the doors will automatically return to its closed position.
Door hinges should be durable and strong enough to withstand the load that they will have to carry. Durability and strength of the hinges will greatly depend on the material they are made of. The commonly used materials for hinges are as follows:
Steel. This is a heavy-duty material, able to bear some very heavy load, but it is prone to rust, thus cannot be used in humid environments. It is suitable for interior applications and non-corrosive environments.
Steel hinges come in various finishes - polished, plated or painted. Chromium-plated hinges have a chromium plating applied over a nickel plating. Painted steel hinges are first phosphated, then prime coated and painted.
Steel hinges can also be coated with a rust-resistant base or galvanized for protection from rust. Such treatments do offer extra protection, but they still don't make them this material rust-proof. If rust is a concern, then other materials should be considered.
Stainless steel. Being as strong as steel, stainless steel is rust-proof. Stainless steel hinges can be used for all kinds of doors in all kinds of environments. The drawback is that stainless steel doesn't respond well to coating materials, thus it will not be the best option in cases when visual appeal is as important as durability. However, stainless steel hinges are inexpensive and can be a good option for hidden hinges where durability is all you need.
Brass. Brass hinges are made of either copper-based alloy or brass coating over copper base. Brass is a very durable material and bonds very well will different kinds of finishes, thus offers a wider range of applications, then stainless steel. Though it can withstand less than ideal weather conditions, brass should be additionally treated to resist salt water. In all other environments it is an excellent material to consider due to its durability, versatility and aesthetic value.
Bronze. Along with all the good features of other materials, bronze is also rustproof and weatherproof. Copper-based bronze alloy can be polished or finished and is the most versatile material for hinges. The only drawback of bronze hinges is the high price tag.
As you see, there are many aspects involved in choosing the right hinges. Considering that each type of hinges comes in many different finishes and varieties, it is going to be quite a task to choose the right one without the help of a professional, Nevertheless, you can start browsing online stores or visit your local hardware store to explore the available options.