Half-Mortise vs Full-Mortise Hinges: What’s the Difference?

Hinge illustration

Hinges are often categorized according to the way in which they are installed. Some of them are half-mortise, whereas others are full-mortise. While both half-mortise and full-mortise hinges are commonly used when installing doors, they aren’t the same; they involve different installation methods.

What Are Half-Mortise Hinges?

Half-mortise hinges involve an installation method in which one of the leafs is mounted in a cutout. Like most hinges, half-mortise hinges have two leafs. During installation, one of these leafs will be mounted in a cutout – a process known as mortising.

What Are Full-Mortise Hinges

Full-mortise hinges involve an installation method in which both of the leafs are mounted in a cutout. Full-mortise hinges have two leafs as well. During installation, both of the leafs will be mounted in a cutout.

Doors are often connected to frames with full-mortise hinges. Before installing a full-mortise hinge, you’ll need to cut out a section of the door and the frame. The full-mortise hinge’s leafs will go into these cutouts.

Differences Between Half-Mortise and Full-Mortise Hinges

Half-mortise hinges and full-mortise hinges are installed in different ways. They both require the use of fasteners. You can mount half-mortise and full-mortise hinges by driving a set of threaded fasteners through their respective holes and into the underlying surfaces. Half-mortise hinges, though, only involve a single leaf being mortised, whereas full-mortise hinges involve both leafs being mortised.

Most people will agree that half-mortise hinges are easier to install. You’ll only have to cut out a single section when installing them. To install full-mortise hinges, on the other hand, you’ll have to cut out two sections.

Full-mortise hinges offer a smooth, clean appearance. They are designed to sit completely flush when installed properly. Neither of the leafs will protrude out of the surfaces. Rather, they’ll remain flush with the surfaces in which they are installed. Half-mortise hinges don’t offer this same smooth and clean appearance. Only one of the leafs will be flush; the other leaf of a half-mortise hinge will protrude out of the surface in which it’s installed.

What About Full-Surface Hinges?

There are also full-surface hinges. Full-surface hinges are mounted directly on surfaces. They aren’t mounted in cutouts like their half-mortise or full-mortise counterparts.

You can use full-surface hinges to connect doors. Full-surface hinges are simply mounted directly to the surface of a door and the frame. Unlike mortise hinges, they aren’t mounted in a cutout.

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