Pros and Cons of Surface-Mount Door Hinges

door hinge

If you’re thinking about installing surface-mount hinges, you should familiarize yourself with their advantages and disadvantages. Door hinges can be categorized according to the way in which they are mounted. Mortise hinges are mounted in a shallow cutout on the door and the surrounding jamb. Surface-mount hinges, in comparison, are mounted directly on the surface of the door and the surrounding jamb.

Pro: Quick and Easy Installation

Surface-mount hinges are easy to install. As long as you have a drill and some screws, you shouldn’t have any trouble installing them. Surface-mount hinges are mounted directly to the surface of the door and jamb, whereas mortise hinges are mounted in cutouts — and these cutouts must be the exact size and shape of the hinges. If they are too small, the hinges won’t fit. If the cutouts are too big, the hinges will sit loosely.

Pro: Versatility

Surface-mount hinges are versatile. You can find them in a variety of materials, such as stainless steel, zinc-plated steel, brass and aluminum. They are also available in different sizes, such as 3×3 inches, 3.5×3.5 inches and 4×4 inches.

Pro: Easy to Adjust

Not only are they easy to install, but surface-mount hinges are equally easy to adjust. You can raise or lower them without worrying about the cutouts. Raising or lowering mortise hinges is a bit more difficult due to the cutouts in which they are installed. You’ll have to create a new cutout for each mortise hinge that you want to raise or lower, and you may have to go back and fill the old cutouts.

Con: Lower Weight Capacity

Surface-mount hinges typically have a lower weight capacity than their mortise counterparts. If you’re looking to install a lightweight door, such as an interior door, this may not be a concern. For heavier exterior doors, though, you may want to go with mortise hinges. Mortise hinges sit in a cutout or groove, which allows them to support heavier doors and objects.

Con: Not Concealed

Unlike mortise hinges, surface-mount hinges aren’t concealed. They are typically visible at all times — even when the door on which they are installed is closed. Door hinges consist of two leafs and a pin-secured knuckle. The leafs are mounted to the surfaces of the door and jamb where they are always visible. For a sleeker and cleaner appearance, you may want to use mortise hinges.

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