how to install hinges on a new door

silver classic door hinge for a new door
Tools Needed
1 Hammer
2 Half inch chisel
3 Utility knife
4 One-inch screws
Materials Needed
1 Cordless screw gun
2 Carpenter’s pencil
3 Screwdriver
4 Safety Glasses
Total Cost
Find a handyman
Estimated Time
30-45 Minutes
Skill Level: Beginner
The total cost and duration may vary when hiring a handyman!

Project Overview

traditional bronze and silver door hinges on a patterned background

Door hinges play a crucial role in your daily life; they provide support to all of your doors. Door hinges, especially on exterior doors, are usually the first line of protection and safety for your family. Inside your house, they provide privacy to your family members. Installing hinges on a new door is a skill that can be easily mastered and can prove to be invaluable for you as a homeowner, especially if you enjoy D.I.Y. projects.

The majority of door hinges are recessed, or surface mounted. It is also likely that you will come across combination models that are partly surface mounted and partly recessed. It is important to start with accurate and precise measurements and always use tools and materials that will ensure superior results.

In case you are hanging a new door on an old frame, you will have to cut fresh hinges on your door carefully. New doors, also called door blanks, feature flat and smooth sides, and do not have any hinge locations. This design will allow you the convenience of placing the hinges where you like on your door so that it matches your existing frame. You could save plenty of money when building or remodeling your home by buying door blanks and cut the hinge mortise on your own. You can do this easily with a chisel and hammer.

Step-By-Step Instructions


Choose Your Hinges

typical door hinge that most people have

You can  mount regular doors with butt hinges, which are the most widely used type of hinges. They come with both un-removable and removable pins. A loose pin system is ideal as it allows you the luxury of detaching your door without the need to disassemble the hinge.

If the covering of the floor interferes with your door, then rising butt hinges are better. And in case you are looking for a more decorative or visually pleasing appearance, try a knuckle hinge. Regular doors, which are not too heavy, often use butt hinges. In contrast, heavier doors may require ball bearing hinges. You can also use double hinges as they open in two directions. Most people use pivot hinges when working with overlay doors.


Place the Hinges

person tracing the screw pilot holes for a hinge on the door

If you want to install a new door, you will have to figure out the precise locations for the hinges on your door frame. A majority of doors need at least two hinges. You can find one hinge about seven inches from top of your door frame, while the second is about eleven inches from the bottom of your door frame.

You will have to measure the distance between the hinges and then carefully mark the locations on your door frame. Now repeat this process on the new door you are hanging. In case there is a third hinge (which is typical for heavier doors), place it between the other two hinges, usually in the middle (this puts it a little off-center).

Put the hinges carefully in place on the jamb and your door, then with a carpenter’s pencil meticulously trace around the hinges. On the jam, the depth of each hinge must be equal to the thickness of the hinge. Before you move on to the next step, it is advisable to double check to ensure the outlines precisely match the same locations on the jamb and door. After tracing the outlines, score the outline with a utility knife; this will allow you to cut the mortise easily.


Cut the Mortise


The phrase cut the mortise is a professional phrase which means to cut out the wood carefully in the jamb to ensure it matches the shape of the hinges, which will ensure the hinges are securely set in the jamb to provide greater strength as well as aesthetic appeal.

You will require a hammer and very sharp chisel to cut the mortise accurately. Carefully angle your chisel and gently tap into the jamb from each side to get rid of thin strips of wood. When you cut the mortise, do not make the mistake of cutting it too deep because this often causes the hinges to become loose with the passage of time. Only cut out the marked depth and outlined area.  

Do not work with a dull chisel as it will make it tougher for you to cut the mortise, causing you to apply greater pressure with your hammer (which may lead to slippage). If you have accidentally cut the mortise deeper than necessary, you can place a thin wooden piece or wood filler in it before you proceed to install the hinge.


Securing The Hinges

person screwing in the last screw for a door hinge

Replace the hinges in the jamb where you cut the mortise. Then mark the locations for all the screws in the jamb with a pencil. Now repeat the process with the hinge locations on your door. Remove the hinges after marking the spots.

Using a screwdriver and drill, drill narrow pilot holes on the spots you marked. You placed these marks on the jamb in the previous step. Tap the screws gently first, which will ensure that the screws do not move out of position accidentally. Then use a screw guide for keeping the screws straight as you drive them into the wood. Secure each hinge back in its place, and with a screwdriver and drill fasten them into the door and jamb.


Hang The Door

person hanging a wooden interior door on the hinges they prepared

Hold your door in position; you can use blocks underneath to provide support if needed. Align both of the hinge plates such that the one on the jamb matches the one on your door. Remove the blocks, if any, from the door and slide all the hinge pins in place. If they do not fit properly, use your chisel to cut and scrape the sides, corners or bottom of the traced area until the hinge plate fits snug and flat into the tracing. Test your door a couple of times to make sure it’s working properly, and the job is complete.  


You have installed hinges on your new door. We hope that you easily find replacement hinges of the same style and size like the previous ones, which will make the task much easier. Searching and finding exact matches can be difficult at times. Also, they can also be pricey.

And if you are not able to find hinges that are of the same size, you may need to do a bit of chiseling for the mortise to work properly. If you are careful, the project will not cause major issues and will be a breeze. After you have installed the hinges, you can paint your new door with a suitable color that complements the rest of your home. 

Now that you have completed installing hinges on your new door, you can move on to other repair jobs in your home that you may have been putting off.

How To Install Hinges On A New Door

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