Types of Concealed Hinges + Must-Read Installation Tips

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When hooking a cabinet door, there are different concealed hinges types you can choose from to achieve that seamless cabinetry look. However, hinge installation requires more detailed calculations that DIY newbies may find difficult to deal with. Lucky for you, our resident woodworkers can help you choose the right hinge types to avoid costly cabinetry mishaps.  

What are Concealed Hinges?

Before we discuss the type of hinge best suited for your project, you ought to know what a concealed hinge brings to the construction of your cabinet. First of all, these type of hinges is designed to make any cabinet hardware disappear in your sight the moment the door is closed.

You may find concealed door hinges drilled with a hinge cup behind a face-frame or frameless cabinet doors. Given that it has the United Kingdom welcome seal of approval, some woodworkers often refer to these pieces as European-style hinges.

installation of concealed hinges

If you haven’t heard of it yet, you may have heard of concealed hinge alternatives such as wrap-around or surface mount. These alternative options serve the same purpose. 

Hidden Hinges vs. Concealed Hinges

If you’re not familiar with door or cabinet construction, you may find hidden or spring hinges a bit challenging to differentiate. If you ask our resident woodworkers, both serve the same purpose of being invisible supporting hardware located on the door edge. 

Upon looking closely, we noticed that a hidden hinge is typically mortised into the cabinet doors’ edges. Meanwhile, a concealed hinge is drilled behind the cabinet door with a Forstner bit, making it a bit different in terms of installation than mortise hinges. 

Advantages of Concealed Hinges

Whether you have frameless cabinets or face-frame cabinets, having a concealed hinge definitely adds up to the aesthetic of your cabinetry. 

concealed hinges

Especially if you’re aiming for a minimalist interior design[1], a concealed hinge offers seamless and clean lines for your cabinets.  An invisible hinge can also add to the security of the cabinet door as it can’t be tapped from the outside, unlike most hinges. 

And if you’re not the best at cabinetry, our DIY experts highly urge the use of a concealed hinge, for it can be adjusted easily even after the cabinet box installation. 

Besides that, these are also referred to as soft-closing hinges because it allows removal of the doors without affecting your existing hinges. 

With soft-close hinges, the transition of your cabinet sides from open to a closed position is relatively smoother than regular self-closing hinges.  

Which Concealed Hinge to Use?

Full Overlay Hinge

If you’re working with a small cabinet box, the type of concealed hinges you should consider are the ones with designs that can fully overlay the face-fame or the hinge side of the door. We also suggest this hinge for installation layouts located at the edge of the door.

concealed hinges installation

Half Overlay Hinge

For cabinets with two doors sharing one partition, it is recommended to use half-overlay or semi-concealed hinges. These hinges, also known as knife hinges, typically require a 9/32-inch hole on the top and bottom side of the cabinet for installation.

Inset Hinge

If the doors of your cabinet are flushed with its face frame, you’ll be needing an inset hinge for easier construction. On top of that, an inset mounting plate requires mortise hinges and careful insertion. 

Cabinets with inset doors also need a new hinge that’s heavy-duty and ones that can hold up weight when you pop the door open. 

How to Install Concealed Hinges

Before anything else, a customer creating cabinet boxes themselves must buy the most suitable type of hinge to fit the requirements of your face frame. Keep in mind that most modern kitchens nowadays include the same overlay designs on all cabinets, so it’s not that complicated to make an informed hardware shopping decision.

Once you make the purchase, our DIY experts also recommend selecting the right hinge jig to assist your construction. 

concealed hinge

Don’t start drilling holes yet, unless the blue tape is marked on every side of the door.

Next, our team would suggest determining the hinge location right away. Having a layout ahead of time will not only save you time but also guarantee that the placement won’t obstruct the face frame of the doors. 

For newbies, try to test drilling holes in a workpiece with the exact same thickness as the ones you’ll use in actual cabinet construction to get the whole feel of it. 

After that’s done, press the drill into the hole location you laid earlier until it’s deep enough for the hinge. 

And then, install the door and ensure that you’re drilling the right depth. When fastening holes for door screws, we highly recommend using self-centering drill bits for easier construction time. 


What is the difference between overlay and inset hinges?

The difference between inset and overlay hinges is that an inset hinge is installed into the frame where the wing is seen when doors are closed, while overlay covers the cabinet’s face frame. Hinges that are inset extend to the frame’s cavity, whereas full overlays don’t obstruct the cabinet boxes’ interior. 


There are many types of concealed hinges, so it’s understandable for a DIY newbie to get overwhelmed by them. But now that you’re aware of the differences and perks of each option, our resident woodworkers urge you to explore the offerings of well-known hinge brands to see if their product line will suit the requirements of your cabinetry. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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