Window and door hinges – what are the different types?

Here, we are going to take a look at the many different types of hinges available to be used for modern windows and doors; as well as a couple that aren’t as common that you’ll still see dotted around:

Butt hinge

Butt hinges are probably the most common hinge around when it comes to fixing two timber parts together. You’ll see them everywhere: wooden internal and external doors use them all the time, and you’ll also see them on some windows, as well as cupboards and other pieces of furniture.
Earlier versions of butt hinges were held together using a shaft through the spine, but a number of modern versions use ball-bearings instead: these are particularly common for heavier duty doors.

Security butt hinge

These are a slight variation on the traditional model and are usually used for outward opening doors, when the hinge pin is externally visible. Like their more traditional cousins, security butt hinges need to be recessed into the surface of the door, and as such are only suitable for use with wood.

Continuous (piano) hinges

Continuous hinges can be very long. Their nickname of piano hinges comes from the fact that they would often be used to secure the lid of pianos: the ability to tailor the length of the hinge making them ideal for the task. You’ll find them in any opening that requires support across an extended length.

Flush hinge

This is a fairly lightweight form of hinge and is used in situations where the builder doesn’t want to recess into the surface, as you would with a butt hinge. Flush hinges are most commonly found in cupboards with lighter doors.

Pivot Hinges

Though you won’t find too many pivot hinges in your local hardware store, you might still see some of them around. They were often used for older stone buildings, where they were attached both at the top of the door frame and in the floor.

Concealed hinge

As the name might suggest, concealed hinges are most typically used in cupboard doors, and are designed not to be seen from the outside. Most concealed hinges require a larger hole in the door to allow the body of the hinge to fit.

Double action hinge

These are usually found in commercial buildings rather than residential properties, as they allow a door to swing both ways.

HL Hinges

HL hinges take their name from the more traditional H hinges, which were used in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Essentially, they’re simply a stronger version of the originals, and were created in order to be used for heavy wooden doors. Interestingly, they were often found on doors leading through to secret passages!

Friction hinge

Friction hinges are most commonly found on uPVC double glazing windows. This is because in these types of windows there would typically be no need for a catch to secure the window. Friction hinges can vary quite substantially, with different manufacturers of double glazing using different styles.