Hinged Doors: Interior and Exterior Variations on a Theme

Hinged doors are one of the most common types of doors. Yet, there are multiple variations in the type of hinges and material you can choose.

Hinged DoorsView in gallery

The most important factor in how you make your decision regarding material and hinge style is where you will be using your door.

The hinge will determine the type of closure and the material will determine the ultimate durability of the door.

What are Hinged Doors?

Hinged doors are those that are attached to the door frame with two or three vertical hinges along the right or left hand side. The door swings open from the unattached side. These are one of the oldest door closure styles. Homeowners use them as interior and exterior doors. Some of the most popular hinged doors are both single and double doors.

Hinged Doors: Pros and Cons

Hinged doors are the most popular door style for both interior and exterior spaces. Yet, there are some areas where hinged doors are not the best choice for the space.


  • Access – Hinged doors create a large opening that creates easy access to interior spaces like closets or through doors.
  • Variety – Because hinged doors are the most popular kind of door, there are multiple door types available.
  • Style – Hinged doors are the most traditional kind of door and create an elegant and gracious look.
  • Low Maintenance – Hinged doors have sturdy parts that do not break often and are easy to fix if they do.
  • Installation – Most DIYers with a bit of experience can install hinged doors.


  • Space – The most common objection to hinged doors is the amount of space they take up when you open them. You can lessen the space that hinged doors inhabit with the combination of closure types like hinged bifold doors that fold in the middle or pivot doors that open from the middle.

Popular Types of Door Hinges

A door hinge is the hardware that is used to attach the door to the frame. It is the pivot point from which the door can swing open and closed. Hinges for doors are functional, but they can also add a decorative flourish to the door.

Butt Hinge

Butt HingeView in gallery

Butt hinges are the most common type of residential door hinge. They are composed of two identical sized metal plates that butt up against one another. One plate attaches to the door frame and the other attaches to the door. They fit together in the middle by a curled barrel or knuckle with a pin that joins them.

Ball Bearing Hinge

Ball Bearing HingeView in gallery

A ball-bearing hinge is a type of butt hinge with bearings in the barrel of the hinge. The bearings reduce the friction involved in opening and closing the door. These are ideal large door hinges like for entry doors where friction is a problem.

Concealed Hinge

Concealed HingeView in gallery

Concealed or invisible hinges are those that go on the recess in the door. These cannot be seen from the outside, so these are ideal for doors where you want an uninterrupted view of the door’s design. These are good for security because people cannot access them from the outside. You can also adjust concealed hinges for alignment after installation.

Security Hinge

Security HingeView in gallery

Security hinges have features that make them difficult for others to tamper with them. These include non-removable pins and security tabs.

Spring Loaded Hinge

Spring Loaded HingeView in gallery

Spring loaded hinges have tension built within. They can keep a door open or closed based on their configuration. They can be set with various degrees of tension.

Piano Hinge

Piano HingeView in gallery

A piano hinge, also called a continuous hinge, runs the length of whatever you are using it to join. This hinge features two sides with curled barrels joined by a central pin.

Pivot Hinge

Pivot HingeView in gallery

Pivot hinges allow doors to swing from a central point. These are attached at both the top and the bottom of the door to create pivot doors used for entry and interior doors.

Strap Hinge

Strap HingeView in gallery

Strap hinges have one or two long sides that are joined by curled barrels over a central pin. These are decorative style door hinges, but they are also used to create more stability for high-use doors.

Offset Hinge

Offset HingeView in gallery

These hinges allow doors to swing away from the door frame. These can widen your door opening by up to two inches. Also, these are ideal for retrofitting doors as you can buy many sizes of offset hinges that fit into other hinge holes.

Double-Action Hinge

Double-Action HingeView in gallery

Double-action hinges allow doors to swing in either direction. These are popular in restaurants, dining rooms, and cafes where doors need to open in both directions and come back to a closed position.

T Hinge

T HingeView in gallery

A T hinge is a mix of a butt hinge and a strap hinge. One side has a rectangular plate and the other has a strap-style plate. They are attached together with curved barrels joined with a pin.

Mortise Hinges vs Surface Hinges

Various types of hinges are available as mortise or surface hinges. Mortise hinges are those whose plates the installers sink into the door’s frame and surface. This creates a more stable connection and is used for heavy doors. There are full mortise hinges where both sides of the hinge are set in the frame and face of the door. There are also half-mortise hinges where just one side is set into the door and the other sits on the surface of the door frame.

Surface hinges go on top of the frame or face of the door. Installers use these for lightweight doors like interior doors. There are full surface hinges and half surface hinges. Full surface hinges are where both sides sit above the door material. Half surface hinges are those where one side attaches to the surface of the door and the other is set into the surface of the door frame.

Common Hinged Door Styles

We have gathered some of the most popular styles for doors with hinges for your consideration.

French Doors

French Doors
Viscusi Elson Interior Design

French doors are some of the most common hinged door types. These are double doors with hinges on opposite sides that open in the middle. French doors have some glass components built into the door frame.

Depending on the style and size of the door, the most popular French door hinges are ball bearing hinges, butt hinges, and spring hinges. You can also use security hinges or offset hinges if you have special requirements for your doors.

Dutch Door

Dutch Door
Warren Claytor Architects, Inc.

A Dutch door is a single door that opens from one side of the door frame, but it also opens from a horizontal cut between the top and bottom of the door. Most Dutch doors are rustic in style. They can also be heavy.

Therefore, some of the best hinge styles for Dutch doors are strap hinges or T hinges. These give the stability of the door and also enhance the charming rustic quality that these doors possess.

Pivot Doors

Pivot Doors
Dynamic Architectural Windows & Doors

Pivot doors are those that have hinges located on the top and bottom of the door rather than the sides. They rotate on a vertical axis. This means that the doors take up less space when they open into a room. These doors use pivot hinges.

Folding Doors

Folding Doors
C3 Design

Folding doors are also called bi-fold doors and accordion doors. Folding doors use a combination of hinges and tracks to open and close. These are doors that have hinges on the side of the door and also have door panels that are joined together with vertical hinges. You can use both motorized and surface hinges for folding doors.

Entry Doors

Entry Doors
Pauzer Design

The vast majority of entry doors are hinged, though they feature different styles. Some are double doors and others are single doors. Certain styles of doors feature glass and others are solid. Yet, all of the doors feature a hinged closure style. This is common because of the ease of operation, the various attractive styles available, and the ease of installation.

The best kind of hinges for entry doors are mortised because of the added security. Most people use ball-bearing hinges, butt hinges, or security hinges. If you want all the attention on the door rather than the hinge, use concealed hinges.

Interior Doors

Interior Doors
Period Architecture Ltd.

Just like entry doors, the most common interior door features hinges. Again, the ease of use, installation, and availability of multiple design styles make this an easy option for homebuyers. The most common interior door hinge is a butt hinge. Some interior doors feature strap hinges to evoke a historic or rustic style.

Shower Doors

Shower Doors
Alison Giese Interiors

Shower doors are another kind of common interior door that features a hinge. Installers use wall-mounted or pivot hinges depending on the style of door closure you want. They also use double action hinges if you want the door to open in either direction.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What are the most popular door materials for hinged doors?

Hinged doors are the most popular kind of doors. Therefore, you can find hinged doors in various door materials including wood, aluminum, steel, MDF, PVC, and fiberglass.

What are the best hinged doors for closets?

The most common hinged doors for closets are standard hinged doors and bifold hinged doors. Standard hinged doors allow you to create a wider opening but take up more space in the room when open. Bifold doors do not give you as wide an opening but take up less space when open.

Which are the best hinged patio doors or sliding patio doors?

Hinged patio doors like French doors are popular as well as sliding glass doors. Both doors work well in certain spaces. Hinged patio doors have a more traditional style, but they do take up more space in the room when they are open. They are also more expensive. Sliding glass doors can also look elegant and they do not take up space in the room when they are open.

What are center hinged doors called?

People also called center hinged doors pivot doors because they pivot around a central access.


Hinged doors are one of the oldest and most popular types of doors that are available. There are so many great options available that fit every home and style. Consider your door style, the weight of the door, and type of closure you want to decide which kind of hinge will work for you.