How to Install or Replace Door Hinges in 14 Steps


Hinge problems are the worst, everyone knows that.

Maybe not everyone, just door dudes like me, but I feel you, I know why you’re here.

So, you’re having some issue with your residential door hinges, and you need to change them? Or maybe you’re just installing a new door on your own and you need to figure out how to install hinges for the first time. Replacing hinges is one of the most common door repairs, and in this article, we’ll cover both, to make sure you’re well prepared for the project. If you don’t feel like you’re ready, you can always call a door professional to make sure you don’t cost yourself more money by making a mistake. Ready to tackle door hinges like a pro?

Key Takeaways

  • Measure and mark hinge locations on both the door and frame for precise placement.
  • Use a sharp chisel to cut mortises in the door and frame for the hinges to fit flush.
  • Drill pilot holes in the marked locations to ensure screws can be inserted without splitting the wood.
  • Secure the new hinges in place with screws, ensuring they align perfectly with the door and frame.
  • Test the door’s movement by opening and closing it, adjusting as necessary for smooth operation.

Installing Door Hingesunique-door-hinge

Place your hinges in the proper location

Before you start installing hinges, it’s crucial to accurately measure and mark where your hinges will go, ensuring they’re placed 7 inches from the top and 11 inches from the bottom of the door frame. This precision isn’t just about making your door function smoothly; it’s about taking control of your home’s functionality. This is the same both with exterior doors and interior doors.

You’re not just hanging a door; you’re setting the stage for every entrance and exit. If you’re dealing with a heavier door that demands a third hinge (typical 6 ft 8 in tall doors have 3), remember, it’s all about balance. Place it smack in the middle of the other two hinges, slightly off-center, but perfectly positioned to handle the weight. Same concept applies for a door with 4 hinges (like your typical 8 ft tall door), just make sure they are all separated evenly.

Trace around the hinge

Place your hinge on the door and jamb, then carefully trace around it with a carpenter’s pencil to mark its precise location. This step is essential; it’s where you wield the power to guarantee your door hangs perfectly. By aligning the hinge precisely, you’re setting the stage for a flawless installation. Don’t rush this part—accuracy now saves you a headache later.

Double-check that your outlines on both the door and jamb mirror each other perfectly. Remember, a well-placed hinge is the backbone of a door that operates smoothly and efficiently.

Cut the mortise

After marking the hinge’s location accurately, it’s time to cut the mortise to guarantee the hinge fits perfectly within the door frame.

Grab your sharpest chisel and a hammer; this is where precision meets power. You’ll angle your chisel just right and tap gently to shave off thin strips of wood.

It’s all about control—too deep and you’re looking at a loose hinge situation down the road. But don’t sweat it; if you go a tad overboard, a bit of wood filler or a slim wood shim can save the day.

Mark the location of the screws

Once you’ve cut the mortise, reposition the hinge in the jamb and on the door to precisely mark where the screws will go. This step’s your power move—determining the stronghold of your door. Grab your pencil and let’s get to it. Align the hinge exactly where it needs to sit, then use the hinge itself as your guide. Mark each screw spot with confidence.

You’re not just scribbling; you’re setting the stage for a door that’ll swing smoothly and stay sturdy. Remove the hinges after marking the interior door or exterior door. You’ve now laid the groundwork for the next big step. Remember, precision here means you’re halfway to a job that’ll make you proud. No guesswork, just solid prep for a door that’ll stand its ground.

Drill the pilot holes


Having marked the screw spots with precision, it’s time to grab your drill or screwdriver for the next step: carefully drilling the pilot holes, or hinge holes, in the jamb where you’ve indicated. Don’t rush it. Start by gently tapping to keep those screws from wandering off.

Every move counts towards a flawless finish. Use a screw guide to steer clear of any slip-ups; it’s your secret weapon to keep those screws arrow-straight. Remember, these pilot holes are your foundation—get them right, and you’re setting yourself up for success. No room for mistakes here, you’re building strength in every turn.

Install the individual hinges

With the pilot holes drilled, it’s time to position each hinge carefully back in its spot, securing them with a drill or screwdriver to both the jamb and door. Make sure each hinge is snug and perfectly aligned; it’s like piecing together a puzzle where every piece fits just right.

Your power tools are your best allies, so wield that drill with confidence but also with precision. Remember, this isn’t just about getting those hinges on; it’s about ensuring they’re so well-installed that they’ll hold up to the daily swing of life.

Connect the door to the jamb

After securing the hinges, it’s time to connect the door to the jamb by carefully aligning and inserting the hinge pins. Hold the door in place, and if it’s playing hard to get, use blocks under the bottom to give it the lift it needs.

Match up those hinge plates like a pro—door to jamb, like they were made for each other. Slide those hinge pins in; it’s that moment of truth. Kick those blocks away; they’ve done their job.

After you pin door hinges, give that door a test swing. It should move like a dream, no hitches. And just like that, you’ve nailed it. You’ve got the power to transform your space and install door hinges, one hinge at a time.

Replacing Door Hinges


Use blocks of wood to steady the door

Before plunging into a door hinge replacement, make sure the door is securely supported by placing blocks of wood underneath to prevent any movement or tipping.

Your first step is all about stability. These blocks aren’t just props; they’re your foundation of strength, ensuring that the door stays put while you work your magic. You don’t have to worry about the door swaying or crashing down.

It’s like setting up your chessboard – every piece needs to be in the right spot for the win. With the door steady, you’re ready to start this replacement project with confidence, knowing that your workspace is as prepared as you are.

Compare the hinges and measure the door

Always make sure your new hinges perfectly match the existing door hinges in size and shape before proceeding with measurements on the door. It’s your project, and you can make it flawless. Grab your measuring tape and let’s get to measuring.

Check that the existing door hinge placements align with the rule of thumb— as mentioned before, one 7 inches from the top, and the other 11 inches from the bottom of the door frame. If they’re off, don’t sweat it, adjusting is part of the game. It’s all about precision and your ability to adapt.

Ensuring these measurements are spot-on is your ticket to a door that swings smoothly and a job well done.

Remove one of the old hinges


Begin by carefully removing the top kingdom, unscrewing each leaf from the door and jamb to inspect the underlying wood’s condition.

You’re stepping into the land of DIY mastery, wielding your screwdriver like a scepter of change. It’s not just about yanking those screws out; it’s about understanding the canvas you’re working with. Is the wood beneath solid, or does it whisper tales of wear? Your keen eye will catch even the subtlest signs of damage.

If you spot holes that seem to have given up, holding screws like a sieve holds water, don’t fret. A small wood wedge can be your knight in shining armor, plugging those voids with the precision of a craftsman.

Prepare the jamb and door for the new hinge

To prepare the jamb and door for new hinges, start by sanding down the wood where the old hinges were attached. This smooths out any roughness and readies the surface for a fresh start.

If your new hinges don’t match the old ones in size, no sweat. Just fill those old mortise holes on both the door and frame with wood putty. Grab a metal scraper or use a small wood wedge for those stubborn screw holes. Patience is key—let that putty dry thoroughly.

Afterward, sand everything till it’s smooth as silk. Cap it off with a paint or stain job to match the rest of your door, and you’re golden.

Install the new hinge


Once you’ve prepared the door and door jamb, place the new hinge in the exact location where the old one was to guarantee a seamless fit.

Grab your drill or screwdriver and those shiny new screws that came with the hinge. Attach the two sides of the hinge to the jamb and the door, making each screw snug and tight.

Now, drop that hinge pin in, securing the hinge’s bond.

Repeat the process on the second hinge

After mastering the installation of the first hinge, it’s time to tackle the second one with the same precision and confidence. Just like before, grab your drill or screwdriver and show that old hinge who’s boss.

Whip it out and get ready to introduce its replacement. Align the new hinge carefully, making sure it doesn’t dance out of line as you bring in the new screws to secure its place in your door’s future.

And don’t forget, if there’s a third hinge lurking in the center, now’s the time to give it the same treatment.

Test the new hinges


With the new door hinges securely in place, it’s crucial to remove any supporting blocks and carefully test the door’s movement by opening and closing it several times. This is where your craftsmanship shines, showcasing your true ability. If that door swings open smoothly without a hitch, you’ve nailed it – literally and figuratively.

It’s the moment of truth, where your hard work pays off, ensuring that your space functions flawlessly with a door that’s not just a statement but a demonstration of your skill. If the door operates seamlessly, congratulate yourself. You’ve mastered the art of hinge installation, enhancing the functionality and aesthetics of your space with your own hands.


You’ve just tackled installing or replacing door hinges, and look at you—practically a pro now. Remember, it’s all about choosing the right hinge, marking accurately, cutting precisely, and securing everything snugly.

Don’t sweat if it wasn’t perfect on the first try; every master was once a beginner at installing door hinges. Give yourself a pat on the back, and admire your handiwork. Your doors are swinging smoothly, and it’s all thanks to you.

Here’s to many more DIY successes!

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