How to Install a Swinging Door Hinge

Tom King

A swinging door helps you go from room to room with your arms loaded. It helps a family member with a disability to open either way to allow passage of a wheelchair or walker. If you need the door to reclose after you, a swinging door is the answer.

Swinging door hinges require careful attention to clearances during installation.

Installing a swinging door hinge requires careful alignment to ensure proper clearance and operation of the door swinging mechanism.

  1. Mark the location of the top pivot hinge on the top of the door frame on the hinge side. Check the manufacturer's instruction for the distance to set the top pivot from the hinge side door jamb. Mark the distance from the jamb to the pivot.

  2. Draw a line the width of the head jamb through the top pivot mark with a speed square. Tap a small finish nail into the center of the line and suspend a plumb bob from the nail so that the bob almost touches the floor. Measure between the side door jamb and the plumb line at the top, bottom, center and at several points between. Make sure the distance between the string and jamb is the manufacturer's recommended minimum clearance. If not, adjust the top mark so the string hangs at the correct clearance all the way down.

  3. Position the top pivot plate directly over the top mark and screw it into place. Mark the location of the recess hole in the top of the door per manufacturer's directions. Drill a hole the correct size to fit the pivot socket plate. Use a chisel to trim out a recess so the socket plate fits flush in the top of the door. Screw the socket plate into place.

  4. Place the bottom hinge assembly against the bottom of the door jamb and mark the top of the hinge. Use a reciprocating saw, chisel and hammer to cut a 1/2-inch-deep notch from the mark you just made to the bottom of the door jamb

  5. Screw the bottom hinge assembly to the bottom of the door. Push the top pivot socket into the pivot plate assembly at the top and position the bottom of the door so the pivot plate is centered over the lower mark on the floor. Mark the holes in the lower pivot plate and screw the plate to the floor. If the floor is concrete, use a concrete bit and concrete anchors to screw the pivot plate to the floor.

  6. Adjust the alignment screws in the bottom pivot hinge assembly to center the door in the door jamb. Adjust the spring-tension nut to set the speed and strength of the door's swing.

  7. Cover the notch at the bottom of the door jamb with the manufacturer-provided plate. Screw the hinge cover plates that came with the bottom pivot hinge assembly over the sides of the hinge to cover the spring.