After painting our rental property kitchen cabinets (check out the post on how to paint kitchen cabinets here) my plan was to clean the hinges and place them right back but after painting and purchasing new knobs and pulls I decided to get new hinges as well. I wanted to give the kitchen cabinets a more modern and clean look and boy I’m so glad we did! It makes such a big difference! Installing concealed hinges is actually pretty easy, let me show you how.
Kitchen cabinets with the original hinges
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
So before we begin, lets talk about some basics we need to know before we run off buying hinges to install.
What To Know Before Installing Concealed Hinges
The first thing you need to look at is what type of cabinets you have. Is it framed or frameless?
Also called American style cabinets, are more traditional and common. These cabinets have a face frame on the front of the cabinet box and the doors attach with a hinge to the frame. The cabinets we refinished (check out the photo above) are framed cabinets. You can see the cabinet door lays on a face frame of the cabinet.
Now you need to determine the overlay. Overlay means the amount of OVERLAP there is in reference to the door and the cabinet frame. There are different types of overlays. There’s inset, full overlay, and partial overlay. Below is a photo that helps identify the difference. There’s also a pretty good article that further explains it here.
Inset: The cabinet door is slightly smaller than the cabinet opening and is recessed to align with the frame
Full Overlay: The cabinet door is larger than the cabinet opening and only leaves a small visible reveal of the frame
Overlay: (also called partial overlay or standard overlay) The cabinet door is slightly larger then the cabinet opening. Overlays come in different sizes. The size is the measurement of how much the door covers the frame. Standard overlay sizes are 1/2 inch or 1 1/4 inch. Here is an easy way to measure your cabinet door overlay using tape.
Also known as full access cabinets or European cabinets. These cabinets are more modern and sleek. The cabinet door is the same size as the cabinet box. There is no face frame. With frameless cabinets the door hinges are mounted to the side wall of the cabinet box.
Now that you know about the type of cabinets you have lets talk hinges.
I had no clue that there were so many different types of hinges! It can get a little overwhelming. Rockler has a great article on helping you choose which hinge is right for your cabinet but in this post we’re going to talk about concealed hinges (also called Euro Hinges). Euro hinges is what we installed on our kitchen cabinets.
There are two main options for concealed hinges which are frameless concealed hinge and face frame hinge. We now know the difference between framed and frameless cabinets and that is one of the determining factors on the type of hinge to get.
A frameless concealed hinge has a plate that attaches to the side wall of the cabinet box.
A face framed hinge has a bracket that fits over the frame.
*The other side of the plate or bracket has a cup and that is what attaches to the back of the cabinet door.
There are different size options for face framed hinges and that is based on the overlay size (as mentioned before) Our cabinet door had an 1/2 inch overlay so we purchased 1/2 inch overlay concealed hinges from Amazon. We went with self closing hinges to prevent the cabinet doors from slamming. Be sure to measure your overlay before purchasing your hinge.
Ok so now that you’ve identified what type of cabinet door you have and the right size concealed hinge, lets talk about hinge installation.
Installing Your Concealed Hinge
The concealed hinge has a small ‘cup’ on the other side of the bracket or plate and that is what you are going to attach to the door. In order to do that you’ll need to drill hinge cup holes. There are different tools you can use to create your cup hole. I find that the Kreg Concealed Hinge Jig is the best. At just under $30 dollars it allows you to easily drill your cup hole. It was super easy to use and although intimidating in the beginning, once you get the hang of it you’ll want to install hidden hinges on e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g!
Here’s a list of what you’ll need:
- Kreg Concealed Hinge Jig
- 1/2 inch overlay hinge (or hinge that applies to you)
- Clamps (to clamp your door in place)
- 1/16 inch (1.5mm) drill bit (to drill hinge-mounting screws)
- Flat head screw driver
- a shop vac/ vacuum
The directions that come with the Kreg jig are pretty straightforward. Make sure to read it carefully. We watched a video from Kreg tool that was helpful.
There’s a measurement guide right on the jig. This tells how far down you want your hinge to be on the door. We placed ours at 3.5 for our 1/2 inch overlay hinge. There’s also two small dials and this is the setting for how far in you want your hinge to sit (you can turn the dial with a flat head screwdriver). The measurements all depend on what hinge you have so be sure to follow the guide that comes with the Kreg Jig.
Make sure to work on a good work table or space, place your cabinet door on the edge, and use clamps to clamp down your door and secure it while you are drilling. Double check and make sure to drill the holes on the correct side of the door. We almost had a scare with one of the doors😅. Always measure twice before drilling your holes.
Your drill attaches to the Kreg Jig and you’ll want to use some pressure down onto the drill as you go. The jig has a stop collar that will prevent you from drilling your hole right through your door so don’t let this step stress you out.
It does get messy so be sure to have a vacuum nearby to suck up all of the wood shavings that comes up from creating the hole.
Once you have drilled your cup hole, remove the drilling guide. The Kreg Jig has two small holes on it for your mounting screws. Use your 1/16 inch drill bit and predrill into those holes. Now you can unclamp your kreg jig, vacuum any left over wood shavings, and place your hinge into the cup hole. The hinges come with small mounting screws and you’ll drill that right into the pre-drilled holes you made. The great thing about the hinges is that they are adjustable. If your cabinet door isn’t aligned after you install your hinges, you can adjust the screws. The screws move the door side to side, up and down, and in and out.
I couldn’t believe how easy it was to install concealed hinges! The only thing I would do differently is make my cup holes for my hinges before painting the cabinets. Of course I decided to do it after but if I ever decide to paint kitchen cabinets again, part of my plan for the cabinets will be deciding if the hinges will be changed or not. That way I can drill the necessary holes for new hinges before I paint the cabinet doors. We didn’t run into much trouble and the finish on the cabinet didn’t get damaged but I was worried the entire time. We needed to be super careful!
Once the new hidden hinges were installed it helped transform the look of the kitchen cabinets. Not to say that the old hinges wouldn’t have looked good but it almost felt like putting old dingy rims on a brand new shiny car! ha! (I’m not sure how I came up with that anology but I hope it makes sense 😂)
The concealed hinges make the kitchen cabinets look great! I highly recommend considering it when you want to refinish your cabinets.
Hope this has inspried you to try something new!