Broken Cabinet Hinges
My pantry doors do not stay flat when I close them. They pop forward and remain slightly open. Is there an adjustment I can make with a screwdriver to fix the problem? (P.S. The doors are fitted in a 36" opening and are quite heavy!)
B from Phoenix, AZ
It depends on the type of hinge that holds your doors. If they are standard "self-closing" cabinet hinges with no adjusting screws, they are probably damaged and need replacement. Heavy doors can distort light-weight hinges. And just plain wear-and-tear can cause the metal spring that operates them to break. Telltale evidence of this is when the hinge makes a sudden "cracking" sound and little pieces of plastic or metal shower to the floor. Even though the doors may still open and close, there is no force keeping them shut so they stay partially open or even resist complete closing. Light weight doors can still self-close with one functioning self-closing hinge... heavy doors rarely do.
There is a second type of common cabinet hinge... the so-called "Euro" hinge. Euro hinges are complicated-looking mechanical hinges that defy understanding... at least at first glance! However, if you examine them with patience, you can figure out how they function. Unlike standard cabinet hinges, Euro hinges can be adjusted to both align the doors and to close completely (assuming they are not broken, of course).
A Euro hinge may have two or even three methods of adjustment, depending on the manufacturer. You will notice that there are a number of visible screws on the body of the hinge. (You might have to pop off a decorative plastic nameplate to get to some of the screws.) Each screw performs a function. Some just hold the hinge together, some are for adjustment only and others perform both functions at the same time. Tightening or loosening the screws is required to adjust the hinge. If the screw offers you the option of using a Phillips or slotted screwdriver, use the slotted... it gives more turning power with less slippage!
Some of the possible functions of the screws are:
- to hold the hinge to the door or cabinet frame. These may be visible OR may be hidden under the hinge mechanism. Some Euro hinges have two parts... the actual hinge and a "base" plate that is mounted onto the cabinet.
- to adjust the cabinet doors up or down. These screws may also hold the hinge to the cabinet OR the hinge to the "base" plate (as described in (1) above). Obviously, if a door needs vertical adjustment, ALL hinges holding the door must be adjusted together to move the doors.
- to adjust the cabinet doors left or right (towards or away from each other). This is the hallmark adjustment of Euro hinges, allowing you to align the doors even if the face of the cabinet is not square. Adjusting one hinge will tip the door... adjusting both will move the doors towards or away from each other. If the door has more than two hinges, the adjustment becomes more complicated. One solution is to temporarily disconnect the center hinge(s) and make adjustments with the top and bottom only. Once the door is aligned, reconnect the center hinge(s) so that it does not change the alignment. Can be tricky but definitely doable!
- to remove the hinge "body" from brackets attached to the cabinet. This adjustment is also used to move the doors closer or further from the cabinets when the doors are closed.
If a visual inspection doesn't give you a clue as to the screw's function on your hinges, make careful changes in their adjustments and see what happens. Right... good old trial and error! Just be sure to work on the "bottom" hinge only when experimenting. You'll have less chance of a door falling into your lap if you make a mistake!
Have a small home repair question for THE NATURAL HANDYMAN? Just click here naturalhandyman.com/aitikia. For more home repair information, visit NH's growing list of original home repair articles and quality links naturalhandyman.com. If this information has been valuable to you, please consider making a small donation to support NH's free service to the home repair community! For more information, please visit our "Friends" page naturalhandyman.com/friends.
The Natural Handyman Site Directory
- Home Repair Articles naturalhandyman.com/iip
- Home Repair Links Library naturalhandyman.com/linkslibrary
- NH's Bookshop naturalhandyman.com/bookshop
- Find a handyman at naturalhandyman.com/network
- Win unique home repair gifts and prizes at naturalhandyman.com/contest. Please read the important copyright and disclaimer information is located at naturalhandyman.com/copyright
Also in Home
- 10 ways to cut the cost of cleaning
- Natural homemade laundry soap
- How to buy a Christmas tree
- Preparing for a snow storm
- How to reduce heating bills
- Corian countertop repair
- 6 reasons you shouldn't overimprove your home
- 5 simple and affordable luxuries for your home
- 7 green ways to save money on laundry
- 6 ways to organize your home in the new year
- 6 ways to save on home heating
- 6 cheap, effective home security solutions
- Find the best mortgage rates in your area
- 3 ways to use a mortgage calculator
- Mortgage calculator: Calculate your payment and more
- Home equity calculator: HELOC vs. line of credit
- Mortgage refinance break-even calculator
- How much money can I borrow for a mortgage?
- Who offers the most home insurance discounts?