soft close concealed hinge

Cabinet Hinges- Advice From The Pros!

Self close hinges verses soft close? What is the difference? At the same time, you hear of surface mount hinges, semi concealed hinges, and concealed hinges. After all, what do these terms mean? You know you need new hinges for your cabinets, however the many different terms confuse and intimidate you. Homestead Cabinet Design will show you the difference, along with give you ideas of what works for you, in your kitchen.

Cabinet hinges are a very vital part in cabinet design! After all, as the external joint between the cabinet door and the cabinet frame, they connect your cabinet doors to your cabinets! Moreover, hinges allow your cabinet doors to freely open and close. Hopefully, they also bring your door flush with your cabinet frame! If not, then it is time to check out the many other cabinet hinges that are available, both online, and in stock in many stores across the country.

Basic self closing hinges comprise of two pieces of metal, held together with a pin. This pin allows them to move, rotating away from each other, thus allowing the cabinet door to open and close.

The Self closing hinges usually have a built in element that pulls the door shut with a bang. On the contrary, soft closing hinges use hydraulics to pull the door shut to a certain point, after which the hydraulics take over, and slowly glide the door shut.

Cabinet hinges come in three basic designs, surface mount hinges, semi concealed hinges, and concealed hinges. They also come in self closing and soft closing.

Self Closing Cabinet Hinges Verses Soft Closing

What is the difference between self closing cabinet hinges and soft closing? Self closing hinges basically work as a simple door hinge, only as a smaller replica . You see the hinge, or at least part of it, on the door and frame of the cabinet.

Instead, soft close hinges are concealed behind the door, and do not work as a regular door hinge. Rather, after pushing the door shut, they have a mechanism inside the hinge that brings the door to a partial close. Following this, the hydraulics inside the door hinge take over, and the door softly and slowly glides shut. You cannot bang doors with soft close cabinet hinges, as so often happens with self close hinges!

Basically, with self closing doors, you need to shut them all the way yourself. Often, they have a magnet installed inside the cupboard frame, to catch and snap the door shut. Normally, these doors close with a distinct bang. Whereas, after being given a small push, soft close hinges close softly, as their name suggests.

Pros and Cons of Self Closing Hinges

Self closing cabinet hinges come in two types- surface mount hinges, also called butterfly hinges and semi concealed hinges. These hinges typically have been used for many years. Before the introduction of soft close, concealed hinges, these hinges were the only way cabinet doors could be fastened to a cabinet! Indeed, you see these hinges everywhere in rustic and farmhouse style kitchens.

Surface Mount Cabinet Hinges

These cabinet hinges definitely add a touch of whimsical nostalgia to any kitchen!

rustic self close hinges

Most often you see self closing cabinet hinges in the typical L or butterfly design. These popular hinges have been around for years, and most likely any 1950- 1960 era kitchen is blessed with them.

rustic farmhouse style kitchen

With self close hinges, it takes expertise and skilled craftsmanship to get the doors to be level and close properly. Along with that, if your door warps at all it becomes hard to keep them closed, let alone keep them aligned properly. They will latch to the magnet when you close them. However, because it is warped, the door will pop open again. They can be adjusted, however this may or may not work, and you will still have a door that closes with a distinct bang.

white shaker kitchen with surface mount hinges.
Another very common surface mount hinge.

Semi Concealed Self Close Hinges

Semi Concealed self-close cabinet hinges mount inside the cabinet door, so you see only the exposed part of the hinge that mounts to the cabinet. These hinges come in self close and soft close hinges. Additionally they come in a huge variety of designs, ranging from copper to brass finishes, and even mostly concealed hinges. Most kitchen cabinets with standard contemporary face frames and partial overlay doors, use this type of cabinet hinge.

Below, you see a farmhouse kitchen with semi concealed hinges. This type of hinge is very common, and cost efficient. However, most times, they do not come in soft close, especially if the kitchen is older.

Soft Close Cabinet Hinges

Soft close hinges ensure that your kitchen doors close quietly and smoothly every single time you use that door! Your kitchen cabinet doors will never again slam shut when you upgrade to soft close hinges. Instead of banging shut as other self closing hinges do, soft close hinges glide shut to a certain point, before easing to a closed position with hydraulic mechanisms.

With soft close hinges, you need not remind your children to be careful when closing your cabinet doors. Additionally, they will not pinch their fingers in the door, because the door closed too swiftly. Neither will they bang shut and scratch your cabinets every time you close them, thus extending the life of your kitchen cabinets.

Soft close hinges come in semi concealed and concealed hinges. The style of your kitchen and your personal preference will determine the type of hinge you choose.

However, you definitely will not regret upgrading to soft close hinges! If for no other reason, it definitely saves on the wear and tear on your kitchen. Not to mention the lovely peace and quiet that results in a kitchen when the doors shut quietly and gently, verses banging shut every single time that you close a cabinet door!

Semi Concealed Soft Close Cabinet Hinges

Semi concealed soft close hinges most often show one side of the hinge on the cabinet. Meanwhile, the hinge side towards the door hides behind the door, hence its name- semi concealed cabinet hinge. These hinges often get used with partial overlay doors commonly seen in contemporary kitchens.

semi concealed soft close hinges on white painted kitchen

Fully Concealed Soft Close Hinges

Modern shaker style, full overlay doors use fully concealed hinges. These hinges mount inside the cabinet frame, and inside the cabinet door. Moreover, this allows the cabinet hinge to totally hide inside the cabinet door. Thus, leaving a clean smooth line of doors behind, with no hinges cluttering up the fronts of your kitchen cabinets! For more info on Shaker style doors check out our blog on Shaker doors.

shaker cherry kitchen

Can Soft Close Hinges Be adjusted?

Definitely! Soft close hinges come with a three way adjustment- moving the cabinet door up, down, or sideways to fit your cabinet. Along with that, the soft close hinge allows for a light, medium, or heavy soft close movement. A professional can easily make these adjustments for you.

Additionally, soft close hinges come in a variety of brands. Among the best of them are Blum, Salice, and Brass. At the top of the line is Blum, since they take a maximum amount of wear and tear, along with a heavy duty hydraulic system. Additionally, their smooth, whisper soft closing adds grace and beauty to any kitchen!

Can You Put Soft Close Cabinet Hinges On Old Cabinets?

Definitely! Most doors, if they are solid and strong, change over to either semi concealed or concealed soft close hinges quite easily.

However, if your cabinet doors are showing their age, yet your cabinets are in solid condition, think of refacing them with new doors. Upgrading to new doors, along with new hardware beautifully updates any kitchen. For more info on refacing, check out our blog on refacing.

Do Soft Close Hinges Wear Out?

As with all things with mechanical parts, soft close hinges can eventually wear out. Especially, when you think of the thousands of times a cabinet door hinge is used even in a year’s time, it is only reasonable to think that in 20-30 years, they may eventually wear out. However, using the best of the best ensures you the peace of mind, that they last you a lifetime! You will not regret upgrading to soft close hinges- giving you the peace and quiet of soft close hinges in your own kitchen!

Bumper pads- Do They Help?

Bumper pads are those small vinyl or felt pads used on the corners of your doors to also minimize any scratching of your newly finished cupboards. They save your cupboards from any scratching or nicking from closing doors. Bumper pads help in keeping your cupboards in tip top condition!

Can We Help You Update Your Kitchen?

Contact Raymond today at Homestead Cabinet Design for an in-depth plan of action for those new kitchen cabinet hinges! We will be happy to help you with ideas for upgrading your current kitchen cabinets! You can feel actual sample doors and hardware. Give us a try TODAY!!

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Our mission is to help you upgrade your kitchen, ensuring that you end up with spectacular results for the kitchen of your dreams!!

I am an insured contractor in MA and CT. Our work is guaranteed, and we can have new cabinet hinges for you in a fast and timely manner!!

About the Author Susanna Glick