Posted on: 05.08.2023 Posted by: Редакция Comments: 0

Installing a door is not as simple as it sounds. A door is one of the most functional parts of a house or furniture, and its functionality is crucial. Why do you actually need to recess your door hinges?

Door hinges need to be recessed so that there is no gap between the frame and the door when it is closed. If there was a gap between the frame and the door, air or insects could get through. It can also help with the weight of the door by not putting too much pressure on the frame.

In the following, I will discuss the importance of recessing your door hinges and the few cases where this may not be necessary. I will also explain what an inset or offset door hinge is and how it works.

Do I need to recess my door hinges?

If you’re in the middle of a home project, you might be looking for a way to save time or material costs. Built-in doors, one of the less glamorous home projects, could be the focus of your subtraction. Do your door hinges need to be recessed? You may need to recess some door hinges to make them work properly, while others are fine without recessing. If you don’t recess the required door hinges, there will also be a gap between your door and the door frame. It’s worth taking the time to properly recess your door hinges.

Even if you’re thinking about your door hinges in the context of your cabinet doors rather than the front/back door, you’ve won’t want a gap between the door and frame. It looks unprofessional and goes against the purpose of installing a door.

About Door Hinges

Door hinges are the small metal parts that help to open and close your door. They typically consist of a few movable, rolling parts and two large, sturdy parts that fit into the door and frame. If you were to drill one hinge into a piece of wood and place the other piece on another piece of wood, there would be a gap when opening and closing the door.

Recessing means to secure something by placing it deeper into the wall or surface where it is attached. In the case of doors, this could involve drilling a 1-inch or 2-inch hole for the hinge to fit into. This way, your door will align flush with the frame when opening or closing.

You can also buy hinges, more typical for cabinets that are already “recessed” in a certain way. Recessed door hinges are sometimes referred to as hinges with an offset or an inset. These hinges are supplied with a pushed out hinge, so nothing needs to be cut out of the door or frame.

If you don’t recess your hinges, you’ll let the air in

So what if you let a little air in? Technically, you don’t need to recess your door hinge. The door opens and closes in both directions. But without a recess, the bit of air that gets through can have a bigger impact than you might expect.

When heating your house, a tiny gap in the air can mean losing a lot of money on energy costs during the winter. Your door lets hot air out and cool air in, which means your furnace has to work harder. If you live in an area with many bugs and critters, the small gap can also mean more insects in your house. When winter comes, mice and bugs look for warmth, so they can crawl right through the gap and invade your home. A fully closing door also gives you a reassuring feeling. You know that no one can break in with a crowbar or insert anything that could harm you.

If you are dealing with a cabinet or piece of furniture, the fears of air, living beings, and pry bars may not apply to you. In general, however, there is a reason why your cabinets need a recessed door hinge. It usually makes things look more professional and cleaner. If aesthetics are not important to you, then maybe it’s a step you can ignore.

Recess depends on the door hinge

Some door hinges are okay without a recess, but they are wide and thinly sown. You should check the instructions to see how deep a recess needs to be created for the door hinge to function. In general, door hinges that may not require a recess are:

  • Double folding hinges (which help doors swing in both directions)
    • Concealed hinges (which can be used for cabinets, furniture, and interior doors)
    • Flush hinges (typically used for furniture and cabinets)
    • T-hinges (typically used for gates)

    If you want to skip this step, your door will still open and close. However, as mentioned above, this may affect the overall function of your door. You can always skip the recess and see how big of an impact it has, and add the recess later. However, this would require doing the work twice, and it will likely be easier to just do everything at once.

    You can recess your door hinges by creating a notch

    This is possible. Create a recess if you have door hinges or cabinet hinges that don’t create a recess. Builders and carpenters do this by creating a groove. A slot is a hole you cut into your door to insert the hinge. Typically, your door or hinge instructions should give you the dimension for how deep you need to cut into the frame to set your recess. This YouTube video can provide you with a visual representation of how to recess your door hinge:

    If you do not have recessed or flush hinges, cut a hole in the side of your door hinge and in the wooden frame onto which you will mount the door.


    By properly insulating your house, you can save tons on energy costs. You don’t necessarily have to recess your door hinges, but doing so ensures that the door securely closes onto the door frame. Otherwise, you leave a gap wide enough for warm air to escape or cold air to enter. Additionally, having a minimal gap after closing your doors prevents animals from crawling in. It also protects you against tools that burglars could use to break open your door.

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