Replacing your door hinges is one of the easiest things you can do to update your home hardware. If you have recently replaced your outdated door knobs or doors levers (or plan to do so soon), you will definitely want to replace your door hinges so that all of your door hardware is in the same finish.
Door hinges are available in the same popular finishes available in new door hardware, such as oil rubbed bronze, flat black, and satin nickel. Finishes in the brass family - considered outdated not long ago - are now making a comeback with new finishes like brushed brass, satin brass, and champagne brass.
Most homes utilize two sizes of door hinges. In general, you will find that your exterior doors have 4" door hinges, and your interior doors have 3-1/2" door hinges.
Of course, there are some exceptions to this, so be sure to measure your door hinges before purchasing new ones. Measuring door hinges is very easy - when the hinge is open, measure from the top of the hinge plate to the bottom of the hinge plate. In most cases, that measurement will be identical to the measurement of the hinge from left-to-right. See the diagram below for the typical dimensions of a 4" exterior door hinge.
The radius refers to the corners of the door hinge, and the amount of curve or "radius" that they have. Door hinges almost always have one of three types of corners:
A square corner door hinge is quite easy to determine, as the corners have a completely square corner with no curve at all.
However, spotting the difference between a 5/8" radius door hinge and a 1/4" radius door hinge can be a little tricky if you are not used to working with door hinges.
To help you determine the difference, we have a tip you can use called the "coin test". Grab a dime and a quarter and hold each on up to the corner of your door hinge. A 1/4" radius door hinge will follow the approximate curve of a dime, while the curve of a quarter will more closely resemble the curve of a 5/8" radius door hinge. Refer to the photos below for an example.
1/4" Radius Door Hinge 5/8" Radius Door Hinge
This method allows you to replace each of the door hinges without removing the door from the door frame, which makes this a very easy one-person job.
Note: Most homes in the United States built in the last 40 years will have three hinges per door, which makes the process outlined above possible. Some older homes do have only two hinges per door. When this is the case, you can still use the method above, but may need a second person to hold the door slab as you replace each of the two door hinges.