When I received my first set of adjustable door hinges, I thought: Why on earth did I get these? All of my doors open and shut flawlessly. Airlocks on spaceships open and close worse than my house's doors.
Then I realized: This is because I paid someone else to install my doors. Oh yeah, that's right.
Cure For the Self-Installed Door?
If I had installed my own doors--and I've done plenty in the past--this would be a different story.
Not only that, even the most flawlessly opening/closing doors will eventually stick and scrape. That's a law of nature.
Doors can go awry for many different reasons: over-painting, humidity, foundation movement, new flooring installation, and poor craftsmanship. Planing and belt-sanding your door are poor options--messy and unpredictable. Take down too much wood and you need to build it back up.
A better solution is to adjust the one adjustable part there is: the hinges. One classic way to fix a sticky door is to pull the screws in tighter. But that helps only so much. Making the hinge mechanism itself adjustable provides you with more tolerance, and that is where adjustable hinges come in.
The Hinges In Detail
At first glance, these appear to be normal hinges, but with a crucial twist: a bolt running vertically, with the head on top and nut on bottom. The hinge sleeves have room to allow for a little extra play.
You can adjust these hinges as far as 1/8" to the sides and 1/4" inch top-to-bottom. If that doesn't sound like much, believe me--relative to door installation, these measurements are like miles.
3 Ways They Help You
They benefit you in several ways.
- Initial Installation: If you should be so unfortunate as to install your slab door incorrectly, adjustable hinges will provide you with minute leeway that may ever-so-slightly correct your errors.
- During Door's Lifespan: Doors and door frames change over the years, especially if your house's foundation is subsiding. Adjustable hinges allow your door to adapt to these changing conditions--somewhat. They will not work miracles, though.
- Promote Slab Installation: Often, DIY home remodelers resort to the more expensive pre-hung doors because they fear the exacting nature of slab installs. While adjustable hinges do not make slab door installation a piece of cake, they are one extra "help" that novice door installers might appreciate.
One negative I have encountered is the fact that whatever can be adjusted will eventually un-adjust on its own. No matter how tightly you have set the adjustment, expect the adjustment to undo over time.
Buy Them or Not?
Buy. These hinges fall into the category of Why-Aren't-All-Hinges-Like-This?