In fact, you probably have several. At least two for every door that swings on hinges to open and close.

In fact, the proper name for what most of us would call a door hinge is ‘butt hinge’. Despite its popularity, there are lots of other types of door hinges, and people ‘in the business’ use names like ‘butt hinge’ to be clear about which type of hinge they are talking about.

The butt hinge is the most common hinge for interior and exterior doors in homes and offices. At home, you probably only have doors with butt hinges and sliding doors, including sliding barn doors for bedrooms and sliding closet doors.

Where the Butt Hinge Gets Its Name

A butt hinge is made up of two rectangular metal plates with two to four screw holes allowing one plate to be fastened to the door and the other plate fastened to the door jamb, or frame.

To ensure that the door fits the frame as closely as possible, each rectangular plate is recessed, or morticed, into the door or frame to allow them to be perfectly flush with each other when the door is closed.

The metal leaves are connected to each other by a pin that can be permanent, but is most often removable, especially in residential door hinges, (except perhaps the main entry doors, whose hinge pins may not be removable for security reasons).

Being removable makes it easy to take the door down to be replaced, repaired or refinished.

To connect the plates and allow the door to swing, the pin fits snugly through barrels positioned along one of the long sides of the rectangular plates. The plates in a butt hinge set are designed so that the barrels on each plate interlock with the other.

Now You Know:

It is this ‘butting’ together of the plates that give butt hinges their name.