When you’re building your shed, one of those nagging details will be what shed door hinges to use. If you’ve never shopped for hinges before, you might think that there is only one kind available, the kind that is located on your home’s doors. However, there are other types, each one with its own particular good points.
Choosing the best door hinges will be dependent on the type of door your using, the swing of the door [swings in or out] and how secure you need the door to be.
Choosing the Right Hinge and the Right Number of Hinges
There are four main types of hinges with some variation in each type. As far as the number of hinges, you’ll need at least two. If you have a heavier door, such as one made of wood or even plywood, using three will be your best bet.
If you only have two, and one becomes compromised for some reason, it will put extra strain on the remaining good one. If you have three, the extra load is spread between the two. This will also make it easier to replace the bad one.
The 4 Main Types of Shed Door Hinges
T-hinge – One of the most common forms of shed door hinges is a T-hinge. This hinge has a short top to the “T” and a longer part which may be in a long triangular shape or may be a squared-off strap.
The short top attaches to the door frame while the longer part attaches to the door. The beauty of these hinges is that they come in different lengths, giving them the strength to hold up heavy or extra-wide doors.
If you have a really heavy door, you can use the type of T-hinges that is meant for gates. If you purchase galvanized hinges, they will stand up to the weather just fine. Of course, you’ll want galvanized fasteners as well.
Parliament hinges – This type looks like your regular household door hinge, but it’s designed so that you can open your shed door a full 180 degrees. Like your household door hinges, they are placed so that the screws are not accessible on the outside, providing extra security.
Butt hinge – These look just like regular household door hinges, but you can get some that operate on ball bearings rather than a central pin, providing an extra deterrent to a thief, as they can’t pry out the central pin. You will need to cut a recess into the door jamb to make this type of hinge fit flush. They are good for regular-sized doors and are usually meant for outdoor use. You can get this type in a heavy-duty version to hold a heavier door.
Piano hinge – These are also known as continuance hinges. This is a long hinge that goes the whole length of the door. While they aren’t very wide, and so are not suited for supporting a heavy door, they do a lot to foil a burglar. They have many fasteners down the length, and because they go the length of the door, it prevents a thief from inserting a crowbar between the door and frame and trying to pry something loose.
What is The Strongest Type of Hinge?
Although there are stronger hinges out there, the strongest type you can probably get is a T-hinge. You can obtain hinges meant for really tough jobs, such as supporting vault doors, but that’s really not necessary. T-hinges come in different lengths and thicknesses.
The heavier the door, the longer and stronger you’ll want your hinges to be. There are T-hinges that are meant to hold gates if you really want something tough. As far as material, galvanized steel is probably your best bet.
Shed Door Hinge Durability and Strength
This varies greatly with the metal used in the hinge and its intended use. Most residential door hinges can hold between 200 and 400 pounds. Commercial-duty hinges will support between 400 and 600 pounds, while a heavy-duty rated hinge can carry between 600 and 1000 pounds.
You may be surprised to learn that the frequency of use also impacts how much weight a hinge can bear. This is why there is such a range of weight over each rating. Naturally, the hinges on a door to a sidewalk shop that opens with each customer coming or going are going to have a lot more wear than will your shed door.
A shed door that is opened and closed a couple of times a day, and not at all on some days won’t see much strain. A hasp and lock will also provide a little support when the door is closed, even on double shed doors.
When the door is open, the hinges take the strain, especially if it’s left open all day. Eventually, even the strongest hinges will start to give, and you may notice a sag in the door or that it just doesn’t close as well as it used to.
When choosing your hinges, you may want to have an idea of how much your door weighs so that you know your hinges won’t be too strained. There are calculators online that will help you estimate a door’s weight.
Not only the size and thickness play into this but the type of material used for the door. You’ll get a good estimate and be sure you’re getting the properly rated hinges for your door.
As far as durability, the thicker the metal, the longer your hinges should last. Galvanized hinges will usually last the longest, as they aren’t prone to rust. Stainless steel hinges are another good choice, but they aren’t impervious to rust. Make sure to get galvanized screws to fasten your hinges so you don’t end up with pristine hinges held by rusty screws. Check out my article How Secure Does a Shed Door Lock Need to Be? for more tips for strong and secure door hinges.
How to Improve the Door Hinges Security
The main tip to foiling a potential burglar is to make the shed as hard as possible to break into. Likewise, if he can break in but it will take a long time and a lot of work, the burglar will likely look elsewhere for an easier target. The longer he has to take to get in, the more likely he is to be discovered and caught.
One good security measure is to investigate the various types of security hinges on the market. Some have pins that are not removable so that a burglar can’t just tap them out with a screwdriver and hammer. Others feature security tabs that lock both sides together when the door is closed. If the hinge’s pin is removed or even if the barrel is cut off, the hinge stays locked together.
One good way to secure hinges that have fasteners on the outside is to use dome-headed coach bolts to secure the hinges to both the door frame and the door. These have a shallow, rounded head that can’t be turned with any type of screwdriver. In addition, because they are secured with a nut on the inside, they can’t be pried out of the door with a crowbar. Check out my article How to Use Door Security Hinges on a Shed for some tips for securing a shed door.
About the only choice left is to just break through the door, which will cause a lot of noise and alert the neighborhood dogs. You will need to drill holes for these, as they have no threads except at the very end.
If this seems like a bit much, another method is to use two or three different types of screws on each hinge, the more the better. Using a combination of slot-headed, Phillips, Torx and bolt-headed screws will frustrate a burglar, as he probably won’t carry the tools necessary to remove all these different types.
Of course, he can still use a crowbar to pry out the screws, but this will take some time and effort and probably make more noise than he would like. Again, the goal is to slow him down and make it as tough for him as possible. Check out my article 4 Shed Door Ideas That Will Increase Shed Security for some ideas to beef up your shed door.
How to Fit a Shed Door and Mount the Hinges
First, you’ll need to measure the interior space of your door frame. To figure out the space you’ll need to leave for the door to easily open and close, you’ll need to leave a gap of 1/8 inch along the top and sides and 3/8 of an inch along the bottom.
Once you have your measurements, you’ll be able to purchase a door or build one yourself. If you build your own door, your door’s frame should be placed an inch or two inside the outer edges of your surface material.
If you build a full interior frame, you can attach hinges with only the barrel showing to that frame. When using T-hinges, these go on the outside. In any case, the top hinge goes about seven inches down from the frame top and 11 inches from the bottom. Your third hinge should be centered between the two. Get more information in my article 5 Tips for Framing a Door Rough Opening.
It’s probably easier to fasten the top hinge first but be sure that you have something to prop the door up from the bottom that will keep it straight while you’re fastening the hinges. Letting the door hang after attaching the first hinge will cause undue strain.
Attaching your door latch should be left for last. This way you can be sure of both sides lining up just in case there’s a bit of a hitch in how the door hangs. This is especially true of double doors. Nobody’s perfect, after all. If your looking to save some money check out my article How to Build a Shed Door with Plywood.
If you aren’t sure of which type of hinges will suit your shed best, don’t hesitate to ask for help from the supplier’s staff. Be sure to tell the staff that it’s for a shed so you’ll get hinges made for outdoor use. It would be good to know your door’s measurements and approximate weight to obtain the best choice.
You want to get the best and strongest hinges possible for your door, as they will support your open door while you’re mowing the yard. You also want your shed to be secure from thieves, so don’t skimp on security measures. Once you have your door installed, you’ll probably be done with the shed, so stand back and admire your work.