Do you put hinges on the door or frame first?

Hanging a door is a relatively easy task. However, to get it right, you do need to know how to do it in the correct order.

A door can be split into two main parts:

  1. The door frame
  2. And the door

When fitting a door, you first install the frame into the opening. Following this, you hang the door into the frame. This is done with hinges, which are attached to both the frame and the door.

But which part do you attach your hinges to first? Do you attach the hinges to the door frame first? Or should your hinges be attached to the door first?

do you put hinges on door or frame first

The correct way to hang a door, is to fit the hinges to your door first. Once the hinges are attached you can then hang the door, by attaching your hinges to the frame.

Fitting your door prior to marking hinges

There are several important things to do when hanging a door. One of the most important, is making sure your door fits perfectly to the frame. This will ensure a nice even gap all the way around and a really nice finish.

Therefore, before you even think about the hinges, you should fit the door to the frame.

In an ideal world, you would have fit the frame yourself, and hopefully you did a really good job. This will always make hanging the door easier, as there will be less planing required to make it fit.

On the other hand, you could be fitting into an old frame. In which case, you probably have a little more work to do.

Either way, your goal prior to fitting the hinges, is to fit the door, so it has a nice even gap all the way around. Ideally your gap should be around 2-3mm. You can check this with a packer, or personally I like to use a £1 coin. according to the Royal mint this is 2.8mm.

Once you are happy the door fits well and your gap is nice and even, you can start to mark out the hinges.

To do this, prop your door into the frame. You should have your 2mm gap at the top, held in place with some packers. The hinge side of your door should be wedged up tight with the frame. This should be packed from the other side.

At this point, your door should be wedged tightly into the frame and unable to move, with your 2mm gap at the top. This is the exact height you want your door to hang at.

Marking your hinges

The next step is to mark your hinges. The position of hinges is quite arbitrary, and different people prefer different spacing. Personally, I like 6 inches from the top and 8 inches from the bottom. If there are already existing doors, try to match their hinges.

Take your tape measure from the top of the door and mark the top of the upper hinge. Transfer the mark onto the door and the frame.

Next, measure from the bottom of the door and mark the bottom of your lower hinge. Ensuring to transfer the line across the door and the frame.

Finally, if your door is heavier and requires a middle hinge, mark this in the middle on both the door and the frame.

When doing your marking, you should make sure you are using a sharp pencil to ensure that your marks are perfect.

Now you can unwedge your door from the frame and properly mark your hinges, from the marks you added previously. Once hinges are marked on the door and the frame, you can pop the door back in and double check to make sure everything lines up. If your happy everything lines up perfect, you can start to cut out the hinges.

For the best results, you should cut your hinge into both the door and the frame. Once all your hinges are chopped out, you can fit the hinges to the door, by screwing them in place. Following this, you can fit your door into the frame.

If you did all your marking out correctly and made sure your hinges were cut neatly, your door should hang perfectly, with a 2mm gap at the top, and a 2mm gap on each side of the door.


As you can see, the correct way to fit your hinges, is fitting them to the door first. However, you should mark both the door and the frame at the same time. This will ensure they match up perfectly.

Hopefully, this article has given more context to why this is the best way to fit your hinges. As well as giving you an easy process you can follow, to achieve the neatest possible finish.