Used for swinging doors, strap hinges are among the most common applications for specialty door hardware.  With their thick steel gauges, strap hinges have higher weight capacities and tighter tolerances than standard door hinges. Designed for heavy-duty application, strap hinges are usually used for doors and gates, though they’re also associated with steamer trunks and sometimes cupboards or chests.  They consist of a post plate and a gate or door plate.  While the post plate is rectangular, the door plate is triangular and may have a decorative shape at the end.  Decorative strap hinges can improve the appearance of exterior doors on homes, barns, and sheds, so it’s important to select the right design and type for your project.   Also consider whether hinges need to be able to withstand weather elements and corrosion, as many hinges are made especially durable for this purpose.

Select the Right Size.  Especially large strap hinges are designed for heavy exterior doors and gates.  Smaller strap hinges are intended for lightweight gates and are mostly for decoration.  Strap hinges come in several thicknesses- usually 1/4″, 5/16″, 3/8″, or 1/2″- and lengths of 18″, 24″, or 36″.  Also consider the door frame construction and door size.

Think About Weight Capacity.  Look on the package or consult the installation manual to determine load limits for decorative strap hinges.  Depending on size and thickness, hinges can accommodate doors weighing between at least 400 and 5,000 lbs.  If a door exceeds the load capacity a strap hinge is designed for, the door may break free from the jamb.  If you’re applying strap hinges to an especially heavy door, you’ll need to use multiple hinges to compensate for the extra weight.  When installing, make sure strap hinges are evenly spaced along the length of the door.

Select Hinges for the Right Purpose.  Some strap hinges, such as dummy hinges, are merely decorative, while others are intended only for gates or doors, but not both.  Installing the right type of hinge will either be ineffective or will appear out-of-proportion for your door.

Consider Swinging Direction.  Doors usually open in one direction, while gates can be designed to open in one or both directions.  For bi-directional swinging, look for a strap hinge with a pintle connection.  That way, if you’re moving something large through an opening or doorway, you can easily remove the gate or door.

Consider Alignment.  Think about how you want the post plate and door plate to line up.  They can either be aligned in a straight line or offset, whichever looks better.

Once installed, decorative strap hinges can achieve a historic look or custom-designed addition to homes and other structures for enhanced style.