A double door hinge is the right choice if you would like a door that swings open in either direction. These hinges are known as “saloon door hinges” or “double acting spring hinges”.
A door with these hinges properly installed will swing 180 degrees in either direction. The spring action in the barrel hinge brings the door back to the center and closed position. Before installing these hinges, be sure the door can swing without obstruction in both directions.
Step 1 - Choose the Hinges
The double door hinge comes in a variety of finishes. Choose the finish of polished brass, satin brass, zinc chromate, oil-rubbed bronze or other finish that matches or complements the other hardware in the room.
You’ll also need to decide whether you need two or three hinges. Manufacturers of the double door hinges recommend two for lightweight or small doors and three for heavier doors.
There are double door hinges made specifically for light duty, louvered doors such as the “saloon” style door often placed between kitchen and dining room.
Some hinges include a “lock open” feature, in case you need the doors to stay open for an extended time.
Step Two - Mortise or Not?
You’ll next need to decide if you want to mortise the hinges into the door or not. A mortised hinge or butt hinge is placed in a mortise, or slight indent, in the door, which allows the hinge to lie flush with the door. Generally, the hinges are mortised into the frame.
Mortising gives a professional look to the door and eliminates the need for clearance gaps between the door and the frame. The gap varies according to the hinge size. It runs from a 0.25 inch to a 0.35 inch gap; the larger the hinge, the greater the necessary gap.
To create a mortise, you can use a chisel and hammer, although this approach often leads to several adjustments and the use of wood putty to fix mistakes.
A router with a mortise bit creates smooth and professional mortises easily. Using a template makes the task even easier.
Step Three - Install Hinges on Door
Place the Hinges on the door in the mortises, if you chose that route, or on the door at intervals, if you are not using mortises.
The recommendation from professionals is that if you use a third hinge. The third hinge should be placed near the top hinge so that it bears as much of the load of the door as possible. This should allow for smooth operation for many years, without strain or sagging on the top hinge.
Use wood screws, most often included with the hinges when they are purchased, to install the hinges to the door.
Step Four - Fasten Hinges to the Wall
The final step in the double door hinge installation is to attach the hinges to the door. You will need a second person to complete this step of the process.
Place the hinges into the mortises and lightly screw in the top hinge with one screw. Put one screw into the bottom hinge next. You can then finish the installation process without the help of the additional person.
Put the screws in each of the hinges and tighten completely.