Installation Situations >Installing Barn Door Strap Hinges

The same steps are involved in installing a big door, a small door or a shutter.

In this example the original hinges on a barn built eight years ago were replaced with Brandywine strap hinges.  The original hinges had begun to fail. There was some rust evident, the too-small fasteners had worked loose, water had gotten into the fastener holes and weakened the wood.  The fasteners loosened and allowed the doors to sag and drag.  The doors touched the ground and water wicked up into the bottom of the doors and the wood was rotting.  It’s my sister & brother-in-law’s barn, a post and beam package from  .  So I took the hardware down to Florida and helped with the install.

Before

After

Big visual improvement – now it really looks like a barn.  But look closely at the gap between the tops of the door and barn on before & after images. , The straight lines on the “After” reflect the structural and functional improvement to the doors.

The barn had been painted red and recently re-painted white, so you’ll see the red paint remaining under where the original hardware was removed.  Makes it a little tough to see the details, but you should be able to follow along.

The key to installing a door or shutter is in properly positioning it in the opening and securing it in that position during the installation.  In this case, we used door shims to locate the doors in the best position.  The strap hinge hardware is actually quite easy to install – Andy was able to do it by himself after the first couple of doors, but it’s always nice to have some spare hands or paws around with such a project.

The key to functionality & durability lies in the weight of the hardware and, more importantly, the fasteners.  All of the weight of the doors is carried by the pintle fasteners and the first fastener in the strap hinge.  The hardware bears the weight of the door, but the fasteners bear the stress of transferring the weight of the door to the structure.  Here at Brandywine we provide the heaviest fasteners with the most aggressive threads possible.  Standard on barn hinges are ¼” lag screws of sufficient length to anchor firmly into the structure & door or shutter.  In this case, we used 1 ½” long lag screws.  This length insured that the hinge fasteners went through the doors and into the battens, securing the hinges and pulling the door elements together.  The same length screws on the pintles provided enough length to go through the facing boards and into the heavy beams behind.  No worries up to about 2”, over that you have to be concerned with the lag screws breaking.  Most fasteners are made offshore and the material can be impossibly weak.  You can torque the head right off of 3” long lag screws quite easily.  If you need longer screws or if you’re screwing into a tough material like oak, you’ll want to drill a full sized pilot hole (3/16” dia) to almost the full length of the lag screw.  A little lubricant like bar soap rubbed on the threads doesn’t hurt either.

In this example, existing hardware had to be removed.  Prior to loosening the old hardware, the doors were shimmed to keep them in their current position.  Door frame shims from any big box supply or hardware store work best.  You may need some heavier shims like 2 x 4’s for heavier doors or those with a large gap or swinging over some softer substrate than the concrete with which we had to work, but you’ll still want the frame shims for the final positioning.

This is the second of a pair of doors in this opening.  Shims are driven in at the bottom of the door to maintain its position.

The door side of the hinges are loosened at top and bottom.  This allows the door to adjust up/down while the hinges keep the door from falling out.

Additional shims are added as need to bring the door to plumb.

Verify that the door is vertical, re-adjust shims if needed.

Since this is the second of two doors, the hinges need to line up.  Determine level based on first set of hinges.

Mark location the level for the bottom of the bean for the top hinge on the second of the pair of doors.

Determine the left-right location of the hinge.

The hinge barrel should fall on the seam between door & jamb.

While holding the left-right position of the hinge, pre-drill the fastener hole in the hinge “bean”.  We used 3/16” drill for the ¼” lag screw fasteners, 1/8 would have worked as well.

When installing Brandywine Strap hinges be careful to avoid over-tightening the fasteners.  Too-tight will “scrub” the finish from the hinges and provide a place for rust to start.  Snug is tight enough.

Once the first fastener is installed, verify the hinge is level.

Pre-drill second fastener hole.

Install second fastener in the hinge.

Slide the pintle onto the hinge & eyeball to horizontal.

Pre-drill & install two fasteners in the pintle.

Only use two fasteners in the hinge & pintle.  If you need to make adjustments you’ll still have fresh wood under the unused holes.

Measure the distance between the fist pair of hinges.

Mark the other door to maintain distance between second pair.

Center the pintle on the seam between door and jamb at determined height.

Pre-drill and install two fasteners in the pintle.

Level the second hinge and install fastener in bean.

After second fastener is installed, remove the shims.

Verify the door remains level with shims removed – your eyeball tells all.

Verify that the doors swing properly.  If okay, install balance of fasteners.   If adjustment required; re-shim doors, remove hinge fasteners, adjust and install fasteners into unused holes on hinges and verify all is correct.

Step back and admire your work for the first time, happy in the knowledge that nobody will ever have to replace your hinges again…

Original fastener holes in the barn were drilled out to 1/4”.  1” long dowels 1/4” in diameter were driven into the holes then white paint was applied over the old red. 

These are 2” wide by 26” long #701 notched hammered bevel hinges with a #305 “butterfly” pintle – makes a nice straight line.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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