Widen a Doorway for Under $50

Looking for an economical way to widen a doorway? This may interest you.

Full clearance opening of offset hinge

One of the consequences of standard building construction is that doors protrude into the opening and restrict the door opening, typically by about 2 inches. The reason for this is because the cheapest hinge is a “Butt Hinge”, and it looks neat and tidy. It consists of two rectangular leaves, one mortised into the door jam and the other into the door edge. When the door is closed, the faces of the leaves meet, with only the pin showing. It’s simple and effective, but not the best use of space.

Thankfully there’s a simple drop-in replacement called an “Offset Hinge”. It mounts in exactly the same way as the Butt Hinge, but the pin is offset by about 2 inches. When the door is open 90 degrees, the offset pivot causes the door to open completely clear of the door opening.

Installation is relatively simple, since the mounting is usually precisely the same as the standard Butt Hinge, so it can be as simple as a direct exchange of the two hinges. Keep in mind, doors can be fussy, and if you’re not handy, find someone to has hung doors before. We can take care of it for you, if there’s not a handyman in the family.

Inside view of offset hinge

Two inches may not sound like a lot, but it makes a surprisingly big difference to a small door opening. For those aging in place, or anyone with mobility challenges, 2 inches can mean the difference between getting a walker through a door opening. Considering widening a doorway by cutting a wider opening will cost at few hundred dollars for even the simplest of doors, it’s a bargain to throw on a couple Offset Hinges.

A pair of hinges costs between $20-30 and available online. These hinges are not commonly stocked at common building stores, but if you have a specialty hardware shop nearby, they may carry stock.

A nice little example of innovative engineering at work.

Contact us with any questions. Good luck!