Soft-Close Cabinet Hinges Slamming/Not Working Properly

There is nothing worse than accidentally denting your wall because you pulled your kitchen cabinet door too hard. If this has happened to you, then you’ve likely considered installing some soft-close hinges on your doors. These nifty tools take over during the closing process and pull the doors shut. Plus, the mechanism also controls the closing speed, ensuring your doors close softly with minimal noise.

However, as incredible as these hinges are, they aren’t foolproof. They can often break, thus leading to the soft close hinge slamming your doors with a loud bang. This can not only give you a fright but also damage your furniture, especially if your cabinets have glass in them.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can fix your malfunctioning hinges. It will take a bit of skill and a lot of elbow grease, though. However, by the end of this article, you’ll get a complete, step-by-step guide on soft-close hinges and how to repair them on your own.

Why Do Soft-Close Hinges Malfunction?

Soft-close hinges may be a convenient tool, but they aren’t without their flaws. The hinges can often malfunction, causing your doors to slam themselves with a loud bang. If this is currently happening to you, here are all the reasons your hinges may not be working as intended.

Loose Screw

Anything that uses screws is bound to come loose at some point. Hinges are no exception. Repeated use can loosen the hinge screw, causing your door to hang low. Loose screws can make the hinge detach from the jamb, too. This causes damage to your other hinges as they now have to carry more weight.

Poor Alignment

Next to loose screws, the most common cause of malfunctioning hinges is poorly aligned hinges. Poor alignment refers to the two hinges being out of sync, where one is installed crookedly, or in the incorrect place. This, in turn, causes the doors to overlap, making them slam against each other when they close.

It goes without saying that poorly aligned hinges are an issue since your doors repeatedly slamming against each other will cause serious damage. They’re also annoying since the whole reason you installed soft-close hinges is to avoid any loud noises when shutting your cabinets.

Inadequate Setting

As established, soft close hinges contain a spring that takes over during the closing process and shuts the door quietly. The spring is manually calibrated so that it has enough tension to do the job. If the setting on the spring is too high, this can cause the hinge to malfunction and not close the door properly. Likewise, if the setting is too low, your door will slam shut of its own accord.

This is a fairly uncommon issue since the hinges are usually properly calibrated during the installation process. However, if you’ve installed the hinges incorrectly in the first place, then this is what may be causing your doors to slam.

Rust

Hinges can be made up of a variety of metals, including brass, stainless steel, copper, and pewter. While some of these are corrosion resistant, others are not — especially the cheaper varieties. Thus, they can easily rust over time, causing them to stiffen up and squeak every time you close the door.

This is even more annoying than having your doors shut with a bang. Plus, it can also cause your doors to malfunction and refuse to close at all. 

Build-Up of Dirt

The top of your shelf and your hinges have one thing in common. They can both collect dust. Dirt getting inside the hinge can cause it to start squeaking. If the buildup is particularly bad, it can make your hinges stiffen and stop closing altogether.

How to Fix Soft-Close Hinges

As you can see, there are a surprising number of reasons your soft-close hinge may not be working as intended. However, the real question now is, how do you fix it?

Overall, the solution will depend on the type of problem you’re experiencing. So, after you’ve pinned down the exact cause of your malfunctioning hinge, here are a few ways to resolve it.

1. Tightening the Screw

If a loose screw is causing your door to slam close, then the fix is easy — simply tighten the screw! First, find the appropriate screwdriver. You can use a Phillips screwdriver or a flathead, depending on the size and shape of your screw.

Once you’ve found the appropriate screwdriver, realign the door so that it’s in the correct position. Then carefully tighten the hinge, keeping in mind the appropriate settings. Once you take care of the loose screw, your soft-close hinge should be as good as new. If the problem still persists, check the other screws, as they too may have one loose.

2. Realign the Doors

In case your cabinet doors are slamming shut, consider that the problem may be poorly aligned hinges. First, check your doors when they’re closed to see if they’re on the same plane. If one is crooked or slightly higher than the other, then the culprit is a poorly aligned hinge.

To fix this, you may need to remove the door and reinstall the hinge correctly. Just be sure to have a measuring tape on hand, so that you can nail the proper alignment the second time around. 

3. Lower or Increase the Resistance

Sometimes, loose screws aren’t causing your hinge to malfunction —  rather, it’s poor calibration. If your door is slamming shut, then your hinge setting is too low and you need to increase it. On the opposite end, if your door won’t close at all, you’ve amped up the setting too high and you need to lower it.

Either way, you’ll have to locate the resistance adjuster on the hinge and fix it. This is usually a small spring with a plus and minus sign on it. Once you’ve located it, use the appropriate screwdriver to tighten or loosen the screw as needed. To make sure you’ve corrected the issue, try opening and closing the door a few times to see if the hinge works properly.

4. Lubricate the Hinge

A squeaky hinge is usually the first sign that your hinges have gone rusty. Fortunately, there is an easy way to correct this issue and prevent the hinge from degrading further. Simply apply some lubrication!

You can add either store-bought lubricant or grease to stop the hinge from stiffening. Make sure to apply a generous amount to every crease to guarantee the hinge will work properly.

5. Clean the Hinge

Rust isn’t the only thing that can get inside your hinge. Sometimes, the culprit behind the awful squeaks is a buildup of dirt. If this is the case, you will need to take off the hinge and submerge it in a pot of hot water. Keep it under until the dirt melts away and then dip it into some cold water to cool it.

As soon as you’re ready to screw the hinge back into place, be sure to pat it dry. Then, coat it in lubricant to prevent any rust from forming. Once you’re finished, carefully screw the hinge back into place and enjoy your new, silent door.

6. Replace the Hinge

So, you’ve examined your hinge from all sides and considered all the above problems and solutions. Yet, your hinge still keeps malfunctioning. In that case, it may be time to throw in the towel and simply buy a new one.

The kind of hinge you need will largely depend on what you’ll add it to. For example, spring-loaded butt hinges are perfect for doors that open both ways, while a pivot hinge is something you should look for if you’re dealing with a cabinet. Also, consider whether the hinge will go on the inside or the outside of the door, as well as the type of finish you want on yours.

After you’ve made your selection, it’s time for the setup. You’ll need a few things, such as a sturdy door stop, measuring tape, the new hinges, a screwdriver, or a drill. You may also want some sandpaper or paint in case anything gets damaged during installation.

Once everything is ready, you can begin the installation. First, open the door so the hinge is exposed. Then measure your door to make sure you have the appropriate hinge. Afterward, brace it against a sturdy door stopper to keep it from moving. Remove the hinges by unscrewing the leaves that hold them together. Once you pull them off the jamb, make sure the wood is still good.

If the wood is old or chipped, sand it down and apply a fresh coat of paint to spruce it up. As soon as the paint dries, drill the new hinges into the same place as the old ones, securing them with a pin. And voilà! You now have a pair of brand new hinges you no longer have to worry about!

Self-Closing vs. Soft-Close: What’s the Difference

Interior design relies a lot on many different types of hinges when producing furniture. However, while most of these types fit different purposes, manufacturers can outfit almost all with a unique feature — the ability to self-close.

This is where self-closing hinges come onto the scene. This mechanical bearing has a special spring built into it. So, when you pull open the door, the spring takes over at some point and prevents the door from opening too far.

It also then pulls the door closed with a tap. These hinges are incredibly convenient since they ensure your furniture won’t get damaged if you yank it a bit too hard. Likewise, they ensure you can close your cabinets with even the slightest push. However, their only downside is that they can be noisy. Plus, if you don’t calibrate them correctly, they could end up slamming the door too hard and damaging it.

This is why soft-close hinges are the superior option. Like self-close hinges, this tool comes with a spring that controls the shut function of your door. But, the spring is much thicker, allowing it to slow down the closing time and absorb the shock. As a result, your door will shut as gently and as quietly as possible.

That way, you get to extend the life of your cabinets and enjoy some peace and quiet in your home. Likewise, if you have any kids around, you don’t have to worry about any cabinets slamming on their fingers, as the hinge stops that from happening.

Final Thoughts

Soft-close hinges are every homeowner’s best friend. These nifty tools help extend the shelf-life of your cabinets, and help you preserve the integrity of your furniture. Plus, they also give you peace and quiet by preventing your doors from closing with a loud bang.

However, sometimes, these hinges can malfunction, which can lead to soft-close hinges slamming your doors shut. If this is happening to you, don’t worry. There are many causes of this issue and even more easy DIY solutions to get your hinge working as intended!

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