What Is a Rising Butt Hinge?

B. Turner

A rising butt hinge is a hardware device used to lift a door slightly as it opens, then lower the door back down as it closes. This type of hinge provides additional clearance at the base of the door for thick carpeting, weatherstripping, or uneven floor surfaces. When the door is closed, rising butt hinges look just like standard butt hinges. They come in a variety of finishes and sizes to match any type of door design.

Butt hinges are the traditional type of hinge commonly seen on doors.
Butt hinges are the traditional type of hinge commonly seen on doors.

Standard butt hinges feature a pair of interlocking metal plates joined by a central metal pin. The area where the interlocking teeth of each plate wrap around the pin is called the butt. When a door with standard butt hinges is opened, it remains on exactly the same horizontal plane, and does not lift or lower. In areas with thick flooring or other obstructions, doors with butt hinges can scrape across the floor, and may not open fully.

Rising butt hinges often look like conventional hinges.
Rising butt hinges often look like conventional hinges.

A rising butt hinge features a similar design, but each of the two metal plates is formed into a circular pattern at one end, which wraps around the pin. The edges of the plates are crafted into a spiral design, where the two spiraled edges line up to completely cover the pin without overlapping. As the door is opened, these two spiraled sections push against one another, forcing the door to rise slightly, and lifting the uppermost of the two plates higher up on the pin. When the door is closed, the top plates spirals back down to lower the door back in place. Due to the design of a rising butt hinge, doors equipped with these hinges will automatically close once they are opened, as the spiraling sections apply force to one another.

Doors are often equipped with a rising butt hinge in areas with thick carpeting, such as a shag or deep pile. With standard hinges, the door would drag along the carpet, and may be very difficult to open. Doors that drag on the carpet can cause damage, resulting in frequent replacement of the rugs in this area. A rising butt hinge eliminates drag, and helps to extend the life of the carpet while allowing the door to function as intended. These hinges are also useful on doors with weatherstripping or thresholds that can impact opening and closing.

Rising butt hinges provide additional benefits beyond the extra clearance they offer at the base of the door. Given that they automatically lift the door higher up on the hinge pin, these hinges make it easier to remove the door from the opening as needed with less physical effort. The design of these hinges also causes an open door to automatically close under its own weight, which can be useful for exterior or some secure openings.

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