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Is it better to paint door hinges when painting a door and frame or should I remove them so they keep a metal look?

I've hung a new door with new hinges and am about to paint. Most of the doors I see have painted hinges but is this just because someone hasn't gone to the effort of removing the door to paint it or because it's considered better?

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

Painting hinges is not a question of being better or worse. Depending on the motif, hinge finishes are often selected to complement the door or trim color. For example: brass metal finish often used with tan trim/doors or natural wood finishes. Chrome or brushed nickel hardware is popular with white trim/doors. Hinges and passage sets come in a lot of different metal and colored finishes.

If you do decide to paint the hinges, resist the temptation to simply paint them in place. It is difficult to evenly paint all the surfaces of a hinge and not fill the slots of the screws. When painted in place, the paint will often chip if it dries and bridges the joints of the hinge. It tends to chip when you first open/close the door. I really try to avoid painting hinges, but when I paint new, previously unpainted hinges, I remove them, clean them well, spray paint them, screws included.

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Typically you see painted hinges because the people painting were in a hurry and it wasn't worth the trouble to mask or remove the hinges before painting, rather than as an aesthetic decision. Aesthetically, hinges can enhance the look of the room as shirlock homes explained well in his answer.

Keep in mind the type of paint usually used for walls and doors is not ideally suited to painting metal hinges. If you are going to paint the hinges, it is better to use a paint that adheres well to metal, so you avoid chipping and peeling fresh paint.

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For a new door, I would take off the hinges, paint and then put them back on. I even put masking tape where the hingles mount to the door and frame, so they don't get shimmed out with layers of paint. I like the look of brass hingles. I do not like when someone has slopped paint on - especially in place.

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