Door Swing FAQs1. What Does Door Swing Mean?
2. What is the Difference Between Door Swing and Door Handing?
3. How to Determine Door Swing
4. What is a Right Swing Door?
5. What is a Left Swing Door?
6. Which Way Should a Door Swing?
7. Do Building Codes Specify Which Way a Door Should Swing?
8. Which is Better: Inswing or Outswing?
9. Should Patio Doors Swing In or Out?
10. Should Bedroom Doors Swing In or Out?
11. How to Reverse Door Swing?
12. What Type of Door Can Swing Both Ways?
When purchasing and installing a new door, the last thing you want is to find out the hinges are on the wrong side or that the door swings into an awkward place. You can avoid this hassle by knowing which way your door needs to swing before purchasing a new door.
Frequently Asked Questions About Door Swing
1. What Does Door Swing Mean?Door swing refers to the direction the door swings when opened. In other words, door swing determines whether a door swings inward or outward.
It’s standard for exterior doors to swing inward when standing outside and for interior doors to swing into a bedroom when standing outside the room. In both of these cases, the door is labeled as inswing.
If you were to pull an exterior door open, meaning it would swing towards you when opened, it would be called an outswing door. Similarly, if you’re facing an interior door from a hallway and have to pull the door open with the door swing coming towards you, it would be labeled outswing.
2. What is the Difference Between Door Swing and Door HandlingKnowing the difference between door swing and door handling can be confusing, as the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. In truth, they are quite similar, but do contain key differences.
Door handling refers to if the door swing is left-handed or right-handed. It’s important to understand door handling because it impacts where the hinges are. If you have a double door, door handling also affects where the astragals are placed.
In this way, to understand door handling, you need to understand door swing, as they are closely related, and both need to be understood when ordering a new door. For example, if you have a door that swings inward and is left-handed, it would be termed a left hand inswing door.
3. How to Determine Door SwingTo properly determine a door swing, you always want to be facing the exterior side of the door, whether it’s an interior or exterior door.
With an exterior door, stand outside and face the door. If you have to push the door open and it swings into the building away from you, the door is inswing. In other words, it’s an inward swinging door. If the exterior door has to be pulled to open and swings towards you, it’s an outswing or outward swinging door.
To determine the swing direction of an interior door, face the door from outside the room. When outside the room, you face the exterior side of the door, which would cause the other side of the door (that which faces the room) to be the interior side of the door.
From this position, open the interior door and see which way it swings. The same guidelines apply to interior door swings as exterior door swings. So, if it swings in towards the bedroom and away from you, it would be an inswing or inward swinging door.
4. What is a Right Swing Door?A right swing door is another way to describe a right hand door swing or a right-handed door. There are two ways to determine if your door is a right hand swing door.
The first method is to stand with your back to the exterior side of the door. If the handle is to your right and the door swings to your right, it’s a right hand swing door.
Another way is to open the door and stand with your back to the hinges. If the door swings to the right from where you stand, it’s a right-hand door.
5. What is a Left Swing Door?A left swing door is another way to describe a left-handed door or left hand swing door. As with determining a right swing door, there are two ways to find out if you have a left swing door.
The first method is to stand with your back to the exterior side of the door. If the handle is to your left and the door swings to your left, it’s a left hand door swing.
The other option is to open the door and stand with your back to the hinges. If the door swings to the left from where you stand, it’s a left hand swing door.
6. Which Way Should a Door Swing?In general, it’s standard for door swing direction to be inswing, whether it’s an external or interior door. For an interior door that’s in a hallway, such as a bedroom door, the door swings into the bedroom to avoid disrupting the heavily-trafficked hallway.
As you can see, inward swinging doors are less likely to disrupt the flow of the household or block furniture or other objects. Because of this, most household and building doors will swing inward rather than swing outward.
There are exceptions to this common rule of thumb. For example, think of a small space, such as a closet or pantry door. You want the maximum amount of space available, so the door would swing outward instead of inward.
To determine which direction your door should swing, examine the space in question. If it were to swing outward, would it affect a passageway or come in conflict with any other doors/objects? If it were to swing inward, would it affect the space inside or hit an immovable object, such as a toilet or wall?
There are other things to consider when determining door swing direction. Outward swinging doors are common in senior citizen homes as a safety concern. For instance, if a person were to fall and was unable to get up, their body may resist an inward swinging bathroom door from being opened, preventing them from receiving help.
In places that experience extreme weather conditions and frequent flooding, such as Florida, it’s becoming more common to install exterior doors as outward swinging, rather than inward swinging, to prevent wind or water from pushing the door open.
Similarly, it is now becoming common practice to have garage-to-home doors installed as outward swinging to protect the home from a potential explosion or fire in the garage.
As you can see, door swing direction depends on the building structure, floor plan, and the needs of the building inhabitants. For this reason, the door swing direction is best determined by the homeowners or skilled contractors, and should be done with care and attention to detail.
7. Do Building Codes Specify Which Way a Door Should Swing?No, the International Residential Code does not specify which direction a door should swing. However, there may be local codes in place that you’ll want to check. Commercial buildings also have different codes that could affect door swing directions for a commercial door.
Standard practice is for most doors to be inward swinging doors. Though, as mentioned, there are a few exceptions to this commonality, such as structural design, safety concerns, and home protection.
8. Which is Better: Inswing or Outswing?In most cases, inswing doors are better, as they are less likely to restrict passageways or objects in the home. However, the door swing direction depends on several factors that should be evaluated on a case by case basis.
First, you’ll want to study the space and entryway in question. Is this an interior or exterior door? If you’re planning on purchasing an exterior door, such as an entry door, you might want to check local building codes to see if there are any regulations on door swing direction. This is more likely in places that experience severe weather. In those places, it is common to have exterior doors swing outward to prevent heavy winds or water from pushing the door open.
That said, there is a risk that comes with outward swinging doors, as the door hinge is on the exterior of the building. With this placement of the hinges, it’s easier for someone to break into the home. If you need to have an outward swinging exterior door, be sure to install a tamper-proof hinge.
For interior doors, it’s standard for them to swing inward. However, there are a few exceptions, such as pantries or small bathrooms. Plus, if an older resident lives in the home, an inward swinging bathroom door could pose a safety concern if they were to fall down and not get back up.
Inswing doors and outswing doors both have their benefits and downsides. The choice between the two largely depends on the household and floorplan in question.
9. Should Patio Doors Swing In or Out?Deciding whether patio doors should swing outward or inward can depend on a few things. First, you’ll want to consider the space where the patio door will be installed. Is it a small, cramped, and/or highly trafficked area? If so, you’ll probably want to have an outward swinging door.
An outward swinging door is also recommended for places that experience severe weather, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding. When a patio door is installed as an outward swinging door, harsh elements are unable to push the door open.
The downside of an outward swinging patio door is that the door hinge is exposed to the exterior of the building, which poses a break-in risk. Luckily, most hinges are designed to be theft-resistant.
10. Should Bedroom Doors Swing In or Out?The common standard is for bedroom doors to swing inward. There are exceptions, such as a unique floor plan or structural conflict. Because of this, you’ll want to evaluate the space in question, such as if the door swings inward, would it block or hit an immovable object? On the other hand, if the door swings outward, would it obstruct a high-trafficked hallway or common area?
11. How to Reverse Door SwingReversing door swing requires a bit of handy work. The difficulty level for this task also depends on the type of door in question.
We recommend contacting a contractor to do it for you or researching DIY guides for how to properly reverse door swing. Every door will be different, depending on which type of door it is. For example, interior doors, such as a bedroom door, are fairly simple to change swing direction, entry doors, on the other hand, can be a bit more complicated.
12. What Type of Door Can Swing Both Ways?If you can’t decide whether you want your doors to swing inward or outward, you might want to consider a pivot door. These modern and increasingly popular doors can swing inward or outward, making them highly accommodating and versatile.
Not only are pivot doors easy to use and structurally sound, but they also add character to the home. Consider purchasing a pivot door as your next entry door if you’re looking for something new, classy, and distinctive.
Ready to Take the Next Step in Designing Your Dream Door?Now that you know the ins and outs of door swing and door handling, you can be confident in your future door purchase. Know which door swing and door handing you need helps you avoid the hassle of ordering a door that swings in the wrong direction or has the hinges on the wrong side, saving the headache of processing a return or trying to change it yourself.
At Rustica, we offer a large selection of doors, including French doors, pivot doors, sliding barn doors, and much more. We’re confident you’ll find your dream door with what we have to offer. So, what are you waiting for? Check out our amazing selection of designer doors today!