Out-Swinging Exterior Doors

Ventucky Red

Pattern Altitude
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
2,079
Display Name

Display name:
Jon
Looking to replace some exterior doors and it was mentioned that I may want to think about using exterior swinging doors, that is doors that will swing to the outside for various reasons... one that I never thought about and that is making egress easier should there be an emergency.

These are not the main entry door, more so patio and garage safety door (code requires a door to the exterior on the back wall of the garage for egress).

Anyone here done this?
 
The back door to my house opens outward. Inside is the laundry room, and it is kind of smallish so opening outward makes it a little easier to get around the washer/dryer with both arms loaded with grocery bags.
 
In Europe, almost all the exterior doors swing out. In the US the tradition is to have the front door open inward.

I have 17 doors (not counting the two sliders) in my house It's a pretty equal split (9 in, 8 out).

Of course if you are going to change it, you're going to have to redo the jams.
 
Outward opening means you don't need a swing radius inside your home. That's a win.

Says he who suffers from an inward swinging double door in his basement workshop.
 
out swing doors can help with furniture placement
 
Outward opening means you don't need a swing radius inside your home. That's a win.

Says he who suffers from an inward swinging double door in his basement workshop.
That gets my vote.

I thought about replacing the rear slider with swinging doors, but I found a good quality slider and am glad I didn't. The only real reason I can think to go with double swingers is if you need the width to move furniture and appliances in and out of, but most are engineered to be delivered through standard doors.
 
The advantage to inward swinging external doors is the hinges and strike are secured inside of the building. An outward swinging door has easier access to the hinges and strike, but there are solutions to improve security.
 
Looking to replace some exterior doors and it was mentioned that I may want to think about using exterior swinging doors, that is doors that will swing to the outside for various reasons... one that I never thought about and that is making egress easier should there be an emergency.

These are not the main entry door, more so patio and garage safety door (code requires a door to the exterior on the back wall of the garage for egress).

Anyone here done this?
Yes, I have a patio and half bath doors that are outward swing on my current home. My last home had 4 sets of French doors from the main living room and masters bedroom that opened outward. No problems. As @midwestpa24 pointed out, security hinges (the hinge pin cannot be driven out) should be used.
 
Outward opening doors with crash bars are a requirement in some or most areas where there are large groups of people, so they don't get jammed up during an emergency. But I don't know if that translates to improving safety in a home at all. If you have a group of 3, the only time they're going to be stuck trying to get out of a door is if one is named Larry and another Moe.

Where it snows a lot, outward opening doors aren't always exit friendly. They're also usually really easy to jam from the outside, with wedges or objects or debris. Even a poor job by a delivery person could stop a child or older person from getting out if they put something heavy against the door.
 
Looking to replace some exterior doors and it was mentioned that I may want to think about using exterior swinging doors, ….

Anyone here done this?
I’ve replaced doors, but never went from inside to outside swing or vice versa, simply because it’s more work. What I’ve found when I open up the builder’s work is that there’s usually an underlying structural issue that needs addressing as well. I’d rather just he ignorant than not fix it while I’m in there.

If the budget and space allows for it, I’d likely have an exterior garage door open outwards just so I can have the swing space inside the garage. I also wouldn’t be doing this unless it absolutely, positively had to be done.
 
Hmm. This got me thinkin’ ‘bout changing the swing on a door I have. Would solve a problem and I hadn’t thought about swapping the swing before.
 
An outward swinging door has easier access to the hinges and strike,
My outward swinging door only has 1 hinge.

There is a cover over the strike.

By the time someone pries the cover off, the alarm would be going off.
 
If there are stair outside the door, I highly recommend not opening outwards. Whatever safety you gain from easy egress in an emergency will be cancelled by the safety lost in a door opening into stairs.

My grandparents had an apartment / house above their bar in NJ, built a long, long time ago. To get to the house, you went up a long stair to the door that opened into the stairwell. More than one person was knocked over by the door, but fortunately over the years nobody was ever killed.
 
My outward swinging door only has 1 hinge.

There is a cover over the strike.

By the time someone pries the cover off, the alarm would be going off.

The advantage to inward swinging external doors is the hinges and strike are secured inside of the building. An outward swinging door has easier access to the hinges and strike, but there are solutions to improve security.

As I said, there are solutions but your standard off the shelf residential door won't have them unless you add them. Just something to keep in mind.

Trust me, I'm a firefighter. There isn't a door we aren't getting into. It just might be very noisy and not able to be closed when we are done! :cool:
 
I had an outward swinging door on a home we had some years back. I drilled a small blind hole in the hinges through the pin. I drove a steel pin to prevent the hinge pin from being withdrawn.
 
Outward opening means you don't need a swing radius inside your home. That's a win.

Says he who suffers from an inward swinging double door in his basement workshop.

out swing doors can help with furniture placement

When we were getting ready to remodel our main floor last year, we had a friend who has an eye for interior design come check out our ideas. One thing she suggested that I hadn't thought of was swapping the current in-swinging French doors with out-swinging doors to provide more room in the living room. We ended up not doing it (scope creep), but I'm keeping an eye on it for future enhancement.
 
Isn't an outward swinging door with 2 or 3 exposed hinges really jut an inward swinging door mounted backwards.??
 
Isn't an outward swinging door with 2 or 3 exposed hinges really jut an inward swinging door mounted backwards.??
I have seen that done. It doesn't work very well. Weather sealing doesn't work, security is non-existent.

I put outswinging doors in my current house due to 12" thick walls. Out swing doors are NOT common, try to find one in stock anywhere, or even a company to make one. There are manufacturers, but not everyone will make one.
 
Loewen for one, makes outswing French Doors
 
It has been pointed out that the hinges are a point of vulnerability on outswing doors. But most burglars won't have a set of tools or even a screwdriver to push the pins out of a hinge, so that's not a major concern for me. The vulnerability of inswing doors is being kicked in, which is pretty easy to do unless you put a lot of effort into reinforcing the strike plate(s). Outswing doors don't have that vulnerability.
 
I can’t see how that would work with a storm door, which is kind of a necessity where I live… OK, almost any place I’ve ever lived…
 
Here in Ky outswing is required for commercial for emergency egress.As was mentioned they are harder to keep secure and also are more prone to leakage if not installed correctly beings wind and water has direct contact with the weather strip.On an in swing the weather strip is behind the jam so is slightly more protected
 
The vulnerability of inswing doors is being kicked in,
Which is why a lot of remote cabins use out swing doors, so the bears hopefully can't get in.

And I am talking about DIY remote cabins where the builder builds their own doors out of the local tree population, not mega million dollar ''cabins'' you get to by driving the never been off pavement SUV on a paved road type dwelling.
 
Residential, most are in swing,
Commercial, for egress, outswing

There are hinges that are called NRP, Non removable pin,
The is a set screw that holds it in, when the door is closed, it covers the set screw up.
 
I have one on the back door of the house, has a terribly small landing inside going to downstairs or to the right to go in kitchen- so it worked really well swinging it out - so I’d say scenario based but nothing wrong w em at all.
 
Had on on the house when I bought it, leading out of the garage. Had to watch the wind at times or it would slam it open.
Changed it out promptly due to exposed hinges.
 
Every house I owned rented have had doors the open inward. most of the because there was also a screen/storm door. But even on single entry doors they all opened inward.
 
Another consideration. Today's bad guys dress like utility/delivery/construction/etc workers and knock brazenly on the door. An out-swinging door completely exposes you. They can grab the edge of the door and will have good leverage. No slamming an out-swinging door quickly. No hiding behind it, or if metal core, using it for cover. There are easy ways to secure/reinforce an in-swinging door and jamb.

Do any local building codes specify in-swinging only for residential construction?
 
Do any local building codes specify in-swinging only for residential construction?

None of the codes here specify or have a requirement... Needless to say the first guy to give us an estimate wasn't being truthful.
 
Back
Top