How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
Should a front door open in or out?
Saturday, June 30, 2018
Most front entry doors in our area swing inward, and the justification for it used to be that outswing doors are unsafe because their hinge pins are exposed outside, where they are easily popped out by a burglar to get into the house. But that argument doesn’t fly anymore. Most prehung entry door manufacturers now install special security hinges on their outswing doors that have non-removable pins. You must open the door and unscrew one side of each hinge to remove the door. Another type of security pin is only removable when then door is open.
So outswing exterior doors have become more acceptable. But there are pros and cons for both types of door swing. Here’s our list:
- More resistant to high wind and driving rain in a storm. The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) recommends outswing exterior doors as more hurricane resistant because “positive pressures actually push them more tightly against the door seals, which helps reduce water intrusion, and because it is much easier to achieve impact resistance from an outward swinging door.” Most exterior doors installed in South Florida’s high-velocity hurricane wind zone are outswing for this reason. Outswing doors are typically also more water-resistant in a hurricane.
- Not easily forced open from the exterior.
- Not practical in cold regions, where a heavy snowfall could prevent opening the door.
- Not what most people are used to.
- The customary swing for a front door.
- Enables installation of a storm or screen door.
- Easier for a burglar to force the door open with a blunt impact. But this also makes it faster for fire/emergency services to knock the door down when necessary.
- Less weather resistant than an outswing door.
Exterior doors for commercial buildings always swing outward, with just a few allowed exceptions, because the door must open in the direction of the flow of people exiting the building in an emergency. You will likely have your choice of which way to swing your residential front door, but we recommend checking with the county or municipal building department for any special local restrictions before making your decision. The available floor or landing area for the door swing is another consideration.
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To learn more about doors and windows, see these other blog posts:
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