Out-swing exterior door?

donaldsgJuly 16, 2010

We are adding on a small bump out to our kitchen and will need to add a new exterior door to the backyard. We are thinking about an out-swing door because it will maximize usable floor space in the kitchen.

Is there any reason not to have an out-swing door to the outside?

It will open onto a 4 ft deep x 7 ft wide landing at the top of two steps and be sheltered by a porch roof.

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I guess it really depends on where you are. Where we are, there is snow and that's really the best reason for having an in-swing door. We'll never be trapped during a snowstorm because the snow has piled up. Not sure if this is the official reason, but our shed has an out-swing door and is basically not usable in the winter, even though it has a porch roof.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 11:33AM
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Yes, I have been wondering about that - we are in the NE and once had 3 ft of snow in one day. Our current porch does not fill up with snow because it is deep and walled on three sides, so snow rarely makes it to the storm door even though the winter winds blow straight into the open side. But the new entrance will be oriented differently and more exposed. The door will be near a corner L with two house walls, one side railing and the other open stairs. The porch roof will overhang 3 ft so that will give some shelter. However, the prevailing winds will blow towards the side with the rail, so I can see there might be some snow pile up there.

I've been reading in other threads that some building codes do not allow an exterior door to swing out. Now that I think about it that cannot be the case in our town because our neighbour has an out-swing back door and I know he got permits for his addition. I should ask them if snow is an issue. Mind you, they don't go in and out of their back door much in the winter - they tend to use their side door- whereas we often park in the back of our house and use the back door year round.

There will be room in the kitchen for the door to swing in, but I wanted to have the option of a larger table and chairs and didn't want the door area to feel cramped. Our current mud-room has a wide door that opens in and when I'm going in and out with the kids they have to step almost all the way out of the room or sidle around the door and it is a constant annoyance. I like the idea of just opening the door to the outside when they are all crowded around me. And I also like the idea of having the door wide open to the outside in the summer without it taking up space in the kitchen. Would an in-swing door be able to swing all the way back 180 degrees and sit against a wall? I guess the big advantage of the in-swing is we could have one of those retractable screen thingies. I hate storm doors!! I grew up in the UK and I find opening two doors is too much of a PITA, especially with one dog in the house and we're likely to get a new puppy in the next few years, too.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 3:03PM
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The other reason people mention is that with an out-swing door, the hinges are on the outside, so conceivably someone could break into your house by pulling the pins from the hinges and removing the door.

Truthfully, though, if someone really wanted to get in they could break a window as well, so I don't know that that's a reason not to do it.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 3:20PM
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The only code restriction about door swings is that doors cannot swing over steps inside or outside.

Out swing doors should have security pin/stud hinges that have short horizontal pins that engage a hole in the other leaf of the hinge when the door is closed. Regular hinges can be drilled and have a security stud/pin screw added.

The biggest problem with out-swing doors is the inability to add an exterior screen door although it is possible to use a side coiling screen inside. The hardware is intended to be on the outside so it's not very elegant.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 4:19PM
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After considering the advice here (and in other related threads) I think I'm giving up the out-swing door plan. I checked the pricing again and it will actually save us $600 if we go with the in-swing. The snow issue and being able to have a screen on the outside are the influencing factors. And hubby pointed out that coming in from outside with the kids crowded around and opening the door towards you is just as much a pain as dealing with it inside (what we really need is a door that swings both ways so we can always just push it away from us:-) And I have to admit he is right because I deal with that getting the current screen door open. The kids always get to the door before me and stand right in front of it so I have to ask them to move so I can open it and unlock the back door, then they inevitably step towards the house and get trapped between the door and the house wall! We'll have less landing space by the new back door than we do now on our current porch, so I think pulling the door towards you in that situation will be even more inconvenient than it is now. Plus I'm thinking about coming in with groceries and being able to push the door open and step in. More and more the in-swing sounds better, even if I have to give up a bit of kitchen floor space for it.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 7:00AM
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The screw in the picture macv linked is the typical inadequate length the door hardware comes with.

You need at least 2-inch and 3-inch long screws are even better.

The short screws do not get into the framing behind the door jamb but are only in the thin jamb wood.

They are easily broken out by a good kick to the door.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 7:43PM
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The screw in my photo is a security stud screw that acts in shear when the hinge is closed. Otherwise you can use any screw you want for the hinge.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 10:01PM
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