Are Outward Swinging Doors Safer for Your Home?

When it comes to door safety, the direction in which it swings can be a crucial factor. While the code may require certain types of doors to swing in a specific direction, there are other considerations beyond the minimum requirements. One question that often arises is whether doors that swing out are safer, and the answer is not straightforward. That being said, both inward and outward-swinging doors have their advantages, including:
  • Inward-swinging doors tend to have fewer obstructions by debris or other objects outside the door. This can be particularly important in areas where snow, leaves, and other materials may accumulate near the entrance.
  • Outward-swinging doors can offer more space within the room, making it easier to move large items in and out. Additionally, outward-swinging doors often have hinges and locking mechanisms that are more secure than inward-swinging doors.
  • Ultimately, the direction a door swings should be determined by the specific needs of the space and the safety requirements of the building code. Homeowners and builders should consider factors such as accessibility, ease of use, and security when deciding on the best type of door for a particular location.

    Are Doors That Swing Out Safer? Beyond the Code’s Requirements

    Doors are an essential part of any building, whether residential or commercial. Besides providing access, they also serve other critical functions, such as security and energy efficiency. One debate that has been raging for years is the issue of whether doors that swing inwards or outwards are safer. While the code provides some guidance on door orientation, there are other factors to consider. In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of each type of door.
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    The Benefits of Inward-Swinging Doors

    Inward-swinging doors are doors that open towards the interior of the building. They are common in residential buildings and some commercial buildings. Here are some benefits of inward-swinging doors:
    • Less likely to be obstructed by debris or snow, making them easier to open and close
    • More space in the room because the door does not swing into the available space
    • Difficult for strong winds or air pressure changes to blow the door open
    However, inward-swinging doors can also present a potential safety hazard, especially during an emergency such as a fire. For instance, if the door opens into the room, it can become challenging to exit the building in a hurry. In such a situation, it is crucial to have an emergency escape plan.

    Outward-Swinging Doors: Advantages and Disadvantages

    Outward-swinging doors are doors that open away from the interior of the building. They are popular in commercial and industrial buildings and some residential buildings. Here are some benefits of outward-swinging doors:
    • More secure because the hinge pins are inaccessible from the outside, making them difficult to remove
    • Easy to exit during an emergency because the door opens outwards
    • Minimizes the chances of injury to pedestrians or passersby because the door does not swing into the traffic area
    However, outward-swinging doors can also present some disadvantages, such as:
    • Take up more space because the door swings outwards. This can be problematic in tight spaces, such as hallways or walkways
    • Can catch the wind and slam shut, which can cause injuries or damage to property
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    Factors to Consider When Choosing a Door Swinging Direction

    When deciding on the door swing direction, there are several factors to consider:
    • The purpose of the door: Is it an entry door, a fire exit, or an interior door?
    • The available space: Will the door take up too much space when it swings open?
    • The building’s occupancy load: Will the door be able to handle the volume of traffic passing through it?
    • Weather conditions: Will the door swing direction be affected by strong winds or adverse weather conditions?

    Safety Considerations for Inward-Swinging Doors

    Inward-swinging doors can present a potential safety hazard, especially during an emergency such as a fire. When choosing an inward-swinging door, consider the following:
    • Installing safety devices, such as crash bars or push bars
    • Having an emergency escape plan that includes opening the door fully without obstruction
    • Ensuring there are no obstacles in front of the door that can delay exit

    Enhancing Security for Outward-Swinging Doors

    Outward-swinging doors are more secure than inward-swinging doors because the hinge pins are inaccessible from the outside. To enhance security for outward-swinging doors, consider the following:
    • Using security hinges that make it difficult to remove the door from the hinge
    • Adding a deadbolt or a lock with a reinforced strike plate to the door
    • Installing motion-activated lighting around the door

    Design Considerations for Door Swinging Direction

    The door swinging direction can also affect the overall design of the building. For instance, if the door opens inward, it could reduce the available space in the room. On the other hand, an outward-swinging door may create more space but could be visually intrusive. When deciding on the door swing direction, consider how it will affect the overall look and feel of the building.
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    Practical Considerations for Choosing a Door Swinging Direction

    Finally, there are practical considerations to keep in mind when choosing a door swinging direction. These include:
    • The type of building and its intended use
    • The frequency of use of the door
    • The weather conditions in the area
    • The fire codes and building regulations
    In conclusion, the decision on whether to choose inward or outward-swinging doors should be based on several factors. While the code provides some guidance, other considerations such as safety, security, design, and practicality should also be taken into account. Ultimately, the choice of door swinging direction should be based on the specific needs and requirements of the building and its occupants.

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