Last Updated on April 6, 2023 by Kravelv
Patio doors are great at connecting your living spaces to the outdoors. They provide convenient access to your deck or yard and brighten up your home. They also connect spaces visually, drawing the eye outward, innovative home decor, and creating the illusion of added space. Looking for a way to improve your patio door? Installing new patio door curtains is a great option!
There are three popular patio door types: sliding, folding and swinging. If you’re considering having swinging patio doors or a set of French doors installed, your next question will naturally be the direction in which it should swing. Obviously, you have two options: in or out.
Image credit to Elite Garage Door & Gate Repair Of Lynnwood
Over the course of my career, I’ve encountered many homeowners who’ve never really given much thought to how their patio doors operate. But you might be surprised to learn that the difference between inswing and outswing doors doesn’t end at how you open them.
The Space Issue
This is a very important consideration when installing swinging patio doors. You need to plan for space around the door so that:
a) nothing will block the path of its swing and
b) there is enough space left for you to stand in as you open the door.
At the very least, the space marked off when you plot a semicircle with the door’s jamb as the pivot point and the door’s width as the radius should be clear of obstructions.
Other Factors to Consider
Ease of Operation
An inswing door has a sweep gasket to keep drafts and water out. This type of gasket relies on friction between the sweep and threshold to create a seal. While extremely effective, this can make the door a little stiff.
On an outswing patio door, a positive stop and compression gasket are responsible for the weathertight seal. Because friction isn’t needed, the door is fairly easy to open and close.
The threshold design that works best with inswing doors can make them more vulnerable to damage from wind-driven rain, so care must be taken to ensure the gasket is snug. Weatherstripping must also be in good condition.
Outswing doors do not suffer much from wind-driven rain and water leaks. Also, because they push against the frame when shut, they are better able to resist hurricane-force winds.
With inswing doors, hinges and security features are inside your home, which is a big security plus. But they can also be forced open from outside because of the direction in which they face, so you need to make sure you have good-quality deadbolts and strike plates.
Outswing doors are very difficult to force open. While their hinges are outside the house, they do have non-removable pins and are therefore not vulnerable to burglars.
Patio door swing out or in FAQs
What are the advantages of swinging patio doors inward?
- Doors that swing inward create a more efficient barrier against the elements, saving on heating and cooling costs.
- Unlike outward-swinging doors, they won’t get in the way of nearby outdoor features or furnishings.
- They make it less of a hassle to get to the lock from the inside, which is useful for both security and routine maintenance.
What are the advantages of swinging patio doors outward?
- Doors that swing outward leave more floor space while the door is open, making the inside of the room more usable.
- They provide enhanced ventilation thanks to their ability to be opened in part without compromising safety.
- They don’t need quite as much strength to open, making them more accessible to persons with impairments or mobility challenges.
What factors should I consider when deciding whether to swing patio doors in or out?
- Your local temperature and weather patterns, as well as the door’s orientation and the amount of exposure it has to wind and rain, might all play a role in your final selection.
- Consider the door’s location in relation to other elements of your home’s interior and exterior design, such as furniture, fixtures, or obstructions.
- The direction in which a door can swing is subject to the requirements or restrictions of applicable building rules.
Can I change the swing direction of an existing patio door?
- Many patio doors may be modified or installed to change their swinging orientation, however, this may be done by an expert.
- Doors can be reversed in their frames and hinges from the manufacturer on some models, however, this isn’t always the case.
- Changing the door’s swing direction requires careful planning and execution to avoid injury and assure compliance with local requirements.
At the end of the day, both types of doors make excellent choices, so your personal preference will count for a lot. Inswing patio doors have long dominated the market and are still the most popular type of hinged patio door today. But manufacturers are starting to offer more and more outswing options, so if you feel that outswing is the best choice for your space, a good contractor can help you find a perfect fit. Don’t hesitate to ask your contractor about your options so that you can make a truly informed decision.
Good luck on your project!
Brice Richards is the VP of Production for Renewal by Andersen of Austin. He has been with the company for nearly a decade, time spent working hard to make sure their teams of skilled technicians do not disappoint and always deliver 100% customer satisfaction. In his spare time, Brice enjoys photography and thinking of interesting insider tips and news to share on the company blog.