Exterior Doors: Inswing vs. Outswing

When deciding on your replacement entry door, one thing to consider is the swing. You will have to make a decision for your swing early on in the ordering process. There may only be two options to choose from, but sometimes this can be a difficult decision. Masonite by Florida Made Door has both inswing and outswing options. How do you choose?

Let’s talk about the swings…


Standing on the exterior of the home, this type of swing will go into the house. You will push the door open into the home to gain access. Inswing doors tend to seem more inviting to guests because it swings into the home. With the sweeping interior motion, it’s like you are asking a person to enter.

Exterior doors: Inswing vs. Outswing


Again, standing on the exterior of the home, guests will pull your door towards them to enter into your home. Make sure to have plenty of room for the door to open outward. This direction could cause issues for those without 36 inches of clearance. To some people, this swing is like you are pushing people away from your home.

How do you decide if inswing or outswing is better for your home?

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Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Inswing doors utilize a sweep gasket to seal the door shut. This type of gasket relies on friction between the sweep and the threshold to keep out water and drafts. The door slab will sit at the highest point of the threshold which allows the opportunity for water to come in if the sweep gasket doesn’t get the right friction to seal properly. These gaskets sometimes end up failing after so much wear and will require you to maintain the door more frequently.

On the other hand, outswing doors utilize a compression gasket to property seal the door from wind and rain. This gasket does not use friction. Instead it has a positive stop to seal the door from the elements. This requires less maintenance since friction wont wear it out.

Outswing doors have updated security hinges as well, keeping burglary attempts at bay. With the hinges on the outside of the door, people sometimes think their door can be taken off the hinges by a thief who wants to get into their home. This is not the case. New hinges have special security features which keeps the door from being taken off the hinges. And obviously the door can’t be kicked inwards because it doesn’t have the ability to open inward.

Inswing doors require space on the interior of the home to open all the way. There needs to be at least 36 inches for the door to swing properly. That means no furniture can go anywhere close to your door. Also rugs can catch the bottom of the door keeping it from opening all the way. You have limited design options for the entryway of your front door.

Building Code Requirements for Inswing and Outswing Exterior Doors

Sometimes it’s not about personal preference but rather Florida building codes from your municipality that require a certain swing for exterior doors. There are factors that affect the swing like the direction the door faces and the climate the home is in.

Depending on external conditions, you may not have much of a choice in the way your door swings. As an example, if your home is in a cold climate that is prone to snow storms, you are required to have an inswing door. When a snow storm comes in and blocks the entrance to your home, your door will still be able to open inward. You won’t be trapped inside waiting for the snow plow to rescue you.

Exterior doors inswing vs. outswing

Homes in tropical climates that are prone to hurricanes and high velocity winds, are usually required to have an outswing door. This keeps your home protected from strong winds pushing your door open. On the flip side, if the wind does catch your door while it’s open, it may be really hard to shut with winds keeping it open. And without an overhang, the rain can pour into your home when the door is opened and can’t be shut due to high winds.

The direction the door faces plays a role in building requirements for entry doors. Southern facing doors get sun from sunrise to sunset. Western facing doors get exposed in the hottest part of the day. For southern and western facing homes, you must have an overhang. This keeps the hot sun from beating down on your door.

Considering the swing of your exterior door and want to ask the experts?

Meet with our Vice President

Brandon Shannon

Brandon is an engineer who was trained by Karoly over many years. He will come to your home to take precise final measurements, write out the full scope of your installation, and accurately quote your project right then and there. No waiting period for your estimate, no additional measurement appointments needed, and no questions unanswered. 

Brandon knows about all technical aspects of windows and doors and can discuss all of the options for your project. Best of all, meeting with an owner gives you the advantage of receiving the most accurate information with no hassle and no sales pressure. He will provide you the best deal and all discounts while he is at your home.

Karoly Windows & Doors Vice President Brandon Shannon
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