Should A Garage Door Open In Or Out?

Navigating building codes when you're remodeling can be very tedious and time-consuming. But being aware of the codes and following them will make the home more secure and the people inside it safer. When it comes to the garage's entry door to the home, you may not have thought the direction it opens makes a difference. We've researched building codes from numerous sources and can give you a definitive answer if this door should open inward or outward.

The house door that opens from the garage into the home should open into the home. This is a critical safety issue, as doors that open out into the garage may meet with an obstruction. In case of fire or explosion, an outward swinging garage entry door could pose a danger to those fleeing the house.

Now that we know which direction this door should open, we'll look at other considerations for the door and the frame to make the occupants safer. You might also be wondering what side a door should be hinged, or if you can change the direction of how the door swings. To see what we've discovered, read ahead in this post. 

Open door of a modern garage with a concrete driveway at the urban district, Should A Garage Door Open In Or Out?

Safety Considerations

There's a lot more involved with safety here than just having the door open in the proper direction. Below, we'll look at the three most significant factors in making the garage's entry door safer for the homeowner and occupants.

Type of door

Building code requirements dictate the type of door that is safe to use between the garage and the main house. Generally, this door should be at least one and three-eighths of an inch thick20 if made of wood. It must also have a fire rating of a minimum of 20 minutes.

Common two car garage in a modern suburban home.

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Additionally, this doorway must be fitted with a gasket. This gasket is critical for helping keep noxious and toxic fumes from escaping the garage and seeping into your home. Remember that garages are places where many solvents and other chemicals are stored, the fumes of which should never be allowed to come into your living area. Additionally, the carbon monoxide from running vehicles is poisonous. Having a gasket sealing the door frame prevents these fumes from harming you and your family.

Adjacent rooms

Building codes will also dictate what rooms are allowed to be adjacent to a garage when that room has a doorway leading into it. Ideally, you want this adjacent room or hallway to be one that isn't used for long periods of time. You see many of these doorways opening from the garage into kitchens, short entry halls, and mud porches. What rooms should be avoided?

Remember that carbon monoxide is a deadly gas. Leaving the car running in the garage while an occupant is sleeping in the adjacent room creates a real safety concern. For this reason, building codes prohibit entry doors from garages to open into a room primarily used as a bedroom or converted into a bedroom. 

Which Side Should A Door Be Hinged?

You see and use doors countless times during the day. But if you're like most people, you probably don't pay attention to the hinge location or opening direction. This might keep you from immediately answering which side the door should be hinged.

A door will swing inward from the hinges. If you see the hinges on the door, this is the direction the door will swing toward. This is important to know if you are replacing an existing door. For the door to be installed properly, being certain which side to hinge is critical. Not knowing this information might cost you a lot of time and could result in unnecessary holes being drilled on the door's incorrect side. 

Keep in mind that in almost every case, a door will swing into the room. Depending on this room's layout, you'll need to determine if you want the door to swing open to the right or the left. As soon as you've made this determination, you'll know whether to hinge the door on the inside left or inside right.

Close-up new modern door hinge on wooden door.

Can You Change The Direction A Door Opens?

Occasionally, you might find yourself in a situation where you need to change the direction of the door's swing. This could be due to a rearrangement of furniture, a desire to change the room's flow or any number of other reasons. 

If you have the tools and the know-how, changing the direction of a door's swing can be done. If you have a door that opens inside to the right and you want it to open to the inside to the left (or vice versa), doing so requires installing the hinges on the opposite side of the door's frame.

Of course, this also means that you'll need to flip the door so that the current inside becomes the outside. This can be a little more tricky when it comes to exterior doors, but it can still be accomplished.

For an in-depth how-to tutorial, we suggest viewing this video:


Does It Matter Which Way A Door Swings?

At the end of the day, does it really matter which way the door swings? It absolutely can! Not all doors are placed in the center of the room. If too close to an interior wall, having the door swing inside in the wrong direction can damage the wall by the knob. The way you have the room furnished can also make the door become an obstruction, as a door could swing into things.

Paying attention to the room's proposed layout in advance will help you determine if your door swing is opening in the ideal direction. As we noted earlier in this post, the direction a door swings open can almost always be changed. 

Businessman's hand opening a white door from the garage

In Closing

Entryway doors from a garage should always swing open into the main house. This is important for numerous safety reasons. In addition to the direction of the door's swing, there are several other necessary safety measures. A door with the proper thickness, the correct fire rating, and a proper gasket seal will help keep you and the occupants of your home more out of harm's way.

Doors are hinged on the inside swing of the door. This swing can be changed from inside left to inside right, and vice versa. Doing so only requires the right tools and a little bit of know-how.

Open door of a modern garage with a concrete driveway at the urban district, Should A Garage Door Open In Or Out?

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If you enjoyed reading this post on garage doors, you might enjoy reading the following posts about home design and decor:

Can A Bedroom Open Into A Garage?

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