Should A Shower Door Open In Or Out?

When installing a shower, it is critical to understand how to install the shower door so you can avoid issues down the road. This may leave you wondering if it should open in or out. We looked into this issue to determine which was the shower door should swing when opening. 

A shower door must be able to open outward due to building codes but can open inwards in addition to outwards. They must never open only inwards. A shower door needs to be able to open outward so that the occupant can be reached in the event of a fall or medical emergency. A door that only opens inward could easily become blocked from the inside. 

Having a clear understanding of safety codes and why you might want your shower door to also open inwards is very important when planning your shower design. Keep reading to learn more, as well as the best kinds of doors, which direction it should face, and more!

An interior of a classic rustic themed bathroom with a glass shower wall and brown tiles on the whole bathroom area, Should a Shower Door Open In or Out?

Should A Shower Door Open In or Out?

As we mentioned above, it is against building codes to install a shower door that only opens inward. A door that opens inward can easily become blocked if the occupant were to fall. 

Woman hold handle bathroom cabin with left hand

That being said, a free-swinging shower door is an option if you want to be able to swing your shower inside the shower to dry, instead of hanging it drip all over your clean floor. You will need about 30" of clearance to install a swinging door. 

This frameless, hinged shower door from Aston is a good example of this type of door. 

Click here to see this on Amazon. 

The main issue with having a door that also swings inward is that there may not be a seal to trap steam inside the shower. 

Which Side Should A Shower Door Open?

Spacious bathroom in gray tones with heated floors

There is no hard and fast rule to this question, but there are several aspects you should consider before deciding how you want to install your door to open. 

Bathroom Space

If your bathroom is on the smaller side, then the swing of a hinged shower door should be positioned, so it won't hit anything if it is opened with too much force. This could cause the door to shatter. 

Location of Shower Head

Beautiful shower with traces of droplets and lime in bathroom of porcelain stoneware

Depending on where your shower head and faucets are located, the direction that the door opens can make a difference. If you prefer to enter the shower from the end farthest from the showerhead, then you need to have your door open at that end. Some people prefer to adjust the water temperature before getting gin the shower, so it would make sense in this case for the door to open on the side closest to the faucets.

If you have a sliding door, instead of a hinged, you can choose one where one side is fixed while the other slides or both sides slide, which is the most versatile setup. 

Can Shower Doors Be Reversed?

While different types and brands of shower doors are built differently, for the most part, you should be able to turn your door upside down, so the door opens from the opposite side. It is essential to make sure the door will have proper support and that there are no seals that could leak if the direction of the door hang is reversed.

What Type Of Shower Door Is Best? 

There are several types of showers doors, and your preferences are really what determines what door you choose. The most popular styles of doors are as follows:


This type of door is the most common and works like a regular door. The glass is attached to a hinge that swings open, and the entire piece is mounted to the shower stall. The hinge can be either traditional hardware that swings in only one direction or a pivot hinge, enabling the door swing either inward or outward.

This door type is best for larger bathrooms with plenty of space for movement without worrying about the door hitting other fixtures in the room. As you can see in the image below, the hinged door provides easy access to the shower while protecting your floors from shower overspray. 

Modern white themed bathroom with white tile flooring, white painted walls, and a glass wall shower area

This hinged shower door from DreamLine Unidoor is a perfect example to create a streamlined look in your bathroom.

Click here to see this on Amazon.


Bathroom with corner shower and decorative elements

A sliding door is great for smaller bathrooms or an installed piece for a bath/shower combo. This door type works by mounting a door into a metal track frame. Some options have two doors that can slide, while others have one piece that is fixed in place, while only one side slides open and closed. 

Using a sliding door on a tub/shower combo instead of a messy shower curtain modernizes the bathroom. 

Click here to see this door from Woodbridge on Amazon. 


A fixed shower door is a panel of glass that functions as a see-through wall for your shower. A glass panel is fixed to the shower stall, leaving an opening to access the facilities. These are beautiful in modern and industrial style bathrooms and are available in a wide variety of styles, from plain glass to paneled windowpane style glass. 

This Industrial style bathroom pairs a fixed shower door framed in black metal with white subway tiles.

Recreate the room above with the French Linea Toulon from DreamLine.

Click here to see this on Amazon.


The least common of these four doors is the folding door. This door type is mounted on a track, but instead of sliding clear across, the door itself folds, like an accordion. These doors work exceptionally well in small bathrooms, like the one below. 

If a folding door is just what you need, check out this on from Basco. 

Click here to see this on Amazon.

How Tall Should A Shower Door Be?

How tall should a shower door be

The standard shower door is 72 inches in height. However, you can customize this, depending on how you want your bathroom to look. Just remember that it needs to be tall enough to block any errant spray from escaping the shower. 

What Is The Difference Between Hinged And Pivot Shower Doors?

The difference between a hinged shower door and a pivot shower door is simple.

A hinged door will only open in one direction, and the hinges can be mounted on either the edge of the shower stall or in the middle of the shower enclosure, as long as there is adequate support. 

This frameless hinged door from DreamLine opens against a fixed panel to keep the look clean and simple.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

A pivot door is mounted on the corner of the shower stall and configured to swing in both directions. 

Click here to see this on Amazon.

In Summary

There are several types of shower doors to choose from, but it is important to remember that whatever you choose needs to open outward when installing. 

Want to know more about choosing a shower door? Check out these posts here on HomeDecorBliss!

What Type of Shower Door is Best?

Do Frameless Shower Doors Leak?

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