Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Unless you’ve had a reason to install a door before, you probably haven’t considered which way a screen door should open - in or out? There are some considerations to make before making this decision, and we have researched them to give you the best answer.
Whether your screen door opens in or out (towards the left or the right) ultimately comes down to personal choice. To determine which way a screen door should open first, the front porch needs to be examined to determine the safest and most efficient way to open the door. Experts say safety should be the first and foremost consideration when deciding which way a screen door should open. When a screen door swings outward, it acts as a barrier between a potential intruder and the entry door.
While safety is likely enough reasoning for any homeowners, there are a few other reasons that might help you make your decision. A few considerations to keep in mind when deciding if a screen door should open in or out are:
- Are you replacing an existing screen door or installing a new school door?
- Are there any objects (wall/ stairs/ railing) hindering the screen door swing?
- If a recycled door is being used, which side is the handle on the door?
Before you grab your electric drill and start hanging your screen door, save yourself the headache of hanging, removing, readjusting, and re-hanging your screen door. To make sure your handiwork is foolproof, we've put together a roundup of screen door hanging considerations.
Which way should a screen door open - in or out?
Deciding which way a screen door should open in or out (towards the left or right) is ultimately your choice, but there are a few things that will sway your opinion.
Replacing an existing screen door
For instance, if you are replacing an existing screen door, that means there are hinges already in place. Unless you’re looking to remove the existing hardware in place and install a new frame, you’ll want to install the replacement screen door on pre-existing hardware and have the screen door open the same way as the previous door. Not only will using the hardware in place save time but money as well - a win-win situation.
Installing a new screen door
If you’re installing a brand new door without any preexisting hardware, then you have free reign and can take your pick as to which way the door will open. Keep in mind which direction the main exterior door opens. Most often, the screen door will open opposite the main exterior door.
Not only will this provide an additional safety measure, but it will provide a clear exit path in case of an emergency.
Clear doorway path
If you’re still unsure which way your screen door should open, take a step outside, and survey the doorway path. Whichever way you’re opening the door should allow for a free exit from your home. If opening the door a certain way prevents you from fully opening your door, restricts the door's movement, or allows for potential blockage - it’s a safety hazard. When installing a screen door (or any door), always consider if the direction the door swings could potentially place a person in harm's way.
Ultimately, if you're opening a screen door, it should not create interference between your exit and entrance to the home.
Which side should the handle be on a screen door?
An easy way to figuring out which side the handle should be on a screen door is by pretending you're outside of the home and facing the door. If the screen door opens in (towards the left), the door handle will be on the right-hand side. If the screen door opens out (towards the right), the door handle will be on the left-hand side. The general rule is that the door handle will be on the opposite side of the main exterior door handle. The handle position on a screen door should be positioned in a place that is easily accessible. Avoid a location that involves scraping of hands to access the handle.
Should I put a screen door on my front door?
Unlike the main exterior door, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to having a screen door on your front door. Many newer built homes do not have a screen door on the front door - most likely for aesthetic purposes. However, there are many benefits to a screen door installation in addition to an exterior door. A few advantages are:
- A screen door can help protect your main exterior door from changing climate.
- A properly installed screen door can provide additional insulation from inclement weather.
- A secure screen door can also make it difficult for intruders to access the main exterior door and hinges.
- A screen door can also provide a boundary between a homeowner and unknown guests who approach their home.
- As an aesthetic addition, a screen door can add curb appeal and add a bit of personality to an otherwise dull storm door.
Can I put a screen door on the inside of the exterior door?
While we won't tell you that you can't put a screen door on the inside of the exterior door, we will say that there is no need in most homes. A screen door on the inside of the exterior door can pose a safety risk. If a screen door were to be inside the exterior door, the screen door would open inwards. In this case, it would mean the main exterior door would need to open outwards - this is extremely dangerous as it could prevent the occupants of a home from exiting safely in a hazardous situation.
The overall purpose of a screen door aims to provide a barrier between the main exterior door and the outside world. Whether the goal is to keep bugs out or allow airflow in, having a screen door on the inside of the exterior door defeats its purpose. Generally speaking, there is not enough space to install a screen door inside an exterior door. Most door frames are built for the main exterior door with little room for much else.
If you would like to install a screen door on the inside of an exterior door (meaning a screen door on the interior of your home), there are options available. In this case, we suggest looking for a magnetic screen door that does not require any adjustments to the exterior door and can be easily moved out of the way if needed.
If you're looking for a less permanent option, we recommend TheFitLife Magnetic Screen Door. This door is made of a mesh material made from a heavy-duty material that will keep the bugs out but is lightweight enough to easily roll it up and pack it away when you don't need to use it.
Choosing a screen door that opens in vs. out
Now that you've taken your measurements, mimed opening an imaginary screen door on your front porch (it's okay, we did it too), and done your research, you're all set to purchase and install your screen door! If you're looking for more door advice and aren't sure where to start, try these posts -