Inswing vs Outswing Patio Doors – What’s the Difference?

Inswing-vs-Outswing-Patio-Doors

Having an outdoor space, like a deck or a patio, has become an important feature of homes nowadays. Whether these outdoor spaces are connected to your living room, kitchen or other indoor spaces, you need to find the right door for its functionality and safety. 

A door plays an important role in your homes’ aesthetics. Homeowners tend to put too much importance on how a door looks. Building a home is not all about aesthetics. Decisions in building a home goes beyond the floor plan and the paint colors. It could also be about making a simple choice on where a patio door swings. 

Initially, one would think that there is not much of a difference between inswing and outswing patio doors, except for the directions where they swing open. These inward and outward directions have specific functions and purposes, as one would find out in choosing between the two.

Inswing patio doors seem to be the more popular choice for home builders, as you can easily find them in most local home improvement stores and standard sizes and styles are always in stock. Outswing patio doors, however, also have their good points too.

In a battle between inswing vs. outswing patio doors, the more popular choice may not always be the best choice. It all depends on how the homeowners plan to live. Things like space availability and security, should be taken into consideration. 

The question remains: should your door swing inward or outward? To make that decision, let us weigh in on the differences between inswing vs. outswing patio doors.

The Ins and Outs: Inswing vs. Outswing Patio Doors

Inswing-vs-Outswing-Patio-Doors
Image Credits – hgtv.com

The main difference between inswing and outswing patio doors is the direction where they open. Inswing doors open inward and outswing doors open outward. Inswing doors open when you push them in, outswing doors open when you pull them outward.

Hinges on inswing doors are from the inside and outswing doors have them installed from the outside. 

Since inswing doors are more common, homes are designed to have more interior space to allow the swinging of the door to the inside. Conversely, if a home builder chooses an outswing doors, the home should have adequate outward swinging space. 

“Planning ahead will greatly help in choosing between inswing or outswing patio door. Think of how you would want your door to be used, identify your priorities in choosing. Weigh the pros and cons of each type of door. One should also check building codes in making the choice between inswing and outswing doors.” – Boyd Custom Homes

For both types of doors, there are advantages and disadvantages. It would be wise to go over these before making a choice between inswing and outswing patio doors.

Inswing Patio Doors: the Good and the Bad

As it is the more popular choice for home builders, inswing patio doors are easy to find and readily available in most home building stores. Availability will not be a problem.

For homes in colder climate zones or snow-prone areas, snow build up from outside the home would make it difficult to open an outswing patio door. Thus, inswing patio doors would be a more practical choice.

Most home builders choose inswing doors thinking that having the hinges inside make it safer than outswing doors. However, since they swing inward, they are also easier to kick in making it easier for intruders to break in.

Inswing doors usually have a sweep gasket at the edge to keep water and air out. Ironically, this design makes the door more vulnerable to wind and rain leaks. Adjustment on the sweep gaskets should be applied as needed to prevent this problem.

Outswing Patio Doors: Advantages and Disadvantages

Inswing-vs-Outswing-Patio-Doors
Image Credit – pellabranch.com

Doors that swing outward may not be the more popular choice for home builders. In fact, outswing doors are harder to find in most lumberyard or home improvement stores and may sometimes require a home builder to make advance orders or have them customized.

However, outswing doors have specific advantages over inswing doors.

Did you know that doors of most commercial buildings swing outward? In the name of public safety, these commercial buildings are required to use outswing doors to prevent people from pressing up and getting trapped in during an evacuation.

In terms of ease of operations, outswing doors feature a positive stop and compression gasket, creating a weather-tight seal minus the friction. This is a feature of outswing patio doors which makes a door easy to open.

Outswing patio doors would also be the best choice for homes in hurricane-prone areas. Strong winds from a hurricane may easily push an inswing door open, but not outswing doors.

When it comes to security, some home builders argue that an outswing patio door is a better choice as it is less prone to being forced open. It is virtually impossible for outswing doors to be kicked in by an intruder. As such, an outswing patio door’s threshold is specially-made with non-removable hinge pins on the exterior side of the door frame.

Which Way Do You Swing?

Inswing-vs-Outswing-Patio-Doors
Image Credit – homesealed.com

Which way the patio door swings might be one of the biggest decisions a homeowner has to make because a patio door connects a home’s living space to the outdoors. Whatever the choice is, inswing and outswing patio doors both offer unique benefits to the homeowner. 

Choosing inswing vs outswing patio doors depends on a couple of things. You must consider your home’s space requirements. Do you have enough space inside should you choose an inswing vs outdoor patio door? You must also check the climate of your home’s location in choosing between inswing and outswing patio door. The building codes in your area should also be considered. If all requirements  

Consulting an architect and a local home builder would also be a good move in choosing your designs, hardware, materials, finishes and door swings. Whichever way your door swings, the end goal would always be to make your home a safe and warm place to live in.

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