My wife likes to argue with me….a lot. Recently we were talking about replacing our front door with a door that is still in the process of being refinished only the door has a left handed swing instead of a right handed swing, which is still doable, but will require rebuilding the jamb, etc. This isn’t the point though.
So, I am explaining about the swing direction and I say that we can either have a reverse swing door or have a door that swings out instead of in. She is adamantly opposed to this idea saying “I’ve never seen a house with a door that swings out”. And she’s correct – I haven’t either. This isn’t to say that homes SHOULDN’T have out-swinging doors. After all, commercial entry doors are required to swing out.
Why you ask? Well, most will tell you that the simple reason is because commercial doors have to swing in the direction of egress via the building code. While this is true, it’s not the only or even the most important reason. There are two reason why any entry door, be it commercial or residential, should swing out instead of in.
#1 – Security
A door that swings out can not be kicked in. The jamb stop prevents it. For residences this is extremely important in times like these where people are increasingly desperate and are taking to daylight type burglaries like “smash and grab”.
#2 – Environmental
This is perhaps the most important reason for a door to swing out. When you open a traditional entry door in a home you create a draft of outside air that floods into your conditioned space. If you have kids that can’t make up their minds and come in and out in and out 500 times a day, that is a huge load to put on your HVAC system which increases your energy bill. Also, if you look at your door sill, you’ll see that there is a shallow rise coming in and then a drop at the door. It’s very easy for driving rain to climb that shallow rise and seep into your house.
Now, if your door swung OUT, both of these conditions would be reversed. A door that swings out pulls inside (conditioned) air out, letting no outside air in thus not increasing the load on your HVAC which keeps your energy bill lower. Also, taking the driving rain problem, instead of that shallow rise that the water would easily traverse, there is a sharp incline or barrier that the water can not get up and over without defying the laws of gravity.
So, I think I definitely won this argument. Next time you design a home, think about swinging that door out instead of in…seriously.