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Inswing or Outswing Exterior Doors?

jimblodgett's picture

A customer and I were discussing a set of exterior french type doors we'll be installing.  He is of the opinion that when closed, outswinging provide a better seal against high winds and wind driven rain than inswinging. 


He intuits that driving winds against an outswinging door are forcing it more tightly closed, whereas the same winds are trying to force inswinging doors open.


I understand his logic, but am not sure one way or another.  With today's hardware and weathersealing, do you think there is a perceptible difference? 


Thanks for any opinions.


Ever wonder why "holistic" doesn't start with "w"?

(post #105331, reply #1 of 34)

Out swing doors put your hinges on the outside of your house.
Not good if you want to keep burglars out. They pop the pins
and remove the door.

Also, you don't want the Fire Dept. wondering why they can't
knock in the door if you're not home and the house is burning.

(post #105331, reply #6 of 34)

There are exterior outswing hinges that have set screws that retain the pins. The screws aren't accessible until the door is opened.

Scott.

Always remember those first immortal words that Adam said to Eve, “You’d better stand back, I don’t know how big this thing’s going to get.”

(post #105331, reply #7 of 34)

We replaced an old patio slider with outswing french doors -- because of a space limitation inswing just didn't make sense. The doors face West and since that's where most weather comes from, we have noticed that they seal very tightly in high winds.

The downside is having to be extra careful not to let the wind whip them open and damage the door or frame. We thought about installing an indoor, roll-up screen but after living with the door a couple of years, using it for fresh air is not that big a deal. We just open a couple of extra windows and get the same effect.

(post #105331, reply #18 of 34)

Do you believe that, like you, fire departments have never seen an outswing door?



J. D. Reynolds
Home Improvements



 



 




R.I.P. RAZZMAN

 

 



(post #105331, reply #29 of 34)

They pop the pins
and remove the door.


That is only when you buy the doors from your supplier, Robbie.


Any responsible supplier of outswing doors builds them either with tabbed hinges or those with riveted pins, and either of those features will repel a pin-popping burglar.


In southeast Florida, with its share of crooks and burglars, tradition dictates that most all entry doors (front, rear, main, etc.) swing out.  But don't advise the burglars from your neck of the woods that there are easy pickings in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.  Those doors all have proper hinges.

 

"A stripe is just as real as a dadgummed flower."

Gene Davis        1920-1985

(post #105331, reply #2 of 34)

I installed six inswing and one outswing steel Peachtree door at the in-laws, 20 years ago.  The outswing was put on the balcony over the water, 'cuz it gets serious wind.  No leaks at all - I think it's better sealing than the others.


As far as the hinges, they have pegs and holes in the leaves that interlock when closed, so pulling the pins does absolutely nothing.


Forrest

(post #105331, reply #3 of 34)

You can't use a storm/screen door with out swinging doors.

(post #105331, reply #4 of 34)

Why not?


Forrest

(post #105331, reply #5 of 34)

You can't use a storm/screen door with out swinging doors.


You could still put screen doors on the inside.  Open the insulated doors all the way and leave the screen doors closed for some fresh air.


And I'd probably come up with something, even if its no more elegant than a block, to keep the doors from slamming shut in the wind.


jt8


"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it." --Upton Sinclair

jt8

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
-- Carl Sandburg

(post #105331, reply #8 of 34)

Hate to go against the strean here but, few years ago I gave the customer the choice of in or out on a three season close-in.


Terma-tru around here is the norm at their budget level.


I will never give outswing as an option again.


Unless I find and go with a comprehensive design upgrade.


The dynamics of an inswing vs. outswign are completely different.


Good of you to ask before jumping in.


Study all aspects of the situation before you just assume that the manufacturer took care of the details. - In my case they damn near just turned the door around and called it outswing. - I don't trust common manufacturers in uncommon situations anymore.


One thing to think of is that you/he are right that the seal gets tighter as the wind blows, but that is at the inside of the door. The door is at this point out in the elements (five of  six edges exterior) - as opposed to in the interior environment.


The seal may be better( or not) but you are subjecting the slab to much higher conditions than a inswing.


 


Remodeling Contractor just on the other side of the Glass City

Remodeling Contractor just on the other side of the Glass City

(post #105331, reply #9 of 34)

"The dynamics of an inswing vs. outswign are completely different."

Will you explain what this means?

Thanks,

BruceT
BruceT

(post #105331, reply #34 of 34)

Hah, Therma Tru outswing doors dont exist I guess. I got called out to a house that had TT "outswing" doors on them. The astrigal was on the inside of the door, the hinges didnt lock in place when closed and you could stick a screwdriver from the outside to unlock it.

You and I both know it was an inswing put in backwards but the "Factory Rep" said they all came that way. I was contracted to fix this door and to meet the Rep.

I fixed the door all right. I took that one out and put in a Pella.

"Study all aspects of the situation before you just assume that the manufacturer took care of the details. - In my case they damn near just turned the door around and called it outswing. - I don't trust common manufacturers in uncommon situations anymore."

Truer words were never spoken!

Where there's a will, there are 500 relatives

Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical, minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end,

(post #105331, reply #10 of 34)

I always try and get clients to do inswing because of the awkward nature of the wind catching the door if it swings out plus having to deal with stops and weather exposure to the top of the door.   My Marvin inswing french doors seal to the point of being *slightly* hard to open sometimes.


Jeff

(post #105331, reply #11 of 34)

Jim, it makes sense that an outswing would seal better against the weatherstripping, but all things considered I would go with an inswing with 3-point locks.  Modern compression-type weatherstripping does a fine job at sealing the door to the weather, except at the bottom corners.  You will get a little leakage there in a good storm but that's why you should have a sill pan. 


I like the idea of the door being protected by the overhanging jamb, I don't like the idea of the door being open to the outside in the summer as someone else suggested, and the sill detail usually on outswings usually involves a piece of compression weatherstripping that gets chewed up and looks bad soon after installation.


Don't skip the 3-point locks though (I'm assuming this is the oceanfront house?).  I cheaped out on the french doors on our lakefront rental.  Every storm I worry the doors will blow open and ruin the floor.  Should have sprung for the 3-point locks.

(post #105331, reply #12 of 34)

With an out swing door here in the north you might find yourself having to call up your neighbors to dig you out when it snows.

(post #105331, reply #22 of 34)

With an out swing door here in the north you might find yourself having to call up your neighbors to dig you out when it snows.


Most of the houses I've lived in had storm doors.  All those storm doors opened outward.  We occasionally had a snow drift to push back, but never got trapped in the house or had to use a different door.


 


jt8


"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it." --Upton Sinclair

jt8

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
-- Carl Sandburg

(post #105331, reply #26 of 34)

There are times when we positively could not have gotten out the storm door without removing the glass and crawling out.  Just about 10 days back had a storm where I likely would have damaged the door if I tried to force it open.


If your view never changes you're following the wrong leader


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #105331, reply #27 of 34)

Thanks for the responses, everyone.  Lots of food for thought here. 


 


Ever wonder why "holistic" doesn't start with "w"?

(post #105331, reply #13 of 34)

Jim,

I'd rather have inswing doors in a wind-driven rain situation. With outswings the door edges get soaked before the water reaches the weatherstrip. Lots of water can work on the top of the door if an eyebrow flashing detail is not made a part of the system.

Water can also work on the hinges and their screw holes. Stainless hinges are a must, and the hinge screw holes have to be wetted out with finish before driving the screws home. In fact, everything has to be more perfect with outswinging doors exposed to wind and rain.

The wind issues with open doors are also very significant, compared with inswings. Bumpers and catches are a must, IMO.

The sill is one area where outswings have a real advantage, since the threshold can step up inside of the door, positively rejecting wind-driven rain at the sill. A compression w-strip let into a groove can be pulled for maintenance of the door and replaced when it dies. Resource Conservation has a number of good products that can be used in this application.

Hope this helps.

Bill

(post #105331, reply #14 of 34)

Outswing is code for a commercial building because if there is a fire then a crowd will not prevent the door from opening.
For a home I prefer an inswing. In snow country if you have two feet of icy snow outside then an outswing will be difficult to open.

Mike Callahan, Lake Tahoe, Ca.

Mike Callahan, Lake Tahoe, Ca.

(post #105331, reply #20 of 34)

Out-swing is only code if the occupancy requires it, regardless as to the classification of commercial or residential.


Out-swing is somewhat less secure (unless you get creative with the locking mechanism) and more prone to damage (doors are less protected from the elements because the frame edges are exposed more to the weather).  You can get non-removable pin (NRP) hinges for security, as we specify them often on commercial out-swing applications.


I am positive though with some creativity that all of these issues can be addressed successfully.  I think a list of pros and cons would allow you to figure out which swing option outweighs the other based on the client's importance for certain features.


GL.


"It depends on the situation..."
"It depends on the situation..."

(post #105331, reply #21 of 34)

I don't think anyone has mentioned that FA code now requires outswing doors because it reduces the possibility of a huricane blowing in a door.

.
.
A-holes. Hey every group has to have one. And I have been elected to be the one. I should make that my tagline.
. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #105331, reply #23 of 34)

I seen to remember that during a hurricane if you have positive pressure on one side of a house then you have negative pressure on the other. In other words it might not matter which type of door you have as far as being blown open.

(post #105331, reply #32 of 34)

"I seen to remember that during a hurricane if you have positive pressure on one side of a house then you have negative pressure on the other. In other words it might not matter which type of door you have as far as being blown open."

Trust me, if you were ever in one (hurricane) you would buy outswings.

AND i DID, ANDERSENS.

Rusti

PS attended Fredrick, Erin, Opal, Ivan and Danny.

(post #105331, reply #33 of 34)

I live within 1000 'of the Atlantic ocean and have been through many storms.

(post #105331, reply #15 of 34)

Snow or no snow? You don't want an outswing door in snow country unless there's a nearby "escape hatch" of some sort.


If your view never changes you're following the wrong leader


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #105331, reply #17 of 34)

Would that include storm doors?

I have always managed to escape and never had to call the neighbors or climb out a window.

I even escaped in the Halloween blizzard of 91, and just had some minor shoulder soreness. 


Edited 12/12/2007 8:58 am ET by wood4rd

I started out with nothing....and I still have most of it.

(post #105331, reply #25 of 34)

Dunno.  When we're trapped I go out the garage door.


If your view never changes you're following the wrong leader


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #105331, reply #16 of 34)

Jim, we just installed a batch of Loewen outswing doors on the side of a house facing the Straits. Lots of wind and rain from that direction. They're all multi-point latching but I still think they'll provide better performance in strong wind.

(post #105331, reply #19 of 34)

I build homes on the beach and have found that sliding doors are the most weather tight doors during storms and with the option of all vinyl doors they require the least maintenance.