Inward or Outward Swing for External Doors?

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How Swing Impacts Security

Choosing between inward-swinging and outward-swinging doors is a crucial decision for homeowners, balancing convenience and security. While inward-swinging doors offer aesthetic appeal and convenience, they may compromise security. On the contrary, outward-swinging doors enhance security, making it challenging for intruders to force entry.

This decision requires homeowners to carefully weigh the benefits of each configuration based on their specific needs and location, considering factors such as ease of evacuation during emergencies.

The historical vulnerability of outward-opening doors, with hinges exposed, allowed criminals to sabotage them and remove the entire door. Although modern outward-swinging doors now feature protected hinges, they remain comparatively more vulnerable than their inward-opening counterparts. In the case of front doors, inward-swinging options provide the advantage of easily shutting the door on unwelcome visitors, preventing them from standing within its arc if it opened outward.

Additionally, inward-swinging doors facilitate the installation of extra security features like latches and chains. Regardless of the chosen door swing, reinforcing security features is imperative to ensure the safety of the household against potential threats.

Weather Woes: The Clash Between Elements and Door Direction

The vulnerability of external doors to natural elements is influenced by their opening direction. Outward-opening doors are more susceptible to adverse weather conditions, risking damage from strong winds that can shatter glazing or create startling impacts.

Wooden doors face increased exposure to rain, especially if the top lacks proper finishing. In extreme cases, heavy snowfall can render outward-opening doors inoperable, confining occupants for days. Generally, exterior doors are designed to open inward, minimizing exposure to rain, wind, and other elements, and enhancing insulation and weather resistance.

However, the impact of the opening direction depends on factors like door design, environmental conditions, and surrounding elements. In windy areas, an outward-opening door may be preferable to prevent forced opening and potential damage.

Does Swing Affect Emergency Exits?

The ongoing debate over the superiority of inward versus outward-opening doors revolves around safety and design considerations. Advocates of outward-swinging doors argue that they facilitate a smoother and faster evacuation during emergencies, particularly in high-traffic areas where congestion near the door poses a risk. Additionally, outward-swinging doors can enhance security by making it more challenging for intruders to force them open.

Conversely, supporters of traditional inward-swinging doors highlight their space efficiency, especially in compact settings like small offices or residences. These doors offer protection against external elements such as wind and rain, as their design minimizes exposure when closed.

The choice between door types ultimately hinges on factors like building design, safety regulations, occupancy, and security concerns. Some structures may even deploy a combination of both door types to address diverse requirements in different areas.

Opting for an Outward Opening Exterior Door: When and Why?

In certain situations, it is practical for external doors to open in the opposite direction, as exemplified by fire escapes. In emergencies, individuals may not think clearly, emphasizing the importance of simplifying actions. Pushing out of a building effortlessly through a large bar-shaped handle on a door that opens outward is more convenient than stopping to pull it open.

Public buildings, where door users vary in strength, pose additional considerations for ease of use, particularly for small children, the elderly, and wheelchair users who may struggle with inward-opening doors.

While homes may lack dedicated fire escapes, there are instances where outward-opening doors are advantageous. For example, doors leading to a patio can open outward to create more interior space for furniture. However, precautions must be taken to mitigate wind damage.

External French doors often feature hooks for tethering to surrounding walls, ensuring stability in windy conditions. Timber doors can be modified post-installation to incorporate such features.

Alternatively, propping doors open with weighty objects like flower pots is a viable solution, although this requires frequent adjustment. Although inward-opening doors are generally considered more secure due to concealed hinges, clever designs such as ‘setscrew hinges’ can prevent tampering.

These hinges lock the hinge pin, concealing it when the door is closed. While modification is possible with existing hinges, opting for commercially available versions is usually recommended for increased reliability.

Stud hinges offer another security option, with interlocking studs on hinge plates preventing the door from detaching when closed. Non-removable hinge pins, functioning like rivets, provide an additional layer of security by preventing removal after installation.

Ultimately, the choice between inward and outward-opening doors depends on the specific circumstances, balancing factors such as ease of use, space considerations, and security features.

What the Law Dictates About Outward Swing

The legislation governing the orientation of outward-opening doors is found in section 153 of the 1980 Highways Act. This law specifically addresses doors, gates, or bars that lead directly onto a public street, encompassing not only building entrances but also garden gates.

If contemplating the installation of such a door, compliance with the law mandates seeking approval from both the local authority and the highway authority. Failure to do so results in a written notice requiring adjustments to make the door open inwards. Non-compliance may lead to legal consequences, including fines of up to £200 and covering the costs incurred by the authority to rectify the situation.

In essence, the law aims to regulate the direction of door swings to ensure public safety and prevent obstruction, especially during emergencies. The preference for inward-opening doors is underscored by practical considerations, with various factors influencing the decision.

Building codes categorize structures by occupancy type, dictating specific door requirements. Egress considerations, crucial for emergencies, may mandate outward-swinging doors in public buildings to facilitate rapid evacuation.

Space constraints and layout considerations also play a role, as outward-swinging doors can optimize interior space utilization, especially in confined areas. Security concerns contribute to the preference for outward-swinging doors in some situations, making unauthorized access more challenging.

Climate considerations, such as strong winds, may influence the direction of door swings to minimize potential damage.

Local building regulations, fire safety codes, and accessibility standards further shape door orientation guidelines. Architects, builders, and property owners must be well-versed in these regulations to ensure compliance, consulting with local authorities and professionals to guarantee the installation of doors to safety and functionality requirements.

Why do front doors open out in Sweden?

In numerous countries, including Sweden, it is customary for front doors to open outward, a practice deeply rooted in both tradition and climate considerations. The phenomenon is particularly noticeable in Scandinavian countries, exemplified by the iconic Swedish design. While various explanations exist for this architectural choice, a prevailing theory attributes it to the harsh Scandinavian climate.

Sweden, experiencing cold temperatures and heavy snowfall in winter, finds practicality in outward-opening doors. The climate dictates that doors opening inward risk being obstructed by accumulated snow, presenting challenges for residents entering or exiting their homes. This design not only addresses weather-related concerns but also aligns with the tradition of constructing houses with deep entryways or porches, enhancing both aesthetics and functionality.

Moreover, outward-opening doors offer an added layer of security. Concealing hinges from external view, they thwart potential intruders attempting forced entry, in contrast to the vulnerability of inward-opening doors. However, it is crucial to note that door orientation can vary based on individual preferences, regional practices, and the specific type of construction.


Can I change my front door to open outwards?

Yes, in most cases, you can change your front door to open outwards. However, local building codes and regulations may dictate specific requirements, so it’s advisable to check with your local authorities before making the change.

Can you have an outswing front door?

Yes, it is possible to have an outswing front door. Outswing doors can provide certain advantages, such as maximizing interior space and preventing water infiltration. Again, local building codes should be consulted to ensure compliance with regulations.

Can you change a UPVC door to open outwards?

Generally, you can change a UPVC door to open outwards. UPVC doors are versatile and can be adapted to different configurations, including outswing. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and consider any structural implications when making such modifications.

About the author

Glen Ramsey, who presently holds the positions of customer support and content manager, is a cherished member of the Sash Window Refurbish team. He is in a unique position to provide advice on all questions pertaining to the renovation of historic windows because he has a wealth of experience in all elements of window renovation, dealing with clients regularly and assisting them in choosing the best window-related course of action. He oversees the creation of information for all of our platforms in his capacity as content manager, including web content and other materials. Glen has witnessed the whole gamut of Sash Window Refurbish's window restoration activities, from our work on significant listed Georgian homes to a wide variety of smaller-scale private residential projects.


My technician Andrew replaced all my sash windows that had rotten sills. Accessing the rotten sills was not an easy task. He explained to me what needed to be done in order to fix the problem. He is a great person and I’m happy that he was the one who did the job. He is reliable, tidy, friendly and very professional. I highly recommend him.



I hired Andrew and Alex a while back to repair my damaged sash windows. They were was very considerate and very patient as he did his job. A few days ago, I had another problem with one of my sash lock keys and I called him again to come and fix the problem. I’m very impressed that Liam responded quickly and he not only fixed the problem but he also gave me a spare key. What a great after sales service!

Alan W.


I’m very impressed with the new windows that Andrew installed and also the reconditioning job that he did on other sash windows. The quality of his work is by far more superior than what we got when we hired another company a few years back. We will certainly hire him again if any window work arises

Kelly (Sleaford)


Our decorator referred us to Andrew because some of the work needed a window expert. Andrew together with our decorator did a fantastic job. The work was done efficiently and to the highest standards. Andrew is understanding, committed and very professional. I recommend him without any hesitation.

Steaven Reader


Alex did a great job in fixing windows in our terraced house. The windows were broken, frames damaged and the wood was also rotten. Alex's job was high quality and he did it pretty fast. I was also very impressed that he was considerate of my son’s asthma condition and maintained cleanliness. Top work.



Andrew just recently replaced three sash windows in my Edwardian house. He also repaired and replaced some sills and draught proofed three windows. In addition to that, he also did some carpentry work. What I like the most about Liam is that he did a clean job. He is very professional and always updated me about the timescales and costs. He also did his job with minimal disruptions. I highly recommend him.

Cris M.