Why Do Doors Open Inwards?

13 August, 2019

Inwards or outwards? We take our doors for granted but when it comes to replacing them, we are forced to consider all sorts of questions and answers that can make us even more confused.

Take front doors. Traditionally, Australian doors follow the British model, and open inwards. But why is this?

Hinges On The Inside

The top answer is security. The simplest door designs have exposed hinges, a security weak point. By positioning these hinges on the inside of a front door, it makes it harder for burglars to gain entry. It’s also easier to open inward-facing doors just a crack to check who is outside.

Another argument for having front doors opening inward is that in extreme weather events a build-up of snow outside could trap residents inside their house. But this view is countered by the fact that in Scandinavia, where winter snows are an annual certainty, most exterior doors open outwards. Danes, Norwegians and Swedes assert that outward-opening doors are better sealed against wind and rain as they are less likely to blow open.

Hurricane Proof?

For the same reason, outward-facing doors are becoming the norm in hurricane-prone areas of the USA. Since the 1990s, all new homes in parts of Florida have to have outward-facing doors, which although it makes sense in defence against strong winds, can have some awkward side effects. Outward doors may lead to exits being blocked by dumped parcel deliveries, or visitors standing outside being hit by the opening heavy door.

Outward-facing exterior doors also can’t be fitted with screens, unless they’re on the inside. This is a necessity for many Australians who appreciate the improved airflow while keeping bugs at bay.

Private Versus Public

Add to the confusion the different standards for public buildings, where you’ll find most doors open outwards, which is a safety measure in case a busy building needs to be evacuated quickly. Crowd pressure on an inward-facing door can prevent it opening at all, so a simple push-out door is the easiest emergency exit.

Which Is Best?

So, with good points on both sides, the debate on inside or outside-opening front doors doesn’t look like being resolved any time soon. However, style and technology has moved on and today these are not your only options.

At Door Stop, we stock a full range of exterior and interior doors, which includes pivot doors (which open part-in, part out), sliding and bi-fold doors, so you can choose the style and fitting to suit your home.

The Inside Story

What about indoors? Traditionally, internal doors open into a room. One of the reasons given for this is modesty, as it is easier to cover up before someone comes around an opening door.

Another argument for inward-facing interior doors is safety. If your bedroom door opens onto a passageway with high traffic, you may knock someone over as they walk past. Inward-facing room doors have a disadvantage of requiring space inside the room to allow for the inward swing.

Save Space Without Compromising Safety

If space is an issue, Door Stop has the expertise and products to minimise door intrusion and maximise your room’s useable area, whatever way you swing. We have two showrooms in Perth, so talk to us about how a sliding door, French doors or a custom solution can make your home uniquely stylish and practical.

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