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Should French Doors Open In or Out?

Should French Doors Open In or Out?

Updated: 12.21.2023

By Nina Tsoy

Exploring the world of exterior French doors and patio doors brings us to an important decision: should they open inwards or outwards? French doors are celebrated for their elegance and ability to flood rooms with natural light.

Whether you’re replacing existing patio doors or incorporating them into a new construction project, these doors are a timeless choice. However, the decision between inswing (opening in) and outswing (opening out) is an important one. In this guide, our experts at Apex Window Werks will delve into the factors to consider when making this choice, ensuring your exterior doors not only elevate your space’s aesthetics but also cater to your practical needs.

What Are French Patio Doors?

French doors represent a classic choice. They include a pair of hinged double doors that gracefully open onto your outdoor space, whether it’s a garden, patio, or conservatory. Their design not only imparts an elegant and timeless aesthetic but also offers practical advantages. French patio doors are celebrated for their straightforward installation, easy access, and the generous infusion of natural light they bring into your home because of the multiple transparent glass panels. These doors are a balance between style and functionality, making them a preferred option for homeowners looking to enhance both the appearance and usability of their living spaces.

French Doors Swinging In vs. Out

French Doors Swinging In vs. Out

To help you make the best decision, we’ve outlined the key advantages and disadvantages of both options.

Inswing French Doors Pros

  • Inswing French doors offer enhanced security with features like hinges, deadbolts, and other locking mechanisms;
  • Improved security and safety for your home;
  • Complete control over airflow for added comfort;
  • Convenient when dealing with substantial snow outside.

Cons of Inswing Doors

  • Inswing French doors need ample interior space to operate, as the door’s slab width uses up a significant portion of the internal floor space;
  • Vulnerable to potential damage from exterior kicks;
  • Prone to issues with wind and rain, particularly during inclement weather.

Outswing French Doors Pros

  • Outward-opening doors are an excellent choice to maximize internal floor space;
  • Exterior hinges offer a sleek and unobtrusive look, eliminating the need to match interior decor colors and designs;
  • Allows furniture to be positioned closer to the entry without interference when opening the doors;
  • Resistant to windy weather conditions.

Cons of French Doors Opening Outward

  • Outward swinging doors require more external space for proper operation;
  • Hinges are located on the exterior, which may affect aesthetics;
  • Challenging to operate in heavy snow conditions;
  • Susceptible to water leakage between slabs during heavy rain accompanied by strong side-angled winds.

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Factors to Consider when Deciding Between Inward or Outward Opening French Doors

Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

Space

Space plays a crucial role in determining whether your patio door should open inwards or outwards. Consider the available room for a door swing – avoid tight corners, obstacles, or furniture that could impact the door’s movement. If it’s an interior space, think about how the door’s swing may impact your furniture arrangement. In smaller spaces, inward-opening doors can help maximize indoor space, while outward-opening doors might be suitable for larger areas.

Home Layout

Home Layout

Your home’s layout also matters. Doors leading to high-traffic areas or hallways might be better off swinging inwards to prevent collisions with people passing by. Evaluate your specific layout and how the door swing will affect traffic flow and room functionality.

Weather

Climate is another significant factor. In areas prone to snow accumulation, doors that open outward might not be practical during the snowy season. Additionally, consider rain and wind exposure when choosing the door swing direction. Proper sealing and maintenance can mitigate these issues.

Security

Security is a top concern. Historically, outswing French doors had exposed hinges, making them vulnerable to tampering. However modern designs have improved security.

Safety

Inward-opening doors can offer safety advantages, particularly in emergencies like fires, as they are easier for rescuers to force open. They also eliminate the risk of hitting someone on the other side when opening outward. Safety considerations should not be overlooked when deciding on the door swing direction for your patio doors.

What About Interior French Doors?

What About Interior French Doors?

When considering the installation of interior French doors, be sure to take into account your available space and the overall layout of your rooms. Careful thought should be given to what surrounds these French doors and which side of the door space is more valuable in terms of room layout and functionality.

For example, if you have a hallway or a high-traffic area adjacent to one side of the French door, opting for doors opening inwards into the adjoining room can be a wise choice. This configuration helps prevent any inconvenience caused by the doors swinging outwards into busy passageways or colliding with obstacles.

Making the Right Choice

Whether you opt for inswing or outswing French doors, it’s crucial to ensure proper installation and maintenance. If you’re looking to install French doors or need expert door repair services, Apex Window Werks, serving Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, is here to help.

Contact Apex Window Werks today for professional door installation and repair services to enhance your home’s beauty and functionality.

FAQs

Is it possible for a French door to open at a 180-degree angle?

Yes! Certain exterior French doors have hinges that enable them to open up to 180 degrees, allowing them to lay flat against either your interior or exterior surface, depending on your chosen opening direction – inward or outward. This allows for a wide and unobstructed entryway, making it an excellent choice if you want to maximize indoor and outdoor spaces.

Is there a significant price difference between French doors opening outwards and inwards?

Generally speaking, the cost difference between inswing and outswing French doors is minimal. In most cases, you may expect to pay slightly more for outswing doors compared to inswing ones.

However, keep in mind that additional customization options can impact the overall price. Factors like door height, sidelights, transom, glass design, door color, miniblinds, hardware, and multipoint lock systems can contribute to additional costs. Additionally, you may incur extra charges for caulking and capping, depending on your specific installation requirements.

Nina Tsoy

Nina Tsoy

With over 15 years of experience in the window repair, replacement, and manufacturing business, Nina is in charge for strategic solutions and exceptional operational performance at Apex Window Werks. This allows her to offer innovative techniques and solutions to address any window-related problem, all while adhering to industry standards and best practices.

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