How Do I Change A Door From Inswing To Outswing?

Want to change the direction your door swings? Luckily, it is easy if you follow the proper steps to remove and rehinge your door. Follow along as we explore each step so that you can change your door from inswing to outswing.

change door from inswing to outswing

When it comes to the doors in your home, there are many choices to make: material, hardware, and more. Sometimes, after living with your door for a while, you realize the swing isn’t working quite right. Luckily, it is very easy to make this adjustment as a DIY project.

To change a door from inswing to outswing, simply remove the door, replace the hinges, and rehang the door. Finally, you’ll want to clean up the old hinge recesses, and we’ll cover that, too.

Before we get into the materials and steps of the process, let’s decide which swing is preferred for your space. There are pros and cons to both, as well as special security and weather considerations for exterior doors.

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Materials You’ll Need

Now that have decided to change your inswing door to be an outswing, it’s time to begin. Gather all the following tools and materials:

Tools

Materials

  • Wood Filler or Putty
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Optional: Non-removable Pin Hinges

Step One: Remove the Door, Hinges, and Strike Plate

First, remove the door from its hinges. If your hinges have bottom caps, remove these first. You can use a screwdriver as a wedge and a hammer to tap it out of place. You can make the process easier if you have a vice grip to grab onto the cap.

Next, tap the pins out of the hinges by sticking a nail punch up the hinge and tapping it with a hammer. Be sure to start all the hinges before taking any out. Once a pin is removed, the door can tilt and trap other pins in place.

Once all the pins are out, you can simply remove the door. If the door is heavy, be sure to enlist a friend to help with this step.

Finally, remove the hinge and strike plates with a power drill. The strike plate is the metal piece that surrounds the bolt hole and protects your doorjamb from damage.

Step Two: Reinstall the Hinges

Use a router to cut out the hinge recesses on the other side of the doorjamb. If you do not have a router, you could use a chisel for this step. You will also need to cut a recess for the strike plate, as well as a hole for the door bolt. However, we suggest you wait on this step, and you’ll see why below.

After cutting new recesses, you will need to drill pilot holes for the screws. Hold the hinge plate up to the jamb and mark with a pencil where they should go. When you screw the hinge plate in, make sure the screw heads go in all the way. If they stick out past the plate, the door will not be able to open fully.

Step Three: Repair the Old Hinge Locations

To repair the opposite side of the doorjamb, you can use wood filler or putty to fill in the recesses. Be sure to clean and sand the area first to make sure it is smooth. Once the putty dries, prime and paint.

We recommend that you wait to complete this step until the new hinges are in place. This allows you to check your work and make sure your new recesses and bolt hole are in line with the old ones.

If you have a doorstop on the wall, you will need to relocate this as well. You can fix up the wall at the same time you fix the doorjamb.

Step Four: Prepare and Rehang the Door

Before you rehang the door, be sure to remove any weather-stripping. You will also need to reverse the knob and striker as well, using a screwdriver. The bevel of the striker should be toward the jamb, so the door still closes properly.

Depending on the hinges, you may have to redrill the door’s hinge holes as well. Then you can put your door back in place. Once the door is in the jamb, line up both sides of the hinges. If everything is aligned properly, the pins will slide back into place.

Step Five: Drill the Bolt Hole and Strike Plate Recess

Now you will see why we recommend doing this step last. Once the door is hung again, you can open and close it against the jamb. The bolt will leave behind a mark on your doorjamb that shows exactly where to drill.

Drill the bolt hole, and then chisel or router out the recess around it. When you hold the strike plate up to the jamb, the leading edge should extend beyond the doorjamb.

The Pros and Cons of Inswing and Outswing Doors

Space Requirements

A standard door is typically 32” wide. For an inswing, this means reserving about 13 sq.ft. of space inside your home at all times. Blocking the door, even partially, creates a fire hazard, as it would be hard to open fully.

Therefore, outswing doors can be preferred, especially in small spaces. However, you then need this same free space on a patio or landing. Also, keep in mind that building codes require 36” of landing before a staircase for safety reasons.

Inswing Doors Are Less Weatherproof, But Better for Snowy Climates

The main difference between outswing and inswing doors is which side of the doorstop they sit on. The doorstop is the center protrusion of the doorjamb. The hinges and door then sit on one side to allow the door to fully open away from the jamb.

On an inswing door, the door sits behind the doorstop, further inside your home. When wind pushes into your door, it widens this gap and gets into your home. In other words, the seal between your home and the outdoors is stronger from the inside.

Outswing doors sit on the outside of the jamb, so wind pushes the door closer into the doorstop. This means the worse the weather, the better insulated your home. However, any snow piled outside an outswing door will make it impossible to open. Therefore, snowy climates do best with inswing doors and additional insulation materials.

Inswings Are Harder to Operate

As noted, exterior inswing doors require extra weatherproofing, like door gaskets, door sweeps, and gap foam. These materials increase friction and make the door harder to open.

Because outswing doors do not require extra weather guards, they are easier to operate. The smooth, frictionless entry might be an important consideration for seniors or people with disabilities.

Security Considerations

The final consideration is the security risk of inswing doors. Again, the door being behind the doorstop is a huge detriment to your door’s strength. A strong kick or shoulder would be enough to break down an inswing door.

Outswing doors have their own security concern. Since the hinges are on the outside, it’s possible for someone to remove the hinge pins and then the door. However, there are special hinges with non-removable pins to keep would-be-intruders from gaining access to your home.

If you plan to install an exterior, outswing door, these special hinges are a must. Hinges with non-removable pins are harder to install, but it’s worth the peace of mind knowing your home is secure.

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Related Questions

What type of door goes between my home and garage?

Since your garage is not climate-controlled with the rest of the home, you need an insulated, exterior door. Additionally, building codes require that garage doors be “fire-rated”. These doors are designed to reduce the risk of fire, smoke, and other toxic fumes (like carbon monoxide) from entering your home.

What size should my door be?

Residential doors are typically 80” tall, with interior doors being 28”-32” wide. Exterior doors must be 32” wide according to building codes, though many are 36” standard.

What size should my doorframe be?

Typically, the rough opening of your doorframe should be 2” wider and 2-1/2” taller than your door. You can double-check, as manufacturers provide this measurement on product descriptions.

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