Do Screen Doors Open In Or Out?

Installing a screen door adds security to your home, but having two opening doors requires a lot of thinking to ensure they both function well. One of the common questions when considering a screen door includes how and what direction it should open. There are considerations you will have to keep in mind to determine how it should swing. We looked into these concerns and summed them up in this post.

Screen doors usually open outwards in conjunction with an inward-opening main door. Having a screen door open out keeps it from clashing with the front door. It is possible to have them swing inwards, depending on the available space. Even so, deciding how a screen door opens relies on factors including personal choice and reasons for installing the door.

A screen door also comes with features that make it a recommended option to have. You can adjust them to your preference with where it should face and where to place it. Keep reading as we elaborate on these points.

wooden facade with large screen door for insect protection. Do Screen Doors Open In Or Out

How Do Screen Doors Open?

In most cases, a screen door opens outwards when there is an existing front door. Most front doors swing inwards for safety reasons, such as protecting the property from intruders and preventing bugs and weather from affecting the inside. Adding a screen door further increases the level of protection for the property, but it should be swinging in the opposite direction to avoid collision with the front door.

Another reason screen doors swing opposite the main exterior door is for added safety. The door opening the other way will act as a barrier when an intruder tries to break into the home. It prevents extreme weather conditions, like snow and storms, and pests from entering the property.

Factors Affecting How A Screen Door Opens

You can still install a screen door to swing inwards if you prefer it that way. Although preference dictates how you want the screen door to open, you can consider these aspects to guide you in making the decision:

Replacement VS Reinstallation

If you'll be replacing the screen door, it likely means the hinges are already in place. When encountering this case, the new screen door will open the same way as the previous one. To change the direction it swings open, you would have to reinstall the door completely, meaning removing the pre-installed hardware.

Doorway Path Space

Review your doorway path to know how much space you are working with. Note that your door should allow a free exit from the home regardless of how it opens, especially when you're working with two exterior doors. Scan for the most efficient way to open the screen door without encountering blockage or restriction. The screen door should not cause interference when entering or exiting the home.

Can Screen Doors Be Reversed?

Yes, most screen doors available are reversible. If you don't feel comfortable with the way your screen door opens, you can install it differently to reverse it. Standard screen doors can be removed and reinstalled in your preferred direction. Traditional screen doors are also universal, meaning you can place them to open on the left or right.

Reversing a screen door is possible whether you want it to open in or out and whether you prefer a right or left-hand swing. Typically, it swings outward, but some people may choose to have it the other way. In that case, you would have to reverse the screen door. The same applies when you want to switch to which side it swings.

Difference Between An Inward And Outward Opening External Door

The placement and purpose influence how a door should swing. A door that opens in or out has pros and cons that affect its efficiency and overall function.

A front door frequently opens inwards for several reasons. Inward-opening doors prevent tampering because the hinges stay inside the house. They are easier to open and shut without worrying about interference or blocking people's way. It is also less likely to experience wear caused by outside elements.

For outward opening doors, these are recommended when adding a security screen or storm door on top of an existing external door. The way it opens is considered an additional security measure that works efficiently for keeping out intruders and even animals.

How Do You Reverse A Screen Door Swing?

To reverse a screen door swing, you will have to reattach the door's hardware in the opposite direction. The steps you need to follow are summarized below:

  1. Unscrew the screen door's spring stabilizing hinge from the door frame. Set it aside for reassembling later.
  2. Unscrew the rest of the screen door's hinges from the frame. Leave them attached to the screen door itself, and set aside the screws for later.
  3. Detach the screen door from the frame. You can turn the door upside down if the designs and handles are symmetrical from top to bottom.
  4. Reattach any hardware on the screen door with a specific orientation onto the opposite side of the door frame. As much as possible, keep it at the same height and distance as its original position.
  5. Remove the latch from the door frame and set it aside.
  6. Level the screen door to your frame with the hinges in place. Mark the where they would go.
  7. Drill holes onto the door frame where you marked them.
  8. Align the screen door to the frame and screw the hinges into the new holes. Make sure they are secured tightly.
  9. Reinstall the latch onto the opposite side of the door frame. Place it at the same height and distance as its first location.
  10. Reattach the spring hinge on the opposite side from its initial place. Affix it with screws if necessary.
  11. Fill the old holes with wood or putty. Once done, you can paint or stain over them.

Which Side Of A Screen Door Faces Out?

If a screen door has the spline attached already, then the opposite side should face out. The spline usually goes on the inside of the door. Pushing the cloth out is harder on the side where you install the spline. And so, if the spline were to face outside, pushing it out of the frame would become easier to do. Placing the spline inside reduces the chance of repeatedly reinstalling it.

You can also observe the door you purchased to identify which is the outside face. Say you have an indoor pet and decided on a screen door that keeps pets from coming too close. The side where the screen goes should then be the side that faces out.

The Verdict

A screen door is best if you're looking for added security and protection from outside elements. In installing the door, you should consider how it should swing for it to work efficiently. Most of the time, screen doors open outward, or opposite the main exterior door. But these can be reversed to have them swing inward instead.

Get more insight on screen doors by reading through these posts:

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