Blog > Category Post > Posted: 2022-May-25, Updated: 2022-May-30
There are definite advantages to both inswing and outswing entrance doors, but, which swing direction is right for you, and what building codes, if any will apply to your specific desires. This article will explore the in's and out's of door opening directions (the swing) and provide you with pros and cons as well as building code resources for you to consider.
Since every home is different, the decision on which direction the door should open should be based on the construction/layout of your home and your personal needs.
In the Ottawa area, you'll find that a majority of residential front entry doors open inward - and if you ask an installer why, most will tell you that they open inward because of the potential for snow buildup that could prevent a person from leaving a house. This includes single-family, townhomes and multi-family rental and condo units. Just because inward-opening doors have been the Ottawa standard for generations doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider an outward-opening door for your home.
Outswing residential entrance doors are not common in the Ottawa area (about 5% of our entrance door orders represent outswing doors) that doesn’t mean they are not allowed for residential entrance doors under the Ontario Building Code (See OBC 188.8.131.52.(8) & OBC 184.108.40.206. & 220.127.116.11).
Commercial buildings entrance doors on the other hand must always open outward (outswing, not inswing) to prevent possible issues during situations such as fire - quick evacuation.
Sidelites don't really figure into the equation for inswing or outswing doors. Sidelites can be positioned on either or both sides. The door manufacturer will insure that both the hing-side and strike-side of the door meet safety standards in regard to forced entry.
Exterior doors in detached single-family homes, townhomes, rental units and businesses... provide security and serve as a vital means of exit during a fire or other emergencies. Building codes help to ensure that these doors are built and installed to meet national, provincial and local requirements. Depending on where these doors are being installed, manufacturers and contractors abide by building codes that regulate door construction, size and which direction the door opens.
There are several organizations that provide guidance and suggested rules to provincial and local municipalities. Each local government incorporates their own rules, so it's important to check local guidelines before purchasing and installing inswing or outswing doors.
The Ontario Building Code is a regulation under the Building Code Act. It establishes detailed technical and administrative requirements and minimum standards for building construction.
The International Building Code (IBC) is the foundation of the complete family of international codes. It is an essential tool to preserve public health and safety that provides safeguards from hazards associated with the built environment. It addresses the design and installation of innovative materials that meet or exceed public health and safety goals.
Exterior doors require single-operation egress, which means that a person should be able to unlock and open the door using only a single action.
Although this act applies mostly to public buildings and spaces, it involves identifying, removing and preventing barriers in federal jurisdiction. the Accessible Canada Act (ACA) not only applies to the construction of new spaces and buildings, but it also governs organizations that offer goods and services; employ Canadian workers; provide accommodation; use a building and/or operate a business.
If you’re installing a new exterior door, installing an outward-opening door is certainly an out-of-the-ordinary option worth exploring.
If you would like to know more about outswing and inswing door configurations and conditions that may apply to your requirements, please give us a call or request more information via our contact form. We’d be happy to answer all of your questions.