Selecting Between Right- and Left-Handed Doors
If you’ve decided to replace a door in your home, whether an entry door, security door or any other type, you have several important choices to make. Door material, door size and door color are all vital areas to consider, and may have a significant impact on both home value and practical use.
At Price’s Guaranteed Doors, we’re proud to offer a wide variety of entry doors and other door types for you to choose from, plus expertise on the important factors in this choice. One extremely simple area, yet one that often doesn’t receive enough attention during door selection? Whether you want a right-handed or left-handed door. Let’s dig into what we mean by this and what you need to consider in this area.
Telling Them Apart
Choosing between right- and left-handed doors comes with some of the same factors as choosing between inswing and outswing doors, but with a few important differences as well. There are a couple different ways you can figure out whether a current door in your home is a right-handed or left-handed door:
- Stand with your back facing your door, specifically against the hinged side of the door jam. If the door opens to your right from this angle, you have a right-handed door. If it opens to the left, you have a left-handed door.
- Stand on the side of the door that swings away from you, facing the door. Hold up your hands, mimicking hinges with your wrists and the door itself with your palms. If the your right hand mimics the way the door swings, you have a right-handed door. If it’s the left, vice-versa.
When placing an order for a door, you will have to specify not only the right- or left-handed nature of it, but also whether it swings inward or outward.
In many cases, however, this process is actually far simpler and doesn’t require these tests. Rather, you will simply use the door swing direction code that’s already present to guide you here – for instance, if you’re buying a door over the phone or online, knowing this door swing direction code will be very important.
Why It Matters
In many cases, the handedness of your door only really matters for personal preference reasons. But in other cases – such as when you have an obstruction on one side or the other, or when opening space is limited by some other factor – it can be very important and impact functionality. When obstructions are present, you should be placing hinges on that side of the door, allowing it to open against a wall so there’s plenty of walking space.
In addition, consider the direction from which you approach the door. Stairs or other notable areas near the door area may impact the direction you want the hinges to face.
Rough Opening Considerations
What if you’re dealing with a rough opening while selecting your door? For those who are unaware, the term “rough opening” refers to a space that exists in a framed wall that’s available for a door or window to be installed, but has not had any previous installation within it. Rough openings are most common while performing new construction or a room addition.
If you’re looking to install a new door in a rough opening space and aren’t sure which handed door to choose, the important factor here is home layout. If the door is inside and you want it to swing inward, it will typically open into the wall closest to the hinge – this leaves space open in the room when the door is open, so it isn’t in the way. Whichever direction the hinges are within the room you plan to install this door in will dictate your left- or right-handed door selection.
Reversing Swing Direction
If you need to reverse the handedness of your door, this is often possible without a replacement or additional hassle. You will have to change the way the hinges and strike plate of the door are placed, plus reverse the hardware placement. If you aren’t experienced in this field, we might recommend leaving this to professionals for a high-quality, safe job.
Limiting Left-Handed Door Concerns
There are a few situations where a left-handed door specifically may cause a few potential issues or concerns. For bathroom entries commonly used by older adults, for instance, opening in a way that leaves space open is vital – in some such settings, a left-handed door would not be a safe option.
In some cases, this sort of situation or others like it might allow for you to simply install a left-hand outswing door. But if you’re in a compact area within the home, door swing direction codes tend to require that all interior doors swing inward – meaning you have to simply find the space or consider a different setup.
One solution that’s often considered in this situation is known as a pocket door, a sliding door that’s able to disappear into an adjacent wall. While these are commonly used for architectural and aesthetic purposes, they’re also ideal practically for those in this sort of situation. In cases where a left- or right-handed door is strongly preferred but space makes that choice impossible, the pocket door is often a great alternative.
For more on whether you want a right- or left-handed door, or to learn about any of our entry doors, garage doors or other services, speak to the staff at Price’s Guaranteed Doors today.