Swing doors make indoor outdoor access quick and easy. Our swing doors also make it elegant — with wider and taller door panels and a larger glass area. If you’re looking to add a swinging door or French patio doors to your home, here are some things you need to know — including the difference between outswing vs. inswing, left swing vs. right swing, and more.

Outswing Door vs. Inswing Door: Which is Which?

Determining a door’s swing is easy. For exterior doors, imagine yourself outside and ready to walk inside. If you push the door to open it, it’s an inswing door. If you pull the door to open it, it’s an outswing door.  

For interior doors, think of where you are now and the space you’re about to enter. For instance, if you’re in a hallway and entering the laundry room, you’ll push open an inswinging door or pull open an outswinging door. 

Right Swing vs. Left Swing Doors: What's the Difference?

“Left vs. right swing” can be a little misleading. “Swing” has more to do with whether the door moves inward or outward from an “outside” perspective. “Right vs. left” describes the handing of the door. But left swing and right swing are such common industry terms that it helps to understand both concepts.  

Here are two ways to find the handing, or “right vs. left swing.”  

Method #1: Face the door so it pulls toward you. Note which side the door handle is on. If the handle is on the left side, this door is a left-hand swing or left-hand door. If the handle is on the right side, this door is a right-hand swing or right-hand door.  

Method #2: With the door all the way open, stand with your back against the hinges. If your back is to the hinges and the door opens to your left (or swings to your left), it’s a left-hand door or left-hand swing. If your back is to the hinges and the door opens to your right (or swings to your right), it’s a right-hand door or right-hand swing. 

Understanding swing and handing is helpful, as doors are sometimes referred to as “left-hand outswing” or “inswinging right-hand.” Use the steps above, and you’ll be good to go. 

Swing Doors: Some Things to Consider

Faster Access. Whether used in exterior or interior applications, swing doors create the easiest, fastest access between spaces. That’s why more complex door systems, such as folding doors, often include a swinging panel as a daily passage door or everyday door — when you’re just popping in or out briefly, it’s easier to go through the daily door than to operate the larger door system. 

Smaller Spaces. Swing doors are often the smart choice based on available space. Sliding doors and folding door systems are ideal when you want to open a portion of a wall to the outdoors. But sometimes a space will only allow for a simple passage between indoors and out. A larger, full-lite inswing or outswing door (or French doors) can add daylighting as well as security and an impressive entry size.

Room to Swing. Like folding door panels that gather to one side, swing doors require space to operate. Consider the location and direction of the swing (inward or outward) before you buy. For example, if you have outside stairs leading to an exterior door, an outward swinging door might push visitors backward down the stairs — not an ideal scenario. An inward swinging door would be the better choice in that situation.

The Weather where you Live.  Climate and building codes can mandate the direction of your swing doors. For instance, in areas where high winds, hurricanes, and tornadoes are common, building codes will often require outward swing doors, which offer more stability against the pressure of winds pushing against the home. Similarly, inward swing doors may be recommended or required for snow-prone areas to avoid the possibility of homeowners becoming trapped inside if a large amount of snow builds up against the door.

What sets LaCantina Swing Doors Apart?

LaCantina inward swinging and outward swinging doors are engineered for wider and taller openings, creating a luxurious sense of space and inviting in more daylight. Heavy-duty stainless steel hinges ensure smooth operation even with the weight of a larger door panel. Plus, our swing patio doors feature the same narrow stile and rail profile as our sliding and folding doors, so these different systems will match precisely and beautifully when used together in any combination. 

Our single swing and double swing door options include a choice of sills based on your needs for weather performance and/or ease of accessibility; thermal breaks to ensure indoor comfort in hot or cold climates; and energy-efficient performance glass that delivers exceptional comfort and energy savings year-round. 

Learn more about LaCantina’s swing door systems here.