How To Change Door From Inswing To Outswing: A Step-By-Step Guide

While for some people the direction of the door swing might not make too much of a difference, for others, it is a quite important matter. When you think about it, by changing the door opening direction, you can also rearrange your space.

Whether you’re looking to create more space in your home, or you simply find an inswing door a nuisance – this is something you can do on your own, without having to contact a handyman. In this guide, we will show you how to change a door from inswing to outswing in no time. 

Inswing vs outswing doors

Before we get into the actual process of changing your door swing, we believe that it’s important to present the pros and cons of both options – just so you know what each of them has to offer.

Even though this process is always reversible, it’s better to know all the facts beforehand. After going through all the downsides and advantages of both types, you may even decide to stick with your inswing doors.

Inswing doors

Let’s start with the advantages of this door style that you may not even be aware of. When a door swings inwards, this means that all the hinges are located on the inside, which is an important safety factor

What’s more, if you live in an area where the winter gets quite snowy, you may want to stick with your inswing doors. Sometimes, the drifting and accumulation in the snowy weather makes it impossible to open your door outwards. 

On the other hand, one of the reasons why you may be looking to reverse a door swing is the fact that they require much more interior space than outswing doors. Since you’re opening the doors into the home, you’ll have to leave enough space for them to fully open

Many people find it much more convenient to change an inswing door to an outswing due to space issues. Instead of leaving that much space for the door, you can fill the area with your desired furniture, or simply have more free space that makes the room look bigger.

Also, it is important to mention that inswing doors are easier to force open, which takes away from the security they provide with the indoor hinges. Moreover, their design is much more vulnerable to the weather – especially wind and rain. 

In case you decide to stick with inswing doors, it is always better to go for a wood exterior, as it is much more durable and suitable for different weather conditions than other materials. 

Finally, this type of door isn’t as easy to operate, since the waterproof materials used for their elements often cause friction

Outswing doors

With outswing doors, you don’t have to worry about leaving any space for them inside your house, which makes it a lot easier to plan your interior and organize the furniture in the room.

Also, many people find outswing doors to be much more durable, as they’re specifically designed to be waterproof. Also, they don’t require as much space on the outside, which means they won’t compromise the space of your outside porch or patio. 

When it comes to forcing them open, they’re usually not as easy to kick in as the inswing door. Another advantage of their design is that it is much harder for the rain and the snow to enter your house. 

The downside of having an outswing door is that the hinges are outside, which may make it easier for someone to break them. However, this can easily be taken care of if you choose quality hinges that have security features and don’t include removable pins. 

The weather factor is only relevant if you’re looking to change the exterior door from inswing to outswing. In case you’re considering doing this for an interior door, the main deciding factors should be the space you’re looking to create, and convenience.

How to make a door swing out instead of in

Once you’ve made up your mind and you’ve decided to change the door opening direction, you will need to gather and/or purchase the necessary material to do this on your own. If you’re dealing with a heavy swing door, always make sure to have some assistance.

Changing a door swing usually requires the following tools and materials:

  1. tape measure
  2. pencil
  3. flathead screwdriver
  4. hammer
  5. nail punch
  6. router
  7. putty knife
  8. sandpaper
  9. paintbrush
  10. vice grip
  11. primer
  12. paint
  13. wood filler/putty 
  14. non-removable pin hinges (for extra security)

Of course, the necessary tools and materials may vary depending on whether you’re looking to change an indoor door from inswing to outswing, or you’re looking to do this with an exterior door.

Also, the materials and tools may depend on the design of the door, the materials, as well as the overall quality of the door.

Another important factor to consider before deciding to change the direction of your door are the building codes in your local ordinance. While the door swing is not regulated by The International Residential Code (IRC), you still want to check local codes on this matter.

Below you will find our step-by-step guide to change your door from inswing to outswing.

1. Removing the door from its hinges

First, you want to check if the hinges on your door have bottom caps, and make sure to remove them. In order to remove the door from the hinges, it is necessary to use a hammer and a screwdriver as a wedge to tap the hinges out of place.

In case you have a vice grip, this will make the entire process much easier. You can simply use it to grab onto the cap and remove them so you can remove the door fully. To remove the pins out of the hinges, you’ll need a nail punch and a hammer.

Stick a nail punch up the hinge and use a hammer to tap all the pins out of the hinge. Also, you need to start all the hinges prior to removing them. Now that you’ve removed a pin, you can tilt the door as necessary to keep the other pins in place. 

Once you’ve removed every single pin, you should be able to effortlessly remove the door. As we’ve mentioned, some doors can be quite heavy, so you want to ensure you have some assistance before attempting this step.

Using a power drill, remove the strike plates (metal pieces around the bolt hole), as well as the hinge. 

2. Adjusting the hinge plate

On the other side of the doorjamb, you will need to cut out the hinge recesses using a router or a chisel, depending on what you have. Repeat this step for the strike plate, as well as the hole for the door bolt. 

After completing this step, use a drill to create pilot holes for the screws to go in. Holding the hinge plate up to the door jamb, take a pencil and mark where these pilot holes should be. This will help you to drill the holes accurately.

When screwing the hinge plate in, you want to make sure that the screw heads are in all the way, and there is no space left so that the plate is secure. Also, not adjusting them properly may result in the door not being able to open all the way.

3. Repairing and painting

When it comes to repairing the area and painting over the spots where you’ve set up the new hinges, we recommend doing this only after you’ve properly adjusted them. Make sure everything’s aligned – especially the bolt hole and the recesses.

Once you’ve ensured that everything’s in place and in line with the old recesses and bolt holes, you can begin the repair stage. First, you want to make sure to clean the area properly and sand it to prepare it for the putty and the paint. 

For the repairs, you can either use wood filler or putty. Fill in the recesses on the opposite side of the doorjamb. Also, in case you have a doorstop on the wall, make sure to relocate it according to the new swing direction of the door, and fix up the wall once you remove it. 

4. Rehanging the door

Using a screwdriver, reverse the striker and the doorknob to prepare them. Make sure that the level of the striker is in alignment with the jamb – if it’s not, you may not be able to properly close the door, so take your time with this step. 

Also, before you rehang the door, remove any weather-stripping. Check if the hinge holes require any additional drilling. Once you’ve checked that, it is time to rehang the door.

Ensure that the door is standing correctly in the jamb, and line both sides of the hinges. If you’re completed all the previous steps successfully, you will feel the pins sliding right back into place. 

5. Finishing touches

Once you’ve placed the door back, you’ll know exactly where you should drill the doorjamb, since the bolt will leave a clear mark. Drill the bolt hole, and then polish up the surrounding area using a router or chisel to remove the recess. 

Also, check if the leading edge is extending beyond the doorjamb when you hold the strike plate up to the jamb. If this is the case, you’ve successfully rehung the door and changed the direction of the swing!

Can you change the door from inswing to outswing?

Changing the direction of your door swing from inswing to outswing has many advantages. It is safer, more convenient, and also a better choice when it comes to durability and susceptibility to different weather conditions.

On top of that, if you change an interior door from inswing to outswing, you’ll appreciate all the extra space you’ll get by completing this small, yet important change. Sometimes even the smallest alterations to our living space can make a huge impact. 

Before attempting this DIY project, it is important to have all the materials and tools ready, and have some assistance in case you’re dealing with a heavy door. Actually, even if the door weight is not the issue, a little bit of assistance won’t hurt!

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