I’ve talked about fixing common door issues in the past like fixing a sagging door, but there is a simple bit of info on doors that trips a lot of people up I want t cover today. Determining door handedness is an extremely important part of any door install, and it’s not difficult but a lot of folks have a hard time remembering how it’s done.
Is your door inswing or outswing? Is it right-handed or left-handed? Simple questions that have major consequences like ordering the wrong hinges, lockset, threshold or other door components.
I’ll walk you through the simple ways to make the correct determination so you never have to worry again about door handedness.
Inswing vs Outswing
It may seem simple for exterior doors, right? An outswing door swings toward the outside and an inswing door swing toward the inside of the building.
Some people get confused when it comes to interior doors though, but the same principle applies just in relation to the room the door accesses.
For interior doors, a door is said to be an inswing door if it swings into the room. Say for example, you access your bedroom by opening the door inward toward the bedroom which is most common. This is then an inswing door. If that same door opens out into the hallway then it would be an outswing door. Got it? Good.
Door handedness take it one step further and this is important because some of the elements I mentioned earlier like hinges and locksets are designed to work in only one direction.
Plus if you are ordering a new door you need to be sure you are buying the right layout for your needs.
The simplest way to determine door handedness is to open the door all the way and stand in the jamb with your back against the hinges. Whichever hand is closest to the doorknob determines the handedness of the door.
For example, if standing against the hinges your would reach the doorknob most easily with your right hand then you have a right-handed door.
Putting it All Together
So, now you can put all that information together to give your door its proper name. For example, a door that swings into your bedroom, and with your back against the hinge side of the jamb, the door knob is on your right side means you have a right-hand inswing door.
You can use these simple tricks to determine door handedness on any door now and feel confident that you are speaking educately about doors.
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.
2 thoughts on “How To: Determine Door Handedness”
Nice article thanks for explaining in brief..
But………….is there a right or wrong to right-handed or left-handed swing? My bedroom door is an inward swing, left-handed door. Unfortunately, the light switch ended up on the wall behind the door, but the path into the room seems correct. I’ve been thinking about moving the switch but maybe I should turn the door around. Thanks.