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  1. #1
    Dave Hill's Avatar
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    Default Exterior door, hinges on outside

    Hi guys,

    Is there a code against exterior doors opening to the outside, or having the hinges on the exterior? I know it's not a good idea for security reasons.

    I have a client that is asking how to make his French Doors more secure. The hinges are on the outside, and he's worried about someone removing the pins and ripping him off. I know they make "secure" hinges with a set screw to hold the pin, but how secure is that?

    Any quality advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

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    Dave Hill
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Exterior door, hinges on outside

    Is there a code against exterior doors opening to the outside, or having the hinges on the exterior?
    No

    I know it's not a good idea for security reasons.
    Not necessarily, in fact, the door is more resistant to force.

    I have a client that is asking how to make his French Doors more secure. The hinges are on the outside, and he's worried about someone removing the pins and ripping him off. I know they make "secure" hinges with a set screw to hold the pin, but how secure is that?
    Most exterior type hinges have a tab or bolt built into the hinge that prevents the door from being removed even if the pin is removed. Check it likely there.

    This is a example on a security hinge.
    4 x 4 x 5/8 Radius x Sq Corners Steel Hinge with Security Lock Tabs, Pair, Deltana DE44058TT - DoorWare.com

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  3. #3
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior door, hinges on outside

    I feel pretty safe on this one, there are no codes against exterior doors opening to the outside.

    As far as the hinges go, the ones with the set screw or the type that have the punch out are extremely secure, especially compared to the security of french doors. Breaking the glass or forcing the door open by bending or busting the jamb at the head and foot bolt would be much easier than removing the hinges.

    You would actually be surprised at how difficult it is to open a door by removing the hinge pins with standard hinges, if the door is shimmed properly.


    Edit: Just seen Rick's post and the security lock tabs are what I was calling punch outs, there are also non removable hinge pins.
    Buy the National Manufacturing Sales Co. - 505bc 4x4 Ps Tp Hinge at TheHardwareCity.com

    Last edited by chris mcintyre; 06-05-2010 at 04:16 PM.

  4. #4
    Mike Lamb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior door, hinges on outside

    There's no code restriction although in snow country, swing out would be a bad idea. I don't think you would have that problem.

    Chris is right, forget the hinges, with a decent pry bar (or two) and a small amount of muscle, a thief can break into 99% of the doors out there at the lock location with ease. The door splits or the jamb splits. The locks usually hold just fine.


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    Default Re: Exterior door, hinges on outside

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lamb View Post
    There's no code restriction although in snow country, swing out would be a bad idea.
    Actually, in Sweden (which is certainly snow country), it's common practice to have the main entry door swing out. The school of thought is that it's more energy efficient. The wind tends to push the door shut more securely against the seals.

    I understand the concern about snow preventing it from opening. It tends not to be a problem. My door opens in, and I have a storm door, which swings out. I've never had snow against the door. I have a small (4' deep) landing and a roof over the landing. The landing is 4 steps above grade. The only caveat to outward swinging doors would be that the door can't swing over stairs.

    As far as the code goes, not only is there nothing that prohibits it, but the code requires outward swinging doors for many commercial buildings, depending on the occupant load.


  6. #6
    Dave Hill's Avatar
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    Wink Re: Exterior door, hinges on outside

    Thanks for the input guys! I looked through my 2006 IRC and didn't see any codes about this, but wanted to run it by some experts.
    Wish me luck trying to appease the client, and explain that I didn't really miss anything important with his inspection. I'll still probably throw a couple of secure hinges his way, just as a good faith measure.

    Dave Hill
    Buyers & Sellers Property Inspections LLC
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    Default Re: Exterior door, hinges on outside

    "Wish me luck trying to appease the client, and explain that I didn't really miss anything important with his inspection. I'll still probably throw a couple of secure hinges his way, just as a good faith measure."

    Is there something you would like to tell us?

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Exterior door, hinges on outside

    They all swing out with exterior hinges here in recent years. Think hurricanes.

    Paul Kondzich
    Ft. Myers, FL.

  9. #9
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior door, hinges on outside

    Must be a Florida thing Paul. I do a lot of new homes in the Houston area and cant think of any that have had the door swing out.


    "They all swing out with exterior hinges here in recent years. Think hurricanes."


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Exterior door, hinges on outside

    I'm really not sure how secure hinges will make a French door more secure. Any self-respecting crook would just break the glass.


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    Default Re: Exterior door, hinges on outside

    "I'm really not sure how secure hinges will make a French door more secure. Any self-respecting crook would just break the glass."

    Security hinges just add one more layer to home safety.
    There is also window film, Do It Yourself Window Security Film, Hurricane Film, Laminate, Security Window Tint - Tampa, Florida
    Jamb plates, DOOR SECURITY PRO DOOR SECURITY GUARD - FREE SHIPPING FROM FACTORY
    Even a screen door lock will help.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Exterior door, hinges on outside

    While some people worry about hinges, the thieves are just finding an easier way in. Here's one example.......
    YouTube - Breaking into a Garage

    If I wanted to break into a house, I wouldn't mess with hinges. There's easier and quicker ways to break into a house.


  13. #13
    Vern Heiler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior door, hinges on outside

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Whitmore View Post
    While some people worry about hinges, the thieves are just finding an easier way in. Here's one example.......
    YouTube - Breaking into a Garage

    If I wanted to break into a house, I wouldn't mess with hinges. There's easier and quicker ways to break into a house.
    If you want to keep them awake all night, google "bump key". Recommend they get a dog!

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  14. #14
    Corn Walker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior door, hinges on outside

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hill View Post
    Is there a code against exterior doors opening to the outside, or having the hinges on the exterior?
    The only code issue is that there be an appropriate landing at the exterior if the doors swing out.

    As for security hinges, it depends on the doors whether this is something you can use or not. For example, both Marvin's Ultimate French Doors and Andersen's Frenchwood doors have adjustable hinges that you probably don't want to replace with security hinges that may cause the door to fit improperly.


  15. #15
    Gabe S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior door, hinges on outside

    I would be annoyed with an outward swinging front door. The appearance would bother me. How about a screen door. You install it on the inside and the just leave the front door open?

    I would turn it around. What's the reason it was installed that way in the first place?


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Exterior door, hinges on outside

    "I would be annoyed with an outward swinging front door. "


    Gabe
    I have seen outward swing front doors.
    The OP is talking about French doors, I don't think they are on the front though.
    This is a link to a discussion on outward swing French doors, and why they can be desirable for some people.

    French Doors... out or in-swing? - Windows Forum - GardenWeb

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  17. #17
    Gabe S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior door, hinges on outside

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    "I would be annoyed with an outward swinging front door. "


    Gabe
    I have seen outward swing front doors.
    The OP is talking about French doors, I don't think they are on the front though.
    This is a link to a discussion on outward swing French doors, and why they can be desirable for some people.

    French Doors... out or in-swing? - Windows Forum - GardenWeb
    Thanks for the link. It was interesting. Unbelievable how much can go into each decision for every aspect of your house.


  18. #18
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior door, hinges on outside

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabe S View Post
    I would be annoyed with an outward swinging front door. The appearance would bother me. How about a screen door. You install it on the inside and the just leave the front door open?
    Seldom laid out where installing a screen door inside would work, at least from what I've seen in Florida.

    What's the reason it was installed that way in the first place?
    Many houses in South Florida had outswing doors installed over many years, the reason was that an outswing door is more resistant to both wind (think hurricanes) and wind driven rain (the wind pushes the door tighter to the weather stripping and jambs).

    An inswing door is only as strong as the latch bolt and the jamb at that location, and the wind pushes the door in away from the weather stripping.

    Now, in the last 10 years, maybe 15 years (things started changing after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and underwent more changes after the two active hurricane seasons in 2004-2005 when the rest of Florida and the US was reminded that hurricanes do not hit South Florida only), doors are designed, engineered, and tested for pressure and most doors (virtually all in newer residences) are now inswing.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Exterior door, hinges on outside

    Door swing and accomodating screening for openings isn't nearly the issue it once was with the advent of retractable screening.

    Self storing doors (operable windows) with retractable screening, and both vertical and horizontal retractable screening (often incorporated into its own self storing pocket built into the hidden and faced head or side jamb) are affordable and sought after options.

    Advantages to such screening include: no need to have an opposing swing direction storm/screen door; screening not exposed when not in use (maintaining a cleaner screen, ease of maintaining cleanliness of exterior glass, etc.

    Retrofit kits from manufacturers, and universal kits are also available in a variety of strength and screening materials (not just cheap nylon and more than one grade of metal screening material) which hardware can be attached to the existing jamb(s) which likewise does not interfere with security latching bolts already in place.

    Point being, if appropriate landing conditions, there are fewer "cons" to an outswing door then has been suggested. "Pros" include increased usable floor area within the conditioned envelope of the home (no need to exclude more than the approach and path, unlike an inswing door).

    However, I am of the opinion that when it comes to PRIMARY egress/escape routes versus secondary doors circumstances there should be some options for escape which are not able to be easily blocked from the exterior by intent, nature, or accident.

    Case in point, an estranged spouse who wedged outswing doors prior to committing an arson, thereby effectively trapping the occupants (who were overcome and died prior to being burned, and not able to be revived). Although outswing doors are often mandated for escape exits with places of assembly, there should be alternative paths which can not be blocked from the exterior.


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