How Do You Determine an Exterior Door Swing?

How Do You Determine an Exterior Door Swing? Your DIY Help is Here.

How do you determine an exterior door swing, or its “handing”? Right-handed or left-handed, inswinging or outswinging? You need to know what these terms mean. The internet is full of suggestions, but you need a simple direct explanation, all in one place. Read on to find your guide here. 

And if you’re still not sure about door swings prior to purchasing, visit a Builders Surplus store! We can answer your questions and have many styles of doors available to fit your home.

Builders Surplus offers substantial savings to local homeowners, contractors, and remodelers. Getting you a great deal means knowing how to buy. We seek out, find, and offer an amazing variety of first-quality home improvement products. 

Get in touch with us online or pop into one of our stores across New England. 



How do you determine an exterior door swing?

To make sure you buy the correct exterior door, there are some things you need to know.  Both the desired handing and whether it is inswinging or outswinging will make all the difference when it’s time to install your door. So, how do you determine an exterior door swing?

Inswing vs. outswing

Typically exterior doors swing inward, aka “inswinging.” This just means opening into your home, rather than “outswinging” or pulling towards you when you’re entering from outside. But both are available, so you want to make sure of what you need. Simply stand where your existing door is located and observe whether it comes towards inside or outside when you open it.

You also need to know if it’s right-handed or left-handed.

Left- or right-handed

Whether the door is right or left-handed refers to what side the doorknob is located on. How can you tell, when a door has two sides? Here’s a simple way to figure out what you need to know. 

Open the door and stand with your back against the jamb on the hinge side.  If your left hand is nearer the doorknob, then the door is left-handed.  If your right hand is nearer the doorknob, then the door is right-handed.

If you are installing a door into a rough opening, rather than replacing an existing door, you’ll need to know which side of the frame you plan to place the hinges on, and which side will have the doorknob or lock.

Your project starts with Builders Surplus

When it comes to exterior doors, you have many options for style. A decorative glass single door or a front entrance door with sidelights lends your home beauty. Or maybe you want prefinished fiberglass, steel, or a classic wooden door for a front or back entry. Builders Surplus has them all.

We’re happy to assist you with your questions, whether it’s “how do you determine an exterior door swing?” or something else.

At Builders Surplus, our eye for quality and good value lets us offer you the best for less. We’ve served New England’s DIY homeowners, remodelers, and local contractors for over three decades. 


Call 866-739-1636 or get in touch with the friendly staff at your local store


how do you determine an exterior door swing

Photos courtesy of Sandra Winter.