Quality Window & Door Blog

Right Handed vs. Left Handed Doors

So, you’ve decided to replace the doors in your home. Ordering a door with the hinges on the wrong side is a frustrating, expensive mistake. To make sure you get exactly the right swinging direction, you need to understand the difference between a right-handed and left-handed door. Use this guide to eliminate the guesswork when you place your next door order.

Easy Way to Tell a Right-Handed Door from a Left-Handed Door

Stand with your back against the hinged side of the door jamb. If the door opens to your right, this is a right-handed door. If it opens to your left, it’s a left-handed door.

Another easy trick is to stand facing the door on the side that swings away from you. Then, hold up your hands, pretending your wrists are hinges and your hands are doors. If your right hand swings with the “hinges” on the same side as the door in front of you, it’s a right-handed door. If the movement of your left hand matches the door, it’s a left-handed door.

Placing an order for a new door can still be confusing, especially if you order over the phone. After all, you must also specify whether you want your right- handed or left-handed door to swing inward or outward! (Inswing doors open into the interior; outswing doors open to the exterior.) For this reason, it’s best to order doors in person so you can draw a picture of what you’re looking for.

How to Decide Between a Right-Handed or Left-Handed Door

Sometimes, it’s inconsequential which type of door swing you install. Other times, it has a significant effect on the usefulness of the door.

If you have a wall or other obstruction perpendicular to one side of the door, this should be the side the hinges are located. This way, the door opens against the wall, leaving plenty of clearance for you to walk through.

The direction you approach the door from also matters. If you have stairs leading up to a door on a wall parallel to the stairs, you probably want the hinges on the far side of the door so it opens toward the stairs. This prevents you from walking all the way around the door to enter the room.

Reversing Door Swing Direction

If you renovate your home and find that changing the door swing direction would be beneficial, you might be able to do this without replacing the door. You’ll need to modify the position of the hinges and strike plate on the door jamb, as well as reverse the hardware placement on the door.

However, if you don’t have door hanging experience or carpentry skills, it’s probably best to order a new door that swings the preferred way and allow a professional to install it. Just make sure you place your order correctly based on the above tips!

Order Right-Handed and Left-Handed Doors from Quality Window & Door

Whether you’re looking for entry doors, patio doors, or interior doors, we have the products you’re looking for from today’s best brands. Explore different styles, materials, and swing directions to help you discover what will work best.

Do you need more guidance? Want to see our doors in action? If so, please visit one of our local showrooms in Maryland and Northern Virginia. While you’re here, you can ask questions, verify that you understand the difference between a right-handed and left-handed door, and request a free in-home consultation and door installation quote. We’ll help you make the best choice for your DC metro area home!

To learn more, please contact Quality Window & Door.

Timelapse of Sliding Patio Door Installation

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See our Maryland door installation experts in action with this timelapse video of a recent project!