Garage Side Door Open In Or Out [IRC Code, Pros, Cons]

Many homeowners find themselves in a dilemma with the orientation of the side door of their garage. Should it swing inward or outward?

This seemingly simple decision can impact functionality, security, and convenience. Amidst this dilemma, there lies a quest for the optimal choice, balancing practicality and safety. So, which direction should your garage side door open?

IRC (International Residential Code) Compliant Code For a Side Door In A Garage

R302.5.1 Opening Protection
Doors opening into or out of the garage shall be equipped with solid wood doors not less than 1-3/8 inches (35 mm) in thickness, solid or honeycomb core steel doors not less than 1-3/8 inches (35 mm) thick, or 20-minute fire-rated doors.

This code mandates that doors leading into or out of the garage must meet certain thickness and material requirements to ensure adequate protection against fire and other hazards. it’s important to consult with local building authorities and adhere to any additional codes or regulations specific to your area.

Also Read: How To Drywall Around A Garage Door [Door Track, Support Bracket, Edge, Ceiling]

Door Between House and Garage: Can It Swing In Or Out

Every aspect comes with some pros and cons.

Swinging Inward: Pros and Cons


  1. Space Saving: Inward-opening swinging doors utilize the interior space of the garage, making them suitable for tight spaces or narrow driveways.
  2. Protection From Elements: By opening inward, the door provides a natural barrier against harsh weather conditions, ensuring better insulation and protection for items stored inside the garage.


  1. Potential Obstruction: The inward swing may pose obstacles if items are placed too close to the door’s path, hindering accessibility.
  2. Safety Concerns: In an emergency, such as a fire or structural damage, an inward swinging door might impede a swift exit, potentially endangering occupants.

Swinging Outward: Pros and Cons


  1. Unrestricted Interior Space: Outward swinging doors free up valuable interior space, allowing for easier movement of vehicles, equipment, and storage items within the garage.
  2. Enhanced Safety: In the event of an emergency, an outward swinging door provides unobstructed egress, facilitating a quicker and safer exit from the garage.


  1. Weather Vulnerability: Unlike inward-swinging doors, outward-swinging ones are exposed to the elements, potentially leading to weather damage over time.
  2. Security Challenges: Outward swinging doors may be more susceptible to forced entry attempts, as the hinges are located on the exterior, offering easier access for intruders.


While both options present distinct advantages and disadvantages, the decision ultimately hinges on your specific needs, preferences, and the layout of your garage. For tighter spaces or areas prone to inclement weather, an inward swinging door may be the more practical choice.

Conversely, if maximizing interior space and ensuring swift emergency exits are top priorities, an outward swinging door could be the optimal solution.

In, conclusion, the orientation of your garage side door is a nuanced decision that warrants careful consideration. By weighing the pros and cons of each option and assessing your requirements, you can make an informed choice that enhances the functionality, security, and convenience of your garage space. So, whether it swings in or out, may your decision lead to seamless access and peace of mind.


Q.1 Can a garage door swing into the garage?

Ans: Yes, a garage door can swing into the garage. However, this idea may limit interior space and pose potential safety hazards if obstructed.

Q.2 What is the door swing from the garage to the house code?

Ans: There isn’t a specific code dictating the swing direction of a garage side door. However, for the safety of your family in case of accidental fire or explosion, it’s recommended that your garage side door swings outward to allow for easier egress. This configuration also helps prevent the door from being blocked by vehicles or other items stored in the garage.

About The Author


Adam is here, I'm an Editor and writer on guidingpapa. I love to share home improvement tips and new ideas in this blog. I have been doing this from couple of years and I'm very passionate about it.

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