Can we change an exterior door?


We have a rather large laundry room BUT it has 3 doors that are hinged to open inside the room and 1 door that's hinged to open into a bathroom. One of the doors is an exterior door that goes out to our driveway (a side door). It desperately needs to be replaced. I'd like to change how it opens: Instead of opening into the laundry room, I want it to open out to the driveway. Can we do that? And, if so, what does that entail?

  6 answers
  • Mogie Mogie on Jun 10, 2019

    Sorry but I am having a hard time picturing what you are referring to. Could you post a picture that would help immensely?

  • Mindshift Mindshift on Jun 10, 2019

    You can switch an inward swing door to an outward swing door by changing the type of hinges. If you remove the pins from normal hinges the door can be pried open on the hinge side and the lock is useless. The hinges for an outswing door don't allow this to happen even if the pins are removed. See the photo below.

    If you are replacing this door, new hinges would be set on the outside of the stop of the door jamb, the lockset would be reversed and the strike plate moved to the outside also. You could try to buy an outswing exterior door with a frame, but they are generally special order. Regardless, this may not be a DIY project as one has to get everything plumb, level and square.

    Consider whether there will be enough room on the porch or stoop for people to stand while opening the door. You don't want to have to step backwards off the porch each time you enter. Here is a link to a Fine Homebuilding article on this: Check out the comments as well for more insight.

  • You can, but I would think twice about that. Much easier to break into the home. Check your local building code and insurance policy before proceeding.

  • Sharon Roscher Sharon Roscher on Jun 10, 2019

    Thank you so much, Naomie and Mindshift, I never considered having the door swing the other way. I'll have to measure to see if that'll work. The washing machine just might be in the way though. As you can see, the door with the curtain on it opens into the laundry room and right into the door to the right (which is our walk-in pantry). Actually there are 5 doors leading into and out of this area. 3 that open into the laundry room (the two top pictures); and1 that opens into the backyard; and, 1 that opens into a bathroom - plus the one that goes into the kitchen (up 5 stairs) - don't have a picture of it but it's just to the right of the pantry in Pic. #2. BTW, we hide our 3-bag laundry cart in between the washer & dryer (behind the white curtain)

  • Sharon Roscher Sharon Roscher on Jun 11, 2019

    Thank you, Naomie. It's actually an old Spanish/Med 11-room home with way too many rooms to clean for just the two of us now that all the kids are gone. Even with all 26 stairs inside, we do enjoy it! I can't begin to tell you how many DIY projects we've done since buying it in 1990 from the original owner (who, BTW, gave birth to 2 sets of twins right here in this house - such a brave lady!)

  • Zard Pocleeb Zard Pocleeb on Dec 02, 2020

    You can definitely do so. The best way to do so is to replace the door and frame at the same time. You would replace it with what’s known as a pre-hung door. The door and frame come as one’ll just need to buy a new handle/deadbolt for it. You can also reuse what’s on the existing door. First, measure the width of the door. Doors are sold in standard widths such as 24”, 28”, 30”, 32”, 36”. As long as the door is a standard width you can get a new one at Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc. Doors go by left swing, or right swing. To determine which you need you can stand with your back to the side of the frame with the hinges. If the door opens to the right, you’ll need a left swing door to change which way it opens. As far as installation, it’s a pretty straight forward job, and it only requires some shims, also available at Lowe’s, Home Depot, and and standard tools, to include a 4’ level. There are lots of good videos on YouTub for information on installation.

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