Doors and the way they open

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Evangelion, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    #1
    Why do doors in different countries open in different directions? At least in USA doors open towards the inside, whereas in Finland they open to the outside?

    Common sense suggests that doors that open outside are a lot harder to kick open, since it would be the frame of the door that absorbs the hit, in addition to any locks and bolts that might be present. Whereas door that open to the inside would have to rely on the bolts alone. Now, that may or may not be relevant to everyday-situations but still.

    Is there any reason, historical or otherwise why doors open the way they do?
     
  2. macrumors 603

    Markleshark

    Joined:
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    #2
    There you go you see, I thought all doors opened the same way.

    I have no idea why they do, but I have learned something.
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    c-Row

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    #3
    If there are stairs outside, it would be a bit "uncomfortable" for the person standing in front of that door as soon as it opens. ;)
     
  4. macrumors 65816

    tMac85

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    #4
    the way doors open depends on the room and the building. Exterior doors always open out. interior doors always open in unless the room followed is to small to enter(closet). When it comes to public buildings it changes a little depending on ocupancy and "in the case of emergency" therefore all rooms seating/holding more than one hundreds persons will have doors opening out (theatres). its code. And as far as I understand its pretty much the same world wide.
    -tim... Your friendly architect
    hope this. Helps
     
  5. macrumors Core

    iBlue

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, England
    #5
    You understand incorrectly. Well, at least partly...

    A great deal of (public) doors in the UK open towards the building. I've always thought it was strange because if there were an emergency it might be a problem. (someone has to hold the damn door open instead of just pushing it and running out)

    I think the reasoning is that there are people on the street who are more likely to be hit with the door, so they open in.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Jan 10, 2005
    #6
    I clearly remember seeing (over and over again) how exterior doors in USA open in to the apartment. Or is it so that if you have a house, the door opens to the outside (since the door is outside), whereas in apartments (where the door might be inside a stairwell) they open to the inside?

    Naturally doors of public buildings open outside here as well, but we never paid any attention to that, since just about all doors open to the outside. Interior doors open outside, exterior doors open to the outside...
     
  7. Ish
    macrumors 68000

    Ish

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    UK
    #7
    When we were building our house we had some brochures from a number of timber frame companies and I noticed that the Scandinavian ones typically had exterior doors that opened outwards which, they said, was in response to the climate.

    But, as you say, Evangelion, it would have a security advantage too though probably not the reason for it in Scandinavian countries. Don't think the crime rate there is that high. [Wonder if that's because it's hardly ever dark in the summer and in the winter it's too flipping cold!]
     
  8. macrumors 65816

    tMac85

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    #8
    apartment buildings are considered public and in certian situations the way it swings can change. Because the door is leading you into a hall way it will open in. Also if you have anytype of predoor (screen door) on your house your door will then open in but only on private homes not public. There are lots of exceptions and the architect has to way out emergency over practicality all the time or he could face big problems in the end. I'm not sure then how it works in the UK you must have different codes than the states
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #9
    I thought about climate-issues, but I'm not sure how outward-opening doors help there. What we usually have, is that after you open the door, and step inside, you enter a tiny room (about 1m x 1m, maybe a bit more, it depends) where you leave your shoes (that's another cultural difference: you don't wear shoes in the house, whereas in USA and UK you do. That is most certainly due to the climate), that has another door that leads deeper in to the house. Think of it as an airlock or something. the rationale is that when you open the outside door, you don't get a rush of cold air in to the house.

    I don't think they designed the doors that way because of crime :). Crime was just something I noticed because in the Hollywood-movies, the bad guys are always kicking in doors with ease.
     
  10. Ish
    macrumors 68000

    Ish

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    #10
    No, I'm not sure how they help either, which is why I was a bit non-committal! Thinking about it though, if the door opens outwards, the raised weather strip will be on the inside and the wet won't come through, whereas if it's on the outside, the wet can get between that and the door.

    So are the police!! :D
     
  11. macrumors G3

    bigandy

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    Murka
    #11
    I guess the general consensus is that people are far happier with doors that swing both ways ;)
     
  12. macrumors 68040

    pachyderm

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    #12
    i work in special ed. you'd be surprised how tricky they,doors, can be for some folks! :p:) seriously...
     
  13. macrumors member

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    Location:
    Chicago
    #13
    I don't know about large buildings like office buildings, but every door other than screen/storm doors in a single family house or small apartment building I can think of opens in. As I understand it this is so in case of fire if something or someone falls in front of the door it won't be blocked, which it would be if it opened out.

    Years ago my roommate went semi-nuts and was in the psychiatric ward of the hospital for a few days. The patient rooms had regular style hospital room doors that opened in for fire safety, but they had another, smaller door cut into the center of the regular door that opened outward, so if the patient barricaded himself in the room the staff could open the smaller door and enter the room.
     
  14. macrumors 68000

    Lyle

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    Location:
    Madison, Alabama
    #14
    This thread has gone on entirely too long without anyone bringing up Donald Norman's book The Design of Everyday Things (a.k.a. The Psychology of Everyday Things). It's been a little while since I last read it, but I know that one of the examples he uses has to do with how doors are designed, and where the handles are placed, and so on.
     
  15. macrumors regular

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    On the road
  16. thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #16
    The the funny thing is that I actually have that book sitting in my bookshelf :eek:
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    Cloudane

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    #17
    Just when you think you've discussed everything you can on the internet from politics and religion right down to which hand you hold your fork in, up comes an even more random thread :D

    True. Almost all doors open inwards here. The public are pretty stupid (and/or ignorant) in this country and would certainly bash the doors into pedestrians if they opened out. The emergency issue tends to be dealt with by fire exits, which open outwards.

    Of course you get some oddballs like KFC where the doors open outwards and you get a constant stream of people doing the push-oops-pull manoeuvre.
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    #18
    I would imagine that a door opening outward in a snowy climate would be a pain. If you had a few feet of snow blown up onto your porch it might be a bit hard to push your door through it. Of course if it opens inward some of that snow invariably gets blown into the house.
     
  19. thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #19
    Well, I'm from Finland, and I have never heard of anyone having that particular problem :). It _might_ be a problem if there was no porch or steps outside the door, but since there always is, there is no problem.
     
  20. macrumors 601

    Don't panic

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    #20
    but there is your answer:

    if traditionally (because of climate) you have a small "ante-" room, you need the two doors (outer and inner) to swing outwardly from that room otherwise there wouldn't be enough physical space for them to open in the little 1x1 room, and still fit comfortably.

    that design does lend itself more to the risk of being snowed in (or out) during a snowstorm if there is no porch to protect the outside
     
  21. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    #21
    The homes I've lived in the exterior doors opened inward - as if inviting you in. Though the apartment doors I also used opened outward. Which I thought would be rude to people wanting to come in, to have a door swing at them. But I guess for security reasons the apartment door would be harder to "break-in" if it only opened out.

    The is all speculation of course.
     
  22. thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Jan 10, 2005
    #22
    Not necessarily, since it's still not established that doors that open inside offer benefit when compared to those which open outside. They each have their benefits (doors that open inside can be broken open more easily by the police etc., whereas doors that open to outside are easier to open if you need to run out the building in case of fire etc. etc.)

    But since everyone has a porch, that is never a problem. I have lived here for 30 years, and I have never heard of anyone being snowed in their homes :). True, roads have been blocked due to snow etc., but never ever have I heard of a case where someone can't get out of their home because snow is preventing them from opening the door.
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    #23
    Where I'm from, I haven't really noticed a standard per se... We tend to use both outward opening and inward opening doors... All depends on the shop, and whether the shop has separate doors for going in or going out...
     
  24. macrumors 6502a

    Macaddicttt

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    Apr 22, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #24
    When I imagine doors to houses opening outwards, I can't help but imagine very awkward situations in which someone knocks on the door, and gets hit or awkwardly must avoid the door when it is opened towards them, especially on a smaller porch.
     
  25. macrumors 601

    Don't panic

    Joined:
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    #25
    but that's not what i said.
    regardless of the balance of benefits, if traditionally you have (or had) a small room at the entrance of the house, the doors to that room must open outwardly from that room because of physical restraints: there is no space inside the small room for them to open inwards and still be able to manouvre in the room.
    that means that outer door of the house should open outwards.

    once the tradition is set, even if some houses lack the small outer room, the outside door would likely remain the same because that is what people are used to.


    as far as being snowed in (or, more likely, out), i am not saying it's an issue or it happens frequently (especially in an urban setting), but it could be a problem in some situations (e.g. a log cabin in the woods in a snow-heavy country). A couple of times I have been snowed out of my car, and the possibility of being able to get in from the other side saved me a lot of digging.
     

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