Looked everywhere for proper answer. We have a 2 car garage attached to the basement. This house is old, built in 1968, we purchased this 2 years ago and were renovating here/there. We just finished got the wall replaced (fire-rated) also vents removed, electricals/plumbing rerouted/fixed. Now all we got left is the door.

All over the place says one thing and another, we're not sure who is right based on building code in the USA (Kansas to be specific).

From the garage walking into the basement, should the door swing in or out? opening INTO the basement or opening INTO the garage? We know about which kind of door we need, but not sure of the inswing or outswing.

  • Almost universally it is considered a safety hazard and against code for a door to swing over steps. If this is the case then it absolutely must swing the other way. Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 19:28

6 Answers 6

  1. Check local codes -- you may not get a choice in the matter.
  2. Check the door to see if the fire rating requires it to be mounted one way or the other.
  3. Otherwise, look at convenience. Will the door open completely with the car in the garage or your workbench in place? From a security standpoint, having it swing into the basement would be more secure as the hinges will be inside.
  • Opening outward into the garage would also eliminate the possibility of whacking someone back down the stairs with the door if they're coming up and someone else is coming down at the same time.
    – Doresoom
    Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 14:35
  • Mikes, I agree, on security standpoint, but we don't have another "door" inside the garage, just the 2 garage doors. Doresoom, I agree at THAT point about "whacking" someone, we did that couple times. (Thank god no injury hahaha).. If we open INTO the garage, it would be against the wall, so that is a good thing. Thanks you both for valuable feedbacks, will check more into Local Codes then.. Thanks!
    – sgkdnay
    Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 17:09
  • To reiterate the security issue, just because you don't have an exterior door that accesses the garage does not make the garage secure. It is common for criminals to use a device that basically blasting all the garage door codes it can. When the garage door opens automatically they just walk in. I would vote to put the hinges on the interior, however the real answer is to check local codes.
    – auujay
    Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 19:19
  • A little known fact ... They make door butts that are "tite pinned" for exterior outswinging doors. Maybe not something you just go down & buy @ "HD" ... maybe special order.
    – user8846
    Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 16:32
  • In my town the 2009 International Building Code applies, which says "Doors shall be self-closing and self-latching" in 406.1.4 but nothing about the swing direction. Other places in the code say that doors can't swing over stairs without a landing. Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 19:35

99.9% of the time, an entry door from a garage into the house swings in towards the house like any other entry door. Not only does it secure the hinge pins indoors, but allows installation of a screen or storm door on the garage side. Often a door opening into a garage would interfere with a car entering or a car door opening if left open.

Funny fact: since most people are programmed by years of opening a door towards the interior, it would be hysterical to see folks pulling or pushing the wrong way.


The biggest reason for me a garage door should open INTO the home...full arms make it easier to open the door when the door PUSHES rather than PULLS. If your hands are full of grocery bags and you are trying to pull the door toward you to open it, it is much more awkward than just pushing on the door once the handle latch is released (also for this reason, we replaced our door handle to be a lever, rather than a "ball" type).


One thing to consider is whether there are any steps involved. A door cannot open over steps. If you absolutely need to have it open into a stairwell, then you need to build a proper landing, big enough for a person, and the door to open.

Next, prefer to have the door open inward, so that the hinges are inside.

However, the main point of security should be the garage doors to the exterior. I really don't care how secure your internal door is, because once I've determined you're not home, I've got all day to work on it from inside the garage, shielded from the neighbours' view.

You want to make me do the tough work where I'm exposed.

  • Personally, this would trunp it for me regardless of any code Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 21:12

Regarding one of the answers which claims the door has to be steel, insulated, and swing in, FALSE You can purchase fire rated fiberglass or wood doors which are fire rated. In the case of the wood doors, they are solid, non insulated unless you consider the wood to be insulation at about R 1.5. They can swing out as long as there are no steps or there is a landing of ample size. This is ICC/IRC code. While an inswing door may be more convenient, it just depends on the layout of your house and garage.


The door between your house and an attached Garage is considered an exit door from the home, and should swing into the house and not the Garage. The door should be a Steel Insulated door and the frame should be sealed as well to prevent carbon monoxide fumes from getting into your home. Also if there is a fire in the Garage, you will have more time to find another exit. Steel doors are better heat conductors than wood or fiberglass, and you can touch the door with your outer hand, and if it is burning hot, you don't want to open the door, or you will be swallowed by flames from the oxygen feeding it from inside the house. Most fire inspectors will require a steel door in this spot, and all exit doors should swing into the home. Some states prone to Hurricanes are recommending Exit doors to swing outward because the doors can withstand more wind forces being installed that way. Only one or two states enacted that and I believe Florida is one of them. Other states, it is your preference as to the direction. Use common sense of the environment where your home resides. To validate anything do a home tour of a newly built home, which must meet today's local codes.

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