This might be a very elementary question, but I haven't been able to find any information about it. We are planning to replace a sliding glass door between our dining room and deck with French doors. In order to have a door that we can use in the winter without sacrificing a huge amount of floor space in the dining room, I would like one side to swing in while the other side swings out.

I know this arrangement (double-egress doors) is used in commercial/institutional settings, to promote one-way traffic flow on either side (in the US, typically whichever door is on your right swings away from you). However, all of the examples I've seen of this arrangement are heavy, commercial/industrial-type, not French doors.

To be clear, I'm not assuming that I could have the doors open fully; I'm guessing that they would need a center mullion to close against, rather than closing against one another in the traditional French-door manner. Ideally, they'd be designed so both doors were in the same plane—something like this (obviously not to scale):

Illustration showing outline view from above of double doors, with stepped frame on either side and a center mullion with a stop at top right and bottom left, showing how doors would swing out/up on right side and in/down on left side.

(Of course, if the center mullion were removable for the times when I need to fit an elephant through the doors, that would be great, but not required.)

Is there a reason why such an arrangement wouldn't work? If it would work, is it something that could be done by modifying stock doors and framing, or would everything need to be custom-designed/built?

  • Could you handle the idea of one side being latched in place with edge bolts so one side works primarily and the other work when you need it? And yes, this is a totally custom arrangement. – Jack Jun 14 '18 at 14:36
  • @Jack Yes, the in-swing side would mainly be needed in winter when the snow is too deep on the deck to swing out (so we'd use the open-in door, sweep/shovel the snow off the deck, then we could use the other side). Is there some big drawback I'm missing to the arrangement that makes it non-standard? We can't be the only homeowners in this situation. – 1006a Jun 14 '18 at 14:51
  • I am certain there will be major issues having a company that makes production run doors building this door, Typicaly the sills/thresholds are different and the door head will have to, or should have a door stop in 2 different positions, stopping in the middle of the jamb, but not meeting. FWIW, the sills could be the same all the way through its length, although the outswing door has a backstop for weathering and the inswing does not. The panel that is in the latched position, could have the astrigal attached to it. No need for a mounted one. More holes in the sill for water to get in. – Jack Jun 14 '18 at 15:03
  • Modern inswing French doors latch top and bottom not just between the slabs. You specify which door is the primary and the other one stays put unless you choose to open it. With this in mind I think a standard inswing double door would be suitable. And certainly cheaper than the custom job you are contemplating. – Stanwood Jun 16 '18 at 6:15

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