I like my current wooden front door a great deal, but it's hinged to swing inward to the right, and traffic flow (getting a bike into the mud room, for example) would be a lot easier if it swung in to the left.

Problem is, the latch edge of the door is beveled the standard 15 degrees to permit closing with a smaller gap, whereas the hinge edge is square. And I can't flip the door top-to-bottom/left-to-right to move that bevel; its design has a clear "up"... if I rotate it only on the other axis the latch edge will be bevelled the wrong way, definitely not an improvement.

Best solutions I've come up with so far involve keeping the door in its current orientation, swapping hardware (requires disguising the old lock borings; I have an idea for that), bevelling what used to be the hinge side... and maybe, if I can't get away with just letting the hinge absorb the angle difference, applying a wedge or wedges to re-square it.

How insane am I? Should I try without changing the bevels first? Or should I not try at all, get a new front door, and try to find a good home for this one?

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    Warning for future readers - A steel-clad or fiberglass exterior door might not have wooden bracing on both sides to support the lock set, so the swing matters a lot and can't be changed. OP has a solid wood door, so this isn't a concern. – JPhi1618 Nov 9 '15 at 15:04
  • Worthwhile clarification, @jphil1618. Tnx! – keshlam Nov 9 '15 at 15:50

Trying to re-work the existing door including the hiding of the old bored holes seems like it would a lot of work for a second rate kludge job. I can see two avenues of reasonable approach here...

If the current door's inside can be swapped to be the outside (including the adjustment of the different finishes that may be on the outside versus the inside) then I would consider flipping the door, re-beveling the latch side of door edge and installing a new jamb or re-working the existing jamb to deal with the now slightly narrower door.

If the door cannot be flipped then I would go for an all new door and jamb and have it installed in the orientation that suits your needs.

  • I actually have a good, though quirky, answer for the lock hardware. Good point, though, about moving the jamb inward; that's certainly a viable answer. And I could do an inside/outside swap if I'm re-beveling; the outside has additional trim moldings that the inside doesn't but that could be rectified. Good input; tnx. – keshlam Nov 9 '15 at 4:21
  • @keshlam - Doesn't fire code require ext. doors swing inwards? – Mazura Nov 9 '15 at 4:38
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    @Mazura - The idea is not to have the door swing out. Just swap inside face of door out and outside face in. This swaps the hinge / latch sides. – Michael Karas Nov 9 '15 at 6:22
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    @keshlam - A couple of notes to be aware of. I1) If you re-bevel the latch side it will slightly modify the bore hole to door edge offset. This may require bore hole adjustment as not all latches and deadbolts are tolerant of too much error in the offset. 2) It the hinge inset on the hinge edge is one that does not extend across the whole door edge face you may want to re-plane that edge too so that you can get new hinge offsets to work nicely. – Michael Karas Nov 9 '15 at 6:27
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    @Mazura -- there might be exceptions based on geography, but I recently did an outswing, so was researching code and found that generally it was acceptable if not preferred (especially hurricane prone areas). – Aloysius Defenestrate Nov 9 '15 at 14:23

If your door jamb has a tight gap already, this trick will work much better. And I just read that pretty much everybody has the same answer, but I got sketches... Do not take the rebevel out to the edges completely, rebevel everything, save 1/4" of the original edge.

door rehinge

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    I've seen that 'half-bevel' in practice, on customized re-purposed oversized doors; you've my vote. – Mazura Nov 9 '15 at 7:38
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    I failed to mention in my sketch that the purpose of beveling the hinge side is to remove the old cutouts enough so the hinges get reset into a clean edge. No need to remove all of the old cutout, the reused hinge will reside over that area anyways. I just did this recently on a pantry door, it cannot be discerned that it was done. Of course dutchmen were added in the jamb and it was painted. That made the dutchmen happy. – Jack Nov 9 '15 at 7:52
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    Good answer... my only concern would be around how much custom planing had been done to fit the existing door into the jamb... if there were some strange bows and arcs, then flipping the door might be harder. Worst case (and I'm assuming this is paint grade), you could glue a 1/2" strip to the hinge side and have effectively a complete do-over with the entire door. – Aloysius Defenestrate Nov 9 '15 at 14:27
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    Well, since you're in the land of stain grade, ignore my crazy strip idea... but the idea (from Michael Karas) of playing around with the jamb (either moving it or padding it out) has merit if the bevels are desperate. (FWIW, I flipped a door like this just last week -- interior, laundry room with the reveals only visible from the inside -- and the reveals were awful. However, the client's expectations were set in advance, so they weren't unhappy.) – Aloysius Defenestrate Nov 10 '15 at 2:21
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    Or you could pop the jamb and reset it again. It would save bucks but take time... That way the door can be cut as I suggest in the sketch and set the jamb to fit the door. It would take about 4-6 hours total, dutchmen and all. – Jack Nov 10 '15 at 5:07

Other than the finishes being on the wrong side, as Mike points out, I don't see a problem (unless I'm missing something, and my drawing is wrong). All you have to do is turn the hinges and the latch around on the door, move the strike in the jamb, and make new mortises on the other side. The only hard part is this bevel you're talking about, but at least it will be on the strike side still, just backwards.

However, I can't say any door I've dealt with was beveled (before it was hung). That usually gets done sometime in the future to keep it working IME - that must be one nice door! Once it's hung again, then you can see if need to re-bevel it. That is, unless it's super tight, then you might want to plane it from the get go.

I'd re-bevel the door and use weather stripping if necessary, before I'd fill old bore holes.

  • Exterior doors are more likely to be bevelled than interior, since a tight fit is more important. I could try mounting the door without changing the bevel and see if it complains, then plane just to fit, but it is pretty snug as it stands. And as I said, the two faces of the door differ slightly; I can apply a bit of trim to correct that but part of it is curved molding (around the glass) that I may have to cut and rout myself. – keshlam Nov 9 '15 at 13:30
  • Btw, my quirky ideas for old bore holes vary from mounting dummy lock hardware for symmetry, to mounting a decorative casting over them, to leaving the knob on the hinge side but having it operate latches on the far side of the door either mechanically or electrically). As an occasional musician, I know that you can get away with weird as long as the audience thinks it's deliberate. – keshlam Nov 9 '15 at 13:39

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