Is there a safety code that states the minimum width of a door opening to the outside? Our sliding door only opens up to 24 inches.

  • 1
    From understanding, IRC Code still only requires 1 exit door 36" min; I don't think the code governs the "other" doors. After that, it is simply about which rooms need a second approved method of exiting like a bedroom. I could be wrong though as codes are extensive and always changing.
    – Damon
    Jan 5, 2016 at 5:23

2 Answers 2


An approved window for egress has the following requirements:

1st floor:
Clear opening width ≥ 20"
Clear opening height ≥ 24"
Minimum clear opening sq.ft. = 5.0 sq.ft.

So I believe this counts as approved egress.

As for an egress door, this site explains that code dictates that you only need one:

This is a question that get asked quite often and many people are surprised to find out there is only one required exit door in a single family home per the IRC. However, there are requirements this door must meet. It must be a side hinged door, a minimum size of 3 feet wide and 6 feet 8 inches tall. So that sliding door, NOPE it doesn't meet building code for an exit door.

In summary, as long as you have one door per code (3' wide hinged door), you are set in terms of exterior doors. Your sliding door won't count as an egress door, but should count as a means of egress in terms of a window (if needed...such as part of a bedroom).


Sounds like you want a new door either way & I can't blame you. This can't be the main entry door so you should be fine from required safety issues. The real question is, do you have room for swing in door(s). If you do then get a new French-door. Or, determine shifting a bigger single door to the left, right or center & also decide if the 28 up to 36-inch door should swing in to the left or right.

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