Saturday, January 30, 2010

Door Opening

As you can see in this photo, the front doors were snowed over. I had to tromp around to find the shovel so I could clear enough space to be able to get into the house.

It got me thinking as to why Swedish doors open outwards. My house here in England, and in fact, all the houses I've lived in, have exterior doors that swing into the house.

A bit of internet research, and I have my answer. The main reason is that an outward-swinging door is space efficient; there's no room taken up inside the house for the door's movement. Given that homes in Sweden are fairly small, about 83 square meters on average, saving interior space is important. (The Commonwealth Bank of Australia issued a report on home sizes around the world. Click here for an interesting read).

An outward-swinging door only works, of course, if there is a safe space to swing the door into. Such a door wouldn't work in a corridor, for example. Although an outward-swing door is much harder to kick in, the hinges are exposed, so they must be treated both for the weather and to prevent tampering. My hometown lumberyard in Minnesota has a good chart of door swings and nomenclature.

The most space-efficient door is a sliding type, which we have in our bedrooms. Very little room is taken up whether the door is open or not. However, these doors are hard to seal completely, which is why they aren't used for exteriors, or places where privacy is important, like a bathroom.

I did put the shovel in a much easier to find location should there still be snow when we visit at Easter!


Margaret said...

While that's true for most houses, you will notice that nearly all street level buildings, shops, restaurants etc (including my former wee shop) open inwards...something many ex-pats (not me!) have been known to complain about. The reason for this, pointed out by my brilliant son, is - SNOW -.
Rather than risk being indoor bound, ie not able to get OUT because of a snow packed doorway on the outside, the doors open why that doesn't apply to houses, I don't know. Seems it would make more sense.

P E D D E R said...

It's better becaus the wind pushes the door (and the windows) close not open.

Cheers Pedder

Anonymous said...

All commercial buildings in the US have outward swinging doors to facilitate exiting. I was hoping for a scene from a movie to illustrate the kicking in of a door!

Anonymous said...