One of the questions that comes up all the time in access control design layouts is door handedness. It’s not a hard concept to understand once you see it graphically, but it’s sometimes tough to remember in the field if you’re not accustomed to working with door hardware on a daily basis.
While we would typically prefer security doors to swing into the secured space (easier to barricade if needed in an emergency and the hinges are typically on the secured side), usually the handedness of a door isn’t left up to security and is based more upon building code and/or the function of the space.
The following graphic explains it better than I’ve seen it anywhere, and shows you the door swing based upon being on the Outside (or “unsecured” side where the card reader or key would be).
Also, note from the table below that a Left Hand door isn’t the same as a Right Hand Reverse door, as the lock hardware has to change in order to be able to latch properly.
- Left Hand: Door swings inward to the Left, uses LH Hinge, LH Strike, LH Lock.
- Right Hand: Door swings inward to the Right, uses RH Hinge, RH Strike, and RH Lock.
- Left Hand Reverse: Door swings outward to left, uses RH Hinge, RH Strike, and LH Lock.
- Right Hand Reverse: Door swings outward to Right, uses LH Hinge, LH Strike, and RH Lock.
So next time someone says that a door is a “Right Hand Reverse” door, you’ll know that they really mean the door swings out to the right towards you if you’re standing on the outside.