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Should a Shower Door Open in or Out? (Explained)

Shower doors give an elegance and great finish to the bathrooms. They are usually made of glass. They are more likely designed not to splash water and spread all over the bathroom and to prevent risk of slip. 

However, there are some building codes and safety issues that you need to think about before installing shower doors. 

Should a shower door open in or out?

A shower door should swing out according to modern building codes. Moreover, the outward door provides an easy way to enter and exit and also safer for fall risks. It makes the bathroom spacious as well. If the door is inward, older and disabled people may find it difficult to pull the door.

Shower doors can open in or out but it should be installed in the outward direction. Usually, it is highly recommended for safety measurements to use a swinging door that moves outward.

 Some doors  open in both directions but if it is installed inward it will be against the traditional manufacturing rules of international codes.

Glass shower door: 

Glass shower doors should swing out for safety requirements according to building codes. Swinging in both ways is also accepted from a safety perspective but it is not recommended to swing inwards only. 

The vital reason why a glass shower door should not be designed inside is that it drips the floor and makes the floor slippery. 

If the door swings from inside, not outside, any person might fall or get hitten by the door while taking shower and it will be difficult for the medical staff to reach and get the person out of the shower.

Frameless shower door: 

Frameless shower doors don’t have any metal frames, rather they are made from strong tempered glass. The modern frameless shower doors are manufactured with a hinge on one side to swing in both directions so that there is no unwanted water leakage during shower. 

Actually, the frameless shower doors are manufactured keeping the safety as a top priority to swing out. Moreover, frameless shower doors that swing in both directions create a larger bathroom space in the bathroom. 

Do shower doors open in or out? Which way should my shower door open? 

There are various types of shower doors which can be installed inward, outward or both ways as well. But it’s highly recommended that, shower doors should be installed outward if you’re using one-way shower doors. It’s more likely to be easy to use and safe as well. 

Moreover, it’s difficult for a person who is disable to pull the door inward if it is blocked from inside.

Actually, most of the standard shower door features are familiar in the opening that swings outside. If you are using the hinged type of shower door usually it should open from outside. The pivot shower doors are swinging doors to rotate 180 degrees on both sides. 

The framed or frameless doors both have outward openings. In case you are using any of these types of doors; they should open outwards though each type has its own unique appearance. 

As all the doors swinging outwards are modified concerning the fact that it does permit any unobstructed access in case of fall.

Which way should a pivot shower door open? 

Pivot shower doors aren’t one way conventional doors but these are rotational doors supported on pivots. A pivot shower door has an innovative opening mechanism designed to swing the door in both directions with the help of pivot hinges. 

The pivot hinges are placed on one side or at the center and allow them to be adjustable. 

It can make the door rotate in 180 degrees on a vertical axis and swing in and out simultaneously. It can remain fully open at a 90 degree angle from inside or out. 

The fixed pivot is mounted at top and bottom of the glass and lets the door automatically swing by self-closing mechanism outward and inward. These unique features to rotate in both directions are ideal for those who have mobility issues. 

However, the pivot shower door rotating system is suitable for large bathroom fittings.

6 reasons why shower doors should open out

All hinged shower doors should be opened outward. However, some shower doors like the pivot can move in both directions that rotate in and out when pushed from any side. But using inward doors will not be a wise decision for safety purposes. 

Actually, there are many valid reasons why we should open the shower doors from outside rather than inside:

Safety purpose:

The first reason is nothing but safety. Inward opening potentially increases the risk of fall and can be dangerous for children and people with disabilities as it blocks the door from inside. 

If the door swings outward, it will provide more safety and will be easier to reach the people and rescue them from further injury.

Space of the shower area:

If anyone has a small bathroom and also installs an inward swinging door, it will interfere with the bathroom space. Whereas, outward doors do not take up much valuable floor space like the inward shower doors.

Drips on floor:

The drips on the floor makes the floor wet and slippery and any accident can happen there anytime. But an outward shower door decreases the possibility. It widens up the space and allows it to dry faster.


If the door swings outwards, it provides more ventilation. It also helps to  remove any kind of odor inside the bathroom.

Easy enter and exit:

It is easier to open the door and exit from the door if it swings outward rather than inward.

Easy maintenance:

If the door is inward, it will be difficult to clean the floor as the place is likely to be cramped. Outward shower doors provide easier maintenance than inward doors.

Can shower doors open both ways?

Shower doors can open both ways if the door installer can provide a hinge. For installing a swinging shower door that can open both ways, it needs at least 30” of the clearance distance. Both ways swings create a larger space in the bathroom and also provide safety for fall risks.

Pivot shower door has a pivot hinge and so, it  allows the door to open in both directions. The hinge is placed on one side or at the center of the door and allows it to swing 180 degrees. Moreover, the pivot shower door provides a custom look and great feel.

But this system is more suitable for a larger bathroom. Also, you need to pay attention to the overall design of the shower area like the valve and fixture placement as well. However, some building codes don’t support opening doors in both ways.

Can shower doors be reversed? 

Modern shower doors are mostly reversible. But it mostly depends on the hinge for whether the door can be reversed or not. Reversible shower doors are quite helpful for easily changing the direction of the door. 

Reversible shower doors come with a reversible hinge or panel that help the door to be swapped on the left or right. When it’s necessary just it needs to install a hinge to the right or left and turn it upside down.

For some shower doors like the sliding doors it only needs to lift up on the door to reverse. By moving the panel over to the other side, you only need to pull out the track at the bottom. 

Pivot shower doors are also much flexible as they have reversible hinges and can be opened in both directions.

What is the minimum shower door opening? 

The minimum shower doors should be at least 22 inches wide. Actually, the standard size of shower door opening is 22 inches wide and can go up to 36 inches. Narrow than 22 inches may not allow for safety codes and overall use. 

But for installing both ways of opening shower doors,  you need at least 30 inches clearance space for outward-opening and inward-swinging.

The reason is, usually the shower doors are made from glass and they can usually be broken if it doesn’t get enough access and space. The minimum width for the tempering glass is at least 5 ½ inches wide or it might be cracked. 

But If you want more space than 36 inches in your shower door, you can include an extra panel to the door. It will work as a weight supporter of the structure.

Final Thoughts 

There are many international building codes that you need to follow while installing shower doors. It’s highly recommended that, shower doors should be installed outward. It can be easily used to enter and exit. Moreover, outward direction shower doors provide more safety than the inwards.