How to Make a Bathroom Door Swing Out

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Make a bathroom door swing outward for more space.
Image Credit: hikesterson/iStock/GettyImages

Small bathrooms may be compromised by a door that swings inward. An easy, low- to no-cost fix to this problem is to reverse the way the door swings. Reversing the hinges and turning the door around places its hardware on the opposite side of the doorjamb, or inner sides of the door opening. It only takes a few tools to complete this project, but before beginning, check with local building codes for any restrictions with doors swinging out into the hallway.

Remove the Door

Step 1: Unscrew the Hinges

Unscrew the hinges from the door and then from the jamb with a drill.

Step 2: Take Some Measurements

Measure the space between the top of the doorjamb and the top of upper hinge position on the doorjamb. Measure the space between the bottom of the doorjamb and the bottom of the lower hinge. Measure the position of the center hinge. Some doors do not have a third hinge at the middle of the door, but if it does, measure the distance from the top of the doorjamb to the top of the position of the middle bracket. Record all measurement.

Step 3: Remove the Door Stops

Remove the door stops on the sides and top of the doorjamb. These are the thin molding trims on the doorjamb used to stop the swing of the door when it is closed. It also frames the door itself, covering the gaps between it and the doorjamb. Lay the chisel flat against the jamb and tap it under the door stops with a hammer. Pry them away from the wall and set them aside.

Prep the Frame

Step 1: See How the Door Swings

Stand outside of the room at the doorway, and align a door hinge to the outer side of the jamb. The pin side of the hinge should be facing away from the room. Maneuver the hinge by opening it and closing it to get an idea of how the door will swing. Set the bracket aside.

Step 2: Transfer the Measurements

Use a tape measure and pencil to transfer the measurements of the door's hinges to the opposite side of the doorjamb. Mark the location of the top, bottom and middle hinge, if the door has a middle hinge.

Step 3: Align the Hinges

Align the hinges to their marked positions. Place a hinge, in a closed, flat position, flush against the inner surface of the door frame where the pencil marks are. Extend the barrel part of the hinge — the rounded part that houses the pin — a little out from the doorjamb to give it room to open and close. Keep the mounting plate — the flat parts of the hinge that have screw holes — steady, and trace its outline onto the doorjamb. Do this for each hinge location.

Step 4: Recess the Hinges

Chisel out the doorjamb wood to recess each hinge. Tap the sharp tip of a chisel into and along the pencil lines with a hammer. Then make cross section chisel cuts into the wood on the inside of the chiseled outline. There should be four to five rows of horizontal chisel cuts in the bracket space, but only one-eighth of an inch deep. Tilt the chisel on an angle, insert it into the grooves and chip away the wood. Check for smoothness when it is done.

Step 5: Insert Door Brackets

Insert a door bracket, one at a time, into its recessed position, and mark the screw holes with a pencil.

Step 6: Drill Pilot Holes

Drill pilot holes into the doorjamb with a small drill, where the screws will go.

Screw in the Hinges

Step 1: Screw Hinges Back on Door

Screw the hinges back onto the door.

Step 2: Screw Hinges Into Doorjamb

Line up the hinges to their screw marks, and screw them into the doorjamb.

Finish the Job

Step 1: Align the Strike Plate

Align the strike plate to the door latch and then to the jamb, with the door in a closed position.

Step 2: Mark Doorjamb for Strike Plate

Make a pencil mark on the doorjamb at the top and bottom of the strike plate.

Step 3: Mark Doorjamb for Latch

Make another mark at the top and bottom of the door's latch. This will mark where to bore the hole for the latch to fit into the doorjamb.

Step 4: Drill Hole for Strike Plate

Bore the hole with a 3/4-inch boring bit. Bore two overlapping vertical holes to make an oval-shaped opening.

Step 5: Screw Strike Plate Into Doorjamb

Place the strike plate over the bored hole and screw it into the doorjamb.

Step 6: Reinstall Door Stops

Close the door with the door knob latched into the jamb and then align the molding for the door stop flush against the door, with just a slight gap. The door stops are going to be completely turned around from their original position, just as the door is. Tap side and top pieces of the door stops into the jamb with finishing nails and a hammer, double checking that the door is easy to open and close.


Naima Manal

Naima Manal's articles on health, diet, nutrition, alternative medicine, education, parenting, crafts, travel, home and garden and home improvement have appeared on various websites. Manal received her Bachelor of Science in biology/pre-medical studies from Molloy College in 1994 and has been a freelance writer, teacher and homeschooling mom since 1993.