Natural Handyman's Question and Answers section header
Natural Handyman's Home Page Home repair articles and do it yourself tips Home repair contests at Sweepstakes Central Do it yourself books on a variety of home repair topics Tools Natural Handyman's Question and Answer archives Find a handyman or contractor for those small home repair jobs Select links to home repair and do it yourself products and services Advertising options on the Natural Handyman website Comments and questions

How to Determine the Hand (or Handing) of a Door Q&A

Be sure to scroll down... there may be more than one question on this page!

Dear NH,

I am planning to install exterior doors on my home, How do I tell a right hand door from a left hand door? This is really confusing. I thought it may have to do with which side of the door the hinges are on. Do I face the door from the inside or outside to tell which I need a left or right handed door. Thanks

CS from Dothan, AL

Dear CS,

This is one bit of information that I ALWAYS forget. Never fear… NH's trust home repair library has the answer for you.

Stand so that the door opens towards you. If the doorknob is on the left side, it is a LEFT HAND DOOR. If the doorknob is on the right side, it is a RIGHT HAND DOOR.

Another simple method is to stand within the door frame with your back to the hinge-side of the jambl, with the door open (duh!).  If the door is open on your left, you have a left-handed door.  If the door is open on your right, it is a right-handed door.

I have posted more info and diagrams in a separate article... click HERE.

NH


Dear NH,

I am confused by the term left hand door and right hand door even after your rather clear explanation.  The reason I am still confused is that this directly contradicts the information on DirectDoorHardware.com .  I want to place a lever handle on an interior door.  The door pulls toward you from the outside.  The handle is on the left indicating a left hand door.

The hinges are on the right.  The DirectDoorHardware.com site explains this as a right hand door.  I want to get a lever handle from them.  Which is it?

JO

Dear JO,

James,

The problem is in their description of "handing".  If you look at the diagram on their website, they are labeling the "handing" based on the lockset orientation you need to choose, not using the typical industry standard for handing.

http://directdoorhardware.com/door_handing.htm

What they call "left-hand outswing" is (in the door industry) actually "right-hand outswing".  The left hand inswing and outswing (per their diagrams) use the exact same lockset (with the key on the outside).  In other words, the lockset handles look the same but the latch plate is rotated 180 degrees so it latches properly.

I guess they changed the standard handing conventions to make is easier for the customer who doesn't know anything about handing to order.  Otherwise, they would have to call each lock both left and right handed, adding to the confusion.  Based on the description of your door, it is indeed a left-hand outswing, but for ordering purposes from this company, indicating "right hand" in the order follows their modified convention.

NH

Return to NH's Question and Answer Index

Jerry Alonzy, the founder of Naturalhandyman.com

Written by Jerry Alonzy

Jerry Alonzy, a.k.a. the Natural Handyman, has been an active handyman for over 30 years with experience in most areas of home repair and renovation.

As a do-it-yourself author and web developer since 1995, he has been featured in USA Today, the Today Show and on radio shows, magazines, newspapers and websites. His material appears widely on the web, but primarily on his website... The Natural Handyman. You can also find him on Google+ and Facebook.