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Should a Shed Door Open In or Out?

There are so many questions to answer when building a shed, so many details to decide upon. One of these concerns the door or doors to your shed. Whether building a shed from scratch or buying one, the door is an important consideration. One question is how your door will open: in or out?

In nearly all situations you’ll want the shed door to open out allowing better use of the interior space, and this is particularly true if you are needing to store large equipment in the shed.

Shed Door Open in or Out?

If your shed will be used mainly for storage of tools and large items such as riding lawn mowers, it makes sense to have a shed door that swings outward. If you have a door that swings inward, you limit the usable space inside in order to leave room for the door to open.

While doors don’t need much room for opening, you don’t want to have to push a yard wagon that may have rolled back when stored in order to open the door. If you have other plans for your shed, such as using it for a workshop or a clubhouse for your kids, a door that swings inward makes more sense.

Need some shed plans today? Check out my recommended shed plansRyan’s Shed Plansand get started Right Now!

What Size Should a Shed Door Be?

Ideally, a shed door should be whatever is most useful for you. If you don’t plan on storing large items in the shed, a single door should suffice. However, if you have a large riding lawn mower or wheelbarrow, or plan to store something such as leftover lumber or plywood sheets, you may want to consider double doors.

This will make it easier to get out your larger items and yard equipment. The standard height of most doors is seven feet. A single door usually has a limit of 36 inches. If a door needs to be wider, you’ll need to plan on double doors.

A door wider than 36 inches will be too heavy and put a strain on your hinges and the places where they are attached. Just remember to leave a 1/4 inch space between the door and the frame all the way around to allow for easy movement.

Another type of door to consider is a garage-type door that rolls up and down. They can be made of wood, fiberglass or steel. Since the ones with wood panels can weigh over 100 pounds, if you intend to install the door yourself, it would be best to choose fiberglass or steel.

You’ll need to consider the type of door you want when planning your shed. Garage doors need a little extra planning as to placement of the tracks and their support system. You can even get an automatic opener if you think you’ll need it.

You can install the door yourself if you have the skills, and some home improvement stores have started offering them along with the tracks and hardware. If that project just seems to be a little outside of your skillset, you can easily find a garage door company. They sell the doors as well as offer installation. A bonus is that they also offer repair services on the products they sell. Check out my article 5 Tips for Framing a Door Rough Opening for framing the ruff opening.

What Type of Material Should I Use for a Shed Door?

Shed doors are usually made of wood. If you’re using wood, plywood or engineered wood siding, you can plan to order enough to enable you to use the same material for the doors. When using wood, take care what kind of screws you will need. Stainless steel is always a good choice; in fact, some types of wood require them.

You can also use recycled wood from an old building or wood from pallets. While it is possible to use your vinyl or metal siding for the doors, this may make constructing your doors more complicated. This is where you can be creative.

You can go for the barn door look with crisscrossed trim, put a small window in, or even install the rounded top doors that used to be seen on old stables. Of course, pre-hung doors can be purchased also. They come in many sizes, styles and colors.

Have you ever wanted to build your own shelves, benches, storage sheds and other projects and save $100’s on your cost? Check out Ted’s Woodworking Plans here. You don’t need a big fancy workshop or $1,000’s in tools.

Should I Use a Standard Exterior Door for My Shed?

That depends on how you plan to use your shed. If it will be used as a workshop or art studio or a similar use rather than storage for tools and machines, a standard exterior door will certainly be sufficient. You could even have a screen door on the outside to let in air when somebody is inside for long periods.

Basically, it boils down to this: if the door will be mostly used to admit people, a standard exterior door can be used. If the door will have a lot of other things passing through, you probably need something larger. Check out my article Shed Door Ideas for more information and cool ideas on the types of doors you can use for your shed.

Where Should I Put the Hinges and Handle on the Door?

While some people just use an unframed sheet of plywood as a door, it’s a much better idea to actually frame your door or doors as well as the opening, with an additional crossbeam. This adds strength and stability to the doors and gives you a sturdy place to attach your hinges.

Remember that the hinges not only have to move but also have to support the weight of the door. Attaching a hinge to a 2×4 frame is much less likely to give you future trouble than if you attach it right into your plywood or other siding.

Hinges come in several shapes, such as strap, butt, and concealed hinges. Spring hinges probably aren’t a good idea for typical shed use, as you don’t want to have to hold the door open while trying to carry out large items. Adding a third hinge in the center would be a good idea for wider doors or those made out of heavier material such as wood planks.

One in the top and bottom frame and the cross beam support mentioned before. This works whether your door framing will be on the outside or inside. If you don’t use framing around the doors, hinges usually go about seven inches down from the top of the main frame and 11 inches up from the bottom. A third hinge can be centered between the two.

With a single door, you can use a normal locking doorknob. They usually go between 34 and 48 inches above the floor, but 36 inches is the most common. You may want to consider a locking latch rather than a knob or handle.

These are locked with a padlock or combination lock and are easier to install if you are building the doors yourself. There are models that have the latch fold back over its own hinge to deter thieves from bypassing your lock by unscrewing the latch hardware.


Whether you buy a ready-made door and frame or do it all yourself, the door can be the most decorative item on your shed. Just keep in mind that it will likely get a lot of use. Make sure it is sturdy and attached securely and it will serve you well.

Recommended Resources

In this area I will go over the best resources that I have found that you will find very helpful:

Here are my favorite eBooks for beginners as well as those of you who have a lot more experience with home projects.

I know how disappointing it can be to finally find some plans online only to find out after that theirs a lot of essential information missing making these resources useless and a waste of your time!

First is “Ryan’s Shed Plans”… Provides 1,000’s of shed plans, so there’s something for everyone with detailed cross sections and very easy to follow instructions. What I really like is the material and cutting lists which means you know how much material to get.

And if you act soon, you can also get some free books: Advanced Woodworking Tips, List of suppliers to get your materials even cheaper and for you woodworking types you also get 400 free wooding plans. Definitely worth every penny… Check it out here and get your free 8×12 plan just for looking.

Second is “Ted’s Woodworking” … You get thousands of woodworking plans and they come with step-by-step instructions, material and cutting lists, very detailed plans, something for beginners as well as the professional woodworker.

You’ll also get woodworking guides and a detailed book on how to start a woodworking business and how to sell your woodworking projects for profit. See for yourself all the projects you can do and start making impressive pieces right away. Check it out here.

Third is the “Ultimate Small Shop” … This guide walks you thru everything you need to get a small workshop set-up on a budget. Goes into detail what you need to set-up, organizing your space and laying out your work areas, tools list, safety and so much more. Covers everything you need to have a complete shop.

You also get some Free bonus: The workshop cheat list, shows you where to get cheap supplies and tools. You also get a lifetime subscription to the deal alert service and so much more, see it for yourself here.