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The Difference Between These Two Commonly Confused Types of Door Systems

It’s quite common to confuse double egress doors with double action doors. Both doors have the word “double” attached to their names, so it’s no surprise that people might think they’re the same thing. So what’s the difference between the two? Simply put, safe exits and traffic control frequently rely on double egress doors, while double action doors offer ease of access to an area, especially in emergency situations. The following descriptions will delve a little further into these door types and to clarify any misunderstandings.

Double Egress Doors

Since the word egress means “to exit,” it might help to think of a double egress door as an exit for an area, hallway, or a building.

A double egress door system has two doors that swing in opposite directions from each other—one side for people going out and one side for people going in. Opening each door is possible by pushing the acting leaf side (almost always the right-hand side). The frame uses opposite stops and rabbets to allow for the doors to swing in opposite directions. These doors often have a vertical rod exit device and no hardware on the ‘pull’ side of the door.

Double egress doors control traffic flow for a safe and orderly exit and entrance. These doors are used in the corridors of high-traffic buildings, like schools, hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes.

Double Action Doors

Double action = opens in both directions.

A double action door system has either one door or two doors that swing in both directions. These doors have pivot hinges or a double acting hinge. When there are two doors in this type of system, the right door (entering from the outside) is the active door.

Double action doors swing in both directions as no stops or rabbets are on the frame. These doors are considered cased open. To prevent damage from high-traffic use, install bumper strips, spring bumpers, impact base plates, and jamb guards.

Grocery stores, warehouses, shipping and receiving areas, restaurant kitchens, and storage facilities commonly use double action doors. They are also used in institutions that require a door to open in both directions in the case of emergencies, such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, correctional facilities, and government facilities. For example, if someone is in distress and is locked in a room, and the door can’t be opened inward because it is blocked, these doors can also open outward. Staff can thus enter the room quickly to help the person.

Hopefully this comparison of double egress and double action doors has cleared up any confusion. For more information, or to determine which type is best for your building, contact professional safety door manufacturers.

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