Do You Need To Have A Garage Side Door?

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Do Garages Need Side Doors?

Any garage, attached or detached, will of course have a garage door for the entry and exit of vehicles. An attached garage will usually have an entry door to make it easy for entering the house directly from the garage. But what about a garage side door? Do Garages Need Side Doors?

The IRC has no stipulation that Garages Need Side Doors. Unless the local building code requires it, the decision to have a garage side entry door is totally yours. Garage side doors are extremely convenient provided you have taken adequate security measures.

You may choose to have a side door in a detached garage or even an attached garage. There are several benefits of having a garage with a side door.

Garage Side Door
GMS Intro
GMS Intro

Why Do Garages Have a Side Door?

Garages have a side door so that you can enter your garage from the outside, without the need to open the big garage door or walking into your house and using the garage entry door to the house. It is just so much more convenient!

A detached garage almost begs for a side door. Below are the instances where you will be glad to have a side door in your garage.

You Love DIY Projects

If you love DIY projects, you are sure to have a workshop in your detached garage. A garage side door lets you access your workshop at any time without having to press the remote and move an entire 16’X8’ garage door up.

You are a Gardening Buff

If you are a gardening buff and keep your gardening tools and supplies in the garage then you need quick and easy access to it. A great idea is to segregate the storage area for gardening stuff from the parking zone. 

Ensure the side door is in close proximity to the storage area for gardening supplies. You can keep moving from the yard to the garage and back, as often as you wish. The big garage door can remain shut all this time!

You are a Fitness Freak

 Do you like to go for a 5 mile run, first thing in the morning and follow it up with some weight training in your garage gym. Then a garage side door is just for you.

Enter your garage gym through the garage side door without the bother of having to open the garage door. Super convenient!

In most of the above cases a side door is useful in an attached garage too! In the case of an attached garage there are a few more reasons to have a garage side door.

Makes for a Pet Friendly Garage

Do you have a dog that loves to hang out with you while you are doing your thing in the garage. What do you do when your pet needs to go out for a pee or a poop. 

With a side door it is so much easier to let your dog out into the yard or take him out for a quick walk around the block.

Saves you Energy

A garage side door in an attached garage (or a detached garage for that matter) will help you save on energy bills. Everytime you open a 2 car garage door, garage heat is lost to the outside from a 128 square feet area.

If you are not taking your car out, that is an unnecessary waste of energy. You could have instead used the much smaller side door and avoided that loss.  

Do Garage Side Doors Need to Be Fire Rated?

The garage side door is not the same as the garage entry door to the house. It connects the garage to the outdoors, unlike the entry door which connects to the house.

The opening between the garage and the house must be equipped with a door that provides protection per Section R302.5.1 of the 2018 edition of the International Residential Code (IRC).

R302.5.1 Opening protection: Openings from a private garage directly into a room used for sleeping shall not be permitted. Other openings between the garage and the residence shall be equipped with solid wood doors not less than 1-3/8 inches (35 mm) in thickness, solid or honey-comb core steel doors not less than 1-3/8 inches (35 mm) thick, or 20 minute fire-rated doors equipped with a self-closing or automatic-closing device.

However, the above does not apply to the opening between garage and outdoors. Of course, the Local Building Authority may have their own interpretation of the IRC. So please check & abide by the local building code interpretation.

What Type of Door Goes on the Side of a Garage?

One disadvantage, possibly the only one, is that a side door makes your garage more vulnerable to burglary and break-ins. You should therefore consider your garage side door as an exterior door.

Do not use side doors made out of cheap but flimsy material such as PVC or MDF. Doors made from solid wood or fiberglass on sturdy steel frames are a good option. Steel doors are even better. 

Avoid using doors with glass windows. If you must, settle for a few small windows towards the top. Make sure that the door has used tempered glass or impact resistance glass.

Last, but not the least, use really strong hardware. Everything, from hinges to door knobs, from locks to deadbolts should be of a quality that lets you sleep peacefully at night. 

Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and useful.

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