Do Garages Have to Have a Side Door? Best Answer!

Do garages have to have a side door?
Do garages have to have a side door?

Most often, garages have one primary door through which the vehicles enter and exit the garages. But many times, there is also a side door. Now, the question is, do you need a side door for your garage? 

Do Garages Have to Have a Side Door?

It’s not compulsory to have a side door for your garage unless the building code or area code requirement mandates it. However, if you have a side garage door installed, it enhances convenience, energy conservation, safety, and privacy, along with a few other things. 

In this article, we will tell you all about garage side doors to help you make an informed decision. 

Benefits of adding side doors to your garage


If you are asking do garages have to have a side door, you must know about its benefits, only then you can take the right decision. A garage side door will make garage entry easy without opening the main entrance. This is ideal for those who use the garage for other things besides parking the car. For instance, if you store things in your garage, you can quickly get to them through the side doors than go through the primary gate.

if you want to give your garage a new look: How to Replace Garage Door With French Doors

Benefits of adding side doors to your garage
Benefits of adding side doors to your garage

💁Enhanced safety

Many people add a side door to their garage for safety. In case of an emergency, say a fire, it’s always easier and faster to exit through the side door. You can also use the side door to get your car inside in case of a power outage, as the primary entrance will no longer work, so side door would be a convenient entry in that case.


Your garage side door also lets you save on energy bills. Indeed the garage door opener does not consume much energy, but if you open and close it constantly, the energy use will rise. Since a side door operates manually, it uses far less energy. 

A side door also extends the life of your garage door opener. Generally, the primary garage door opens four times a day. However, the spring will wear more quickly if it opens more often. Besides, heat and cool air will also escape the garage if the primary door opens frequently. 


Of course, the side door also enhances the privacy factor. Think about it, the primary entrance is big, and once that opens, people can easily see the inside of the garage, which is not ideal.

This becomes annoying if you are using the garage for other purposes like a garage gym or a home office. Thankfully, you can stop people from prying by installing a side door which should make things easy. 

💁Making things pet-friendly

Those with dogs know how difficult it is to keep the little one away from you. They will probably be with you while you are working in the garage. To add to it, they must let out poop or go for a walk. With a garage door, you can easily do that without using too much electricity. 


Due to the pandemic, many people have converted their garage into a fitness center and used it for weight lifting, yoga, and many other forms of exercise. However, entering your gym through the garage door whenever you want to do dips is not convenient. However, with a side door, your problem is resolved. 

Do you need a fire-rated door?

Usually, the side garage door is small and connects to the outside. But this door shouldn’t be confused with the primary entrance that links the garage to the house. Thus, the side door doesn’t need to be fire-rated unless the building codes make it mandatory. 

An entry door that connects the house and garage must be fire rated. Having any door from the garage to your bedroom or sleeping space is not recommended. 

Do you need a fire-rated door?
Do you need a fire-rated door?

💁Side door installation cost

The cost of installing a side door depends on the door type, material, size, and mechanism. Overall it’s within the range of $790 – $3,000. You also need to consider the installation costs. But for that, you need to decide whether you want to retrofit the door within the garage door or install it on the outside wall. The second option is more expensive. 

💁Best side door material

Since the side door will be outside, you need to select a material that will be durable and sturdy. The most common choices are: 


This is the most popular material. It’s robust, weatherproof, and inexpensive. Besides proper insulation, it’s also energy efficient. There are also many options in regards to the finish. But it’s advisable to get it painted to prevent dent or rust. 


Wood is, of course, a classic choice and gives an elegant look to your garage. Hardwood is a good option for added strength. However, it’s priced higher up and requires regular maintenance. 


The best part about this material is that it comes in various textures and can resist wear and tear better than most other materials. You also have the flexibility of design with this material. The only downside is that fiberglass can crack due to heavy impact. 


This is the best if you are looking for a low or no maintenance option. It’s best for modern homes and is highly weather resistant. 

How to install the side door? 

It’s possible to retrofit or install any garage door. Many people choose to do this on their own using the various DIY kits available on the market. 

Such kits are also not very expensive. You can also buy the door components individually and get them installed. 

How to install the side door? 
How to install the side door? 

While installing the side door, the frames of the original door must be cut to fit the new jamb. However, the bottom strip should remain in place so that the door’s structural integrity is not lost. This creates a threshold of a kind. 

Based on the type of door you select, the threshold should be a few inches high, so people don’t trip and fall. 


Though having a side door installed is not mandatory, it’s advisable to check it out with the local authorities. A side door for your garage will make it more convenient and reduce energy consumption to a great extent. It adds the required level of privacy as well. However, make sure you pick the right material to make the door long-lasting and worth the money spent.