How Are Fire-Rated Doors Made and Tested?
According to National Fire Protection Agency, local fire departments responded to nearly 1.4 million fires that accounted for 3,500 civilian deaths, 15,200 civilian injuries and $21.9 billion in property damages last year. Every 23 seconds, a fire department in the United States is responding to a fire. As you can see, fires are a big problem and can cause serious harm and damage.
Fire-rated doors, also called fire-resistant doors, play a big part in a building’s passive fire protection system. Learn more about fire-rated doors and why you need them for your business.
What Is a Fire-Rated Door?
Fire-rated doors are designed to slow or stop the spread of fire and smoke. This is achieved through their designed features and material makeup.
The term “fire-rated” means that the door is designed not to combust during a specific time frame in an average fire. It takes at least 20 minutes for one of these doors to start to give way, which is much longer than the average door. Ultimately, these doors buy extra time during a fire and prevent rapid spread.
Types of Fire-Rated Doors
There are different kinds of fire-rated doors. Fire-rated doors come in an abundance of styles, so the difference that matters is the fire rating and level of protection. This is typically displayed within the product name or description.
For example, an FD30 stands for a fire door built to resist fire for up to 30 minutes. An FD30S is a fire door that also resists fire for up to 30 minutes and resists smoke from passing through. Therefore, the 30 is the fire rating, and the FD and S stand for the level of protection. Here are the most common time ratings for fire doors:
- 20 minutes
- 30 minutes
- 45 minutes
- 60 minutes
- 90 minutes
- 180 minutes
What Are the Requirements for Fire Doors?
Laws and regulations regarding fire doors vary depending upon states, cities, townships and municipalities, so be sure to check your local fire-rated door requirements. However, some general requirements are enforced no matter where you are located. Here are some common basic requirements:
- The unit must be self-closing.
- The unit must be self-latching.
- The unit must have a label attached.
- The door frame must have an attached or embossed label.
- The unit must have steel bearing hinges.
- The unit must have “listed” hardware.
- The maximum glass allowed in 20 minute-rated door is 1,296 square inches per lite.
- The maximum glass allowed in a 45 minute-rated door with a C or E label is 1,296 square inches per lite.
- The maximum glass allowed in a 60 minute-rated door with a B label is 100 square inches per lite.
- The maximum glass allowed in a 90 minute-rated door with a B label is 100 square inches per lite.
- No glass is allowed in a 90 minute-rated door with a D label.
- No glass is allowed in a 3 hour-rated door with an A label.
Do You Need a Fire-Rated Door?
You may be wondering if you need a fire-rated door for your business. Fire doors are required for all commercial businesses within the United States. Buildings with businesses that need a kitchen, such as restaurants, hotels, schools and hospitals, will always have fire-rated doors. Other elevated risk areas include laundry rooms, large electrical equipment rooms and workshops. However, fires can start almost anywhere.
The number of fire doors you need is also an important factor to keep in mind. How many doors you need depends on the layout of your particular property. While there are no set specifications, there are some guidelines for installing fire doors. Fire-rated doors should be at:
- All main exits
- Entrances and exits to stairwells
- Corridors and horizontal exits
Whether your business is required to install fire-rated doors, they are always a great precautionary step to take when it comes to protecting yourself, your employees and anyone else in your establishment.
What Fire Resistance Rating Do You Need?
What level of fire resistance rating you need depends on the location and the fire rating classification of the wall where the door is being installed. Here are some of the required door ratings for specific areas of a building based upon location and purpose:
- Doors that separate buildings or divide a building into designated fire areas require a 180-minute rating.
- Doors placed as openings to an elevator shaft or stairwell require a 90-minute rating.
- Doors that divide occupancies within a building require a 60-minute rating.
- Doors used for openings in corridors or room partitions require a 45-minute rating.
- Doors in corridors where smoke and draft control is required must have at least a 20-minute rating.
How to Check Your Doors for Fire Safety
It is always important to make sure your doors are functioning properly, meeting requirements and ready to perform their best in an emergency. More specifically, check these five areas of the door:
- Certification: The certification on the door should be your go-to in determining if a particular door is fire-rated. You can find these certification labels on the top or side of the door. The label will specifically say whether it is a fire door, and it will display the fire rating and other specifications of the door.
- Gaps: Check the gaps around the top and side of the door and ensure they are less than 4 millimeters when the doors are closed. The gap on the bottom of the door can be slightly larger, but ideally, you should not be able to see light from under the door. This helps to minimize the amount of smoke and flames that pass through the gaps.
- Seals: Check for intumescent seals around the door and ensure that they will expand when exposed to heat. These seals make certain flames and smoke cannot pass through the door.
- Hinges: Ensure all hinges are firmly connected and that there are no missing screws. This will help make sure the structure of the door is solid and cannot be knocked over easily by falling objects.
- Functionality: Make sure the door is functioning properly, particularly that it closes and latches firmly without sticking on the floor or frame. A fire door is only effective if it is completely closed, so it is crucial to ensure nothing prevents it from closing.
Get Fire-Rated Doors From Manhattan Door
If you need fire-rated doors for your business, consider Manhattan Door Corporation. We offer several different door cores, including fire-rated wooden doors and our exclusive diet core. View the specifications for all of our doors and request a quote. If you have any questions, please reach out to us today!
My friend wants to make sure that people can get out of his business easily if there’s a fire. It makes sense that having fire resistant doors would be important! That way, the fire can be kept in one area and help ensure people can escape easily.
A fire door is a great precautionary step to protect yourself. Hire an expert in fire door installation to ensure quality work.