When a fire emergency strikes, nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of the people inside the premises. And while many factors to consider—like having adequately trained security guards and reliable fire alarms—one of the most effective tools are fireproof doors.
This article will explain fire-rated doors, why they’re essential, and when your facility might need one – which is more likely than you think!
What Is A Fire-Rated Door?
Let’s be realistic: doors cannot be 100% fireproof. When fires break out inside a property, they create an intense heat known to melt steel doors. However, the function of fire-rated doors isn’t to survive the flames; instead, it’s to slow down the blaze and limit any potential damage from spreading throughout the entire building.
A fire-rated door is a type of door that is specifically designed to resist the effects of fire. They are typically rated by how long they can withstand the heat and flames without sustaining damage. It usually takes into account the material the door is made of, its thickness, shape, and size. The higher the rating, the longer it will be able to withstand fire before it sustains damage or becomes unusable.
Some doors are designed to keep out smoke and heat for 30 minutes, while others can withstand longer. These doors seal the area tightly and protect it from intense heat and smoke regardless of the type.
Do You Need One In Your Building?
Modern buildings often require fire-rated doors to abide by the Singapore Civil Defence Force(SCDF) mandates. These doors surround staircase and elevator shafts to help keep smoke or fire from spreading through numerous building floors.
In the event of a fire, these doors help ensure that evacuation routes remain accessible and safe for building occupants, emergency responders, and anyone else who may be present. In addition, fire protection systems are instrumental in minimising damage from fires (and related accidents) by preventing the spread of flames from one area to another – which is why it’s essential to choose the right system for your needs.
If your building does not currently have a fire-rated door, it is recommended to consult an experienced contractor like Hart Engineering to install one for you.
The Anatomy Of A Fire Door
A fire door consists of many different components, such as frames, doors, hardware, seals and glass that help keep out flames or smoke once closed.
Fire Rating Label
On fire ratings, you may see several minutes or hours. It is the fire endurance rating, which the certifying agency gives after exposing the door to extreme temperatures reaching as high as 1,925° F (approximately 1,000° C). You’ll see these in intervals of 30, 60, 120, or 240 minutes, while some labels show hours. Fire rating labels are typically found on the hinge side of the door and the door frame, hidden from view.
There are many different fire door ratings. Wooden-rated doors, for instance, come with a 30-minute rating – it often carries this label because they’re commonly found in residential buildings.
Fire Resistant Door
Fire-rated doors themselves can be either made from wood or steel. Steel fire-rated doors typically have higher fire ratings because they are non-flammable and don’t contribute to the flame – no matter what situation arises. Wooden fire-rated doors are usually equipped with a gypsum core, which is resistant to heat and not combustible, or they may contain a regular plasterboard instead.
Fire Resistant Glass and Seals
Some fire doors may include vision panels with glass rated for fires, but these are typically only seen in lower fire-rated doors. Fire doors must also have an intumescent strip at the bottom to seal them off from outside air sources.
The glass used in fire door assemblies is tested for its ability to withstand intense heat. However, current codes also require it to be tested for resistance against being shattered. It means that each piece of glass must have markings labelled as either resistant against impact or hazardous when broken due to heat exposure. Otherwise, the glass can not be used indoors or in other areas where people risk damaging them.
Fire Resistant Latching Hardware
Fire-rated doors must be shut close during fires, or the door won’t stop or slow the spread of fire and smoke. Every fire door needs self-closing mechanisms combined with steel ball-bearing hinges, as these are tougher than standard ones.
Fire Protective VS Fire Resistive Doors
Knowing the difference between fire-resistant and fire-protective matters because you need to consider how much protection your property needs. It can depend on your commercial building; for example, you need a fire-resistive door in a school science lab with highly combustible substances that require protection from high heat.
Fire Protective: If an assembly is classified as fire-protective, it defends against the spread of flames and smoke to protect people for a specific time. A typical fire-protective door would be appropriate if building codes allow door-protective assemblies, including the door itself, sidelights, or windows. Traditional wired glass, glass ceramics, and tempered glass can all be used to achieve this protection.
This type only partially stops heat from transferring to the other side of the glass, but it can be fire-rated for up to 180 minutes but with size limitations.
Fire Resistive: If an assembly is fire-resistant, it has the same protection against flames and smoke as its fire-protective counterpart but also offers another level of security by blocking off radiant and conductive heat.
Fire resistance is weaker than fireproofing. Most fire-resistant doors are only rated for 45 minutes’ worth of protection against fires or smoke. Experts point out that the chief difference between fire-resistant and fireproofing materials is that they are not supposed to be able to contain heat.
Can Glass Doors be Fire-Rated?
Fire-rated glass is a particular type of glass that is specifically designed to offer protection against fires. It acts as an impenetrable shield against flames, thus preventing them from spreading, and it stops any smoke from invading other parts of the building.
Depending on the type of glass used, this glazed panel may also act as an insulator, which protects the rest of the building from extreme heat caused by fires. All fire-rated doors containing glass must use fire-resistant material, according to strict building regulations.
Manufacturers offer a wide range of fire-resistant glass doors for various applications. For instance, these doors are used in high-rise buildings and other places requiring higher security levels. The door, frame, lite kits, and hardware create the necessary protection for the building.
Installing a fire-rated door is not easy, but it can be done with the help of experts in the industry. Hart Engineering prides itself on creating compliant solutions that provide customers with peace of mind regarding fire safety. Contact us today, and we’ll help ensure that your property has the necessary equipment to meet your needs.