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Commercial Fire Rated Steel Door Systems

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Commercial Fire Rated Doors

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments respond to a fire every 24 seconds in the United States. Every 35 minutes, at least one civilian is injured in a fire. Every 144 minutes, one civilian dies because of a fire.

When it comes to installing metal and wood doors in your building, you want the peace of mind that the ones you choose will protect the lives of the people inside in case of emergency. At Automatic Door and Hardware, we carry doors with 20-, 45-, 60-, and 90-minute fire rating for maximum safety. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of installing quality fire rated doors in your building.

What Is a Fire-Rated Door?

A fire rated door is designed to give people the longest amount of time possible to escape during a fire or to be rescued. When it comes to surviving a fire, every minute counts.

Fire doors are tested against the elements. They have been intentionally constructed to stand up to fires for as long as possible and prevent the fire from spreading from one area to another.

Because they serve a life-saving purpose, fire doors need to be inspected regularly. The frequency will vary, depending on the age of the door, the material, and the condition of the door. Most professionals recommend that fire doors are inspected every three months.

While fire doors may be used in residential properties, they are primarily used in commercial buildings. Before a fire door is installed, it must meet strict building code guidelines to ensure that the door can withstand heat.

Fire doors should only be installed by experienced professionals. They have been specially engineered as a fire safety device and must be fitted correctly to work properly.

Fire doors are required in apartments or units that have multiple tenants. These doors should be inspected regularly to ensure they meet state and local building code requirements.

What Are the Features of Fire Doors?

A fire door can be made up of different components. The door may have a solid timber frame. Many are covered with fire-resistant glass, which can withstand heat exposure for up to 60 minutes before it reaches a temperature where it will soften.

The intumescent seal around fire doors expands when temperatures hit 200°C. This creates a fire-resistant seal that blocks off the gaps between the door and the frame.

In a residential setting, fire doors are often seen in parts of the home that have the greatest risk of fire. An example would be the kitchen or an electrical room. In single-residence homes, a fire door is optional. However, they are a must in houses with multiple occupants.

Fire doors come with an FD code, a door rating that indicates how long a fire door can withstand high temperatures. For example, FD 60 means that a door can withstand a fire for 60 minutes. The two most common designations are FD 60 and FD 30.

A fire door is made up of the following components:

  • The Frame: This frame is the same as is used on standard doors. Typically, the fire door and the frame are sold as a set.
  • Door Handles, Locks, Closers, and Hinges: These should be included as part of the door set. It is important to test these as they are pivotal to the door's security.
  • Securing Device: This would include some type of panic exit device, emergency exit device, and a device lock.
  • Intumescent Strip: This is designed to resist the passage of smoke and fire. A cold smoke seal will function even if surrounding temperatures have not reached 200°C.

How Do Fire-Rated Doors Help During a Fire?

Statistically, between 50 and 80% of fire deaths are because of smoke inhalation. When hot smoke enters the body, it damages the body and causes pulmonary irritation, thermal damage, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, and other damage because of cyanide and other combustible chemicals.

Fire-rated doors can slow down the spread of smoke and fire. However, they are not fireproof. Fire-rated doors are combustible and will eventually burn down in a fire. However, they are designed to withstand heat and flame penetration for a specified time, saving building occupants precious minutes to evacuate to safety.

Another benefit of fire-rated doors is that they may protect an individual’s assets or the assets of a business as firefighters try to put out the flames.

Most fire-rated doors have a fire rating of 30 minutes. Cheaper doors may only have a rating of 20 minutes, whereas more expensive doors may have a fire rating of 45 to 60 minutes. External fire doors may be made of different wood species, plywood, or a composite.

Interior doors are typically made from solid wood panels. They are fitted with fire glass or wired glass and contain protective fire-resistant glazing that improves the door’s ability to protect against radiant heat transmission. Fire doors for residential settings can be custom made to match the architectural details of the home.

Do You Need a Fire-Rated Door?

Fire-rated doors have significantly slowed the progression of smoke and fire in commercial settings. They have also been shown to be beneficial in multi-unit residential buildings. Depending on the size of the property, fire doors may have some benefit in a single-family residential setting.

Fire doors can help if they are properly maintained. If the hinges or closing mechanisms are broken, they will do no good. Fire doors must be properly installed, so that there are absolutely no gaps around the door.

What Is the Difference between a Fire Door and a Fire Exit?

A fire exit is located on an external wall, making it easy for people to exit the building in case of a fire. Fire doors, on the other hand, are centrally located within a building. But fire doors can also be fire exits if they are placed on the evacuation route.

An external fire door might remain open. If it is closed, it should be easy to open via a push exit. This will make it easier for people to exit the building in case of an emergency. Fire exits need to be clearly marked and do not need to be fire resistant.

A fire door will only slow the spread of fire and smoke if it is closed. Propping a fire door open is dangerous. Some fire doors have devices that hold them open. However, if the fire alarm sounds, these devices automatically release.

Fire doors should be equipped with signs that indicate that the door should remain closed.

Since fire doors are made of composite materials designed to hinder fire progress, they are typically heavier than other internal doors. Fire doors may have fire-resistant glazing around their windows.

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