What Is A Fire Door and Who Needs Them?
Let’s start by understanding that a fire door is not like any other door, it’s an engineered safety device designed to withstand fire for a specified amount of time. Fire doors certified as being FD30 will withstand a raging inferno for at least 30 minutes and FD60 doors are designed to offer 60 minutes of fire protection. FD30 is the normal specification for domestic fire doors whereas FD60 doors are often used in public places such as hotels, schools and offices. Whatever fire door you fit, it must be fitted correctly.
This first video gives us a good general idea of the various components of a fire protection system. The video is mostly demonstrating what to look for when inspecting fire doors in public places but it is just as relevant when considering fire doors fitted to domestic premises.
A fire door’s performance should never be compromised. The correct grade of glass plus certified fittings and ironmongery must be used. Do not alter or adapt the door leaf (the swinging part that most of us call the “door”) on site and always use the correct frames. Always install the correct intumescent seals, these are designed to expand when heated, thus closing the gap between door and frame and preventing smoke and flames from getting past the door whilst stopping further oxygen entering the room and thus feeding the flames..
The following video demonstrates very graphically what can happen if a certified fire door is incorrectly fitted.
– This BWF-CERTIFIRE Scheme video shows three different doors tested under the same conditions. Door A – incorrectly glazed : Door B – correctly glazed and installed : Door C – ordinary letter plate and no intumescent seals.
Fire doors are normally 45mm thick, compared to the standard door thickness of 35 mm. One hour (FD60) fire doors which are typically used in commercial premises such as hotels and public places are normally 54mm thick.
A typical fire door will have a solid core construction which can include: solid timber, chipboard, flaxboard and particleboard. Construction of a fire door varies considerably, some have a a lipping (5-20mm thick) around the core with a veneer on top, others have timber framing around the core with a laminated veneer and in some cases a plywood, MDF or veneer facing is glued to the core with neither lippings or framing. There is no single correct construction method, it’s simply a case of achieving the desired fire rating.
It is absolutely vital that all fire doors are fitted with the correct intumescent strips which play a vital part in the fire door doing its job. When heated, the strips expand filling the gap between the door edge and its frame. Intumescent seals are normally fitted to the door frame but they can be embedded into the door edge. Advice on the intumescent strips can be obtained from the test evidence report from the particular door that is being fitted. The testing report, together with complete fitting instructions should be supplied with every new fire door. If they are missing from your door then get on the phone or email the supplier to request that they send this documentation.