What Is A Fire Door?

Posted on: 10.03.2022
Categories: DCD News
Timber fire door with fire door keep shut sign

This may seem like a straightforward question to answer; a fire door is a physical barrier in a corridor or room, that slows the spread of fire and smoke for a tested period, in turn protecting escape routes and a building’s users and property. On the surface this is true but as with so many aspects of fire safety, there are many complexities and specific requirements to be fulfilled to meet the required building regulations and achieve compliant fire rated door sets.

In this blog, we’ll explain the main purpose of a fire rated door, how you identify a fire door, and perhaps most importantly, how best to maintain the fire resistance of a door leaf.

What is the Purpose of a Fire Door?

Fire rated doors are a key component in the passive fire protection system of a building. An effective fire door minimises the gap between door and frame, forming a barrier to stop the spread of fire and smoke, including cold smoke. There should be a consistent gap of no more than 3mm.

Correct fire door installation, which includes the frame, coupled with fire door essentials such as intumescent seals and fire rated hinges, increases the length of time that the door is effectively compartmentalising a building, protecting the property and its occupants.

Properly installed, well-maintained fire doors are purpose-made for preventing fires from spreading to other areas of a building. They’re often supplied as complete, tested fire door sets, which include the door blank and frame, making them easy to purchase and will give you confidence that you’re installing a compliant fire safety solution.

How do you Identify a Fire Door?

Fire ratings can vary from the best known FD30 rated timber door sets, up to FD120 or FD240 for steel fire doors. The most common timeframes for fire resistance are FD30 and FD60 which means the door has passed a fire test to either 30 minutes or 60 minutes respectively.

Many solid timber doors and solid core doors will have ironmongery fitted that is common to fire rated and non-fire rated doors, such as door closers, but all fire rated doors should display a certification label or plug, identifying them as a certified fire door. 

Fire door certification is provided by a testing house or certification body such as IFC Group or Warrington Fire. Fire doors are tested to European standard BS EN 1634-1:2014 or British Standard BS 476 Part 20 and 22: 1987. The certification label will indicate the door’s designated fire rating, e.g. FD30, FD60, or FD120. The label or plug is most commonly placed along the top edge of the door leaf so will not be immediately obvious when trying to identify a fire door. 

If you’d like to read more about this, ASDMA, the Architectural and Specialist Door Manufacturers Association, has published further information on fire doors, third-party certification, and certification bodies.

A secondary means of identifying a fire door is by the ironmongery. A fire rated door should be fitted with intumescent seals that, in the event of fire, would seal the gaps between the door and frame to prevent the spread of flames and smoke, and intumescent protection around items of morticed hardware such as fire door hinges and mortice lockcases. Intumescent and smoke seals will be visible when the door is open as they’re installed along the door edges or in the frame. 

Fire doors should also have mandatory fire signage fitted, which will be visible when the door is closed. Not all fire doors need to have a door closer or a lockcase installed but if they are, both should be well maintained and always working correctly.

Maintenance of Fire Doors

The responsible person in a building, whether it is a landlord or facilities manager, should conduct regular checks of fire doors to ensure that they’re functioning and no hardware needs replacing due to any wear and tear or damage. 

The key items of fire door ironmongery are:

Hinges – Fire door rated hinges should be checked to make sure they open and close without obstruction and that all fixings are present and secure.

Door Closers – Any closer should close the door into the frame, against any lock or latch. Check that all fixings are in place and secure.  You will need to regularly test that any electromagnetic hold open devices release correctly.

Locks and Latches - Lockcases and latch bolts should operate freely, be securely fixed into the door, and fitted with appropriate intumescent protection. Check any door furniture fully operates the latch and returns to the horizontal position.

Intumescent – Intumescent strips or intumescent seals should fit securely around the edges of the door or frame. Check that intumescent and smoke seals run continuously around the door and are not damaged. Intumescent sleeves for lockcases and intumescent protection for hinges and other morticed ironmongery items should be fitted at the time of hardware installation.

For more information, you can always refer to our handy 8 point fire door safety checklist from our previous blog for Fire Door Safety Week.

Fire safety measures save lives. The correct fire door specification and door certification, including compliant hardware, is essential for many types of premises so be sure to check and maintain the fire doors in your buildings. Our latest animation below highlights facts about the danger of fire and the products that we can supply to ensure your fire doors are compliant.

At Door Controls Direct we’ve compiled our own fire door ironmongery kits so you can be confident in purchasing a compliant set of hardware products suitable for many applications including corridors, storerooms, offices, and bathrooms. If you can’t see the products or information you need on our website, then we’re only a call or email away.

Related Products

ARRONE AR8187 Grade 13 Ball Bearing Fire Door Hinges

Code: HB1568SS

The ARRONE AR8187 Grade 13 Ball Bearing Fire Door Hinges are high performance, low friction ball-bearing hinges. They are BS EN 1935: 2002 Grade 13, fire-rated, and suitable for a maximum adjusted door weight of up to 120kg. 

Select either square or radiused corners.

Hinges are sold as singles, not pairs, complete with fixings.

£1.90 VAT excl