Quality External and Internal Doors at Great Prices
0 Items

Call 01332 770588

Filter Products x

Express Delivery

What Are Fire Doors and How Do They Work?

You will most likely have seen them in offices, commercial buildings, theatres, schools and hospitals etc, but fire doors have also become a popular choice for shoppers looking to upgrade the internal doors in their homes.

Not only do fire doors have the potential to save lives by buying everybody within the property extra time to get out in the event of a fire, but the wide selection of materials and designs available means consumers don't have to sacrifice style for safety.

Let's explore the vital role fire-rated doors play in more detail:

What Is a Fire Door?

A fire-rated door is a door that has been designed to stall the spread of fire and smoke throughout a property. This added fire protection buys precious time for you and your loved ones to escape in the event of a fire.

While a fire door can be designed to look like a regular door, it will also have been given a third-party certification for its fire-resistant properties.

What Is the Purpose of a Fire Door?

The main aim of a fire door is compartmentation. This means that the fire door will act as a barrier keeping flames and smoke separate from the rest of the house for a specified amount of time.

This provides vital minutes (the exact time allowance depends on the specific rating of the door) for you, your loved ones and any guests staying with you to get out of the house.

So, in addition to cutting the path of a fire off for as long as possible, when numerous fire doors are installed strategically they create escape routes.

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

While fire doors may be designed to look just like regular doors, there are a few key differences:

  • Fire doors have been specifically designed to block smoke and fire spreading throughout a home and non-domestic properties.

  • They have been tested and given a specific certification such as FD30 or FD60, for example.

  • A fire door is usually a minimum of 10mm thicker than non-fire doors. As a result, they are usually heavier too.

  • Fire doors are able to close automatically with the addition of a door closer.

  • During installation, a silicone-based fire-resistant sealant called an intumescent strip will be applied around each door edge and will swell in response to heat. This blocks any gaps and works to keep flames and smoke at bay.

  • If you've selected glazed fire doors, these will include fire-resistant glass.

  • In addition to the door itself and any glass panels, all of the ironmongery also has to be fire-resistant.

Non-fire doors may have some of these features, but unless they have received a fire door certification from a third party, and are installed within a door frame that conforms to the specifications in the door’s data sheet, they can't be called a fire door.

Why Are Fire Doors Important?

There are many reasons why fire doors are vital, with the main one being to stall the spread of fire, giving everybody in the building as much time to escape as possible.

However, in some non-domestic buildings, fire doors can play a role in preventing the outbreak of fire entirely. To do this, you'd have to accumulate all ignition points into one room, separated from any potential fuels that could cause a spark by a fire door.

Are All Internal Doors Fire Doors?

Unfortunately not. While they may have some of the features mentioned above, if they haven't been fire door certified, they won't count as a fire door.

Do Fire Doors Stop Smoke?

The cause of death from a house fire is often not through direct contact with the fire itself but through smoke inhalation.

With that in mind, it's vital that you ensure that any fire doors you purchase can block smoke as well as fire. There are some situations where a fire door isn't designed to block smoke, such as where smoke leakage is necessary in the early identification of a fire.

How Do Fire Doors Work?

Fire doors are able to keep flames and smoke at bay because of their intumescent seals. These are fitted inside the door frame and at the base and expand when heated to 200 degrees.

As a reference, fire usually hits intense heat of 600-800 degrees. On average, a fire will reach 200 degrees within the first ten to twenty minutes of starting.

When these intumescent seals begin to swell and expand, they will close any natural gaps between the door and the door frame. This will keep the fire contained within the room for a minimum duration and will also stop smoke from travelling throughout the premises if designed to do so.

In addition, fire doors are designed to sit flush within their frames, and are usually installed with automatic door closing devices.

All of these together make for an effective barrier.

Can A Fire Door Be Used As A Normal Door?

Yes, they can and often are in residential properties. It is a legal requirement for Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to install fire doors, including flats.

Additionally, it’s advised that you install internal fire doors in any area that has fire safety concerns. A kitchen, for example, is perhaps the most at-risk room in the home when it comes to the likelihood of a fire breaking out.

It's also advised that you install fire doors in place of any door leading to an exit as an escape route during a fire. You should also identify more than one escape route out of your home to be as prepared as possible for any outcome.

What Are Fire Doors Made of?

The materials used to construct most fire doors are usually a combination of:

  • aluminium

  • gypsum

  • steel

  • timber.

They comprise a solid core which is then surrounded by Formica, veneer or timber. For primed and fully finished fire doors, a decorative finish is then applied.

Some fire doors may have glazing. To make this fire resistant, the panes will usually be made from ceramic glass or borosilicate. Some glazed designs may also include anti-shattering wire mesh.

How Are Fire Doors Rated?

Fire doors and the door frames they sit in are rigorously tested, using a procedure in line with either BS EN 1634-1:2014 or BS 476-22:1987 building regulations.

The test includes exposing one side of the door leaf to a controlled fire and measuring its stability and integrity. On the other side of the door, a fibrous pad that is combustible is applied. The time it takes for the pad to ignite is the basis of the fire rating the door is given.

In these tests, two different doors made to the same specifications must be used so that 'both sides' of the fire door leaf can be tested.

Once the test is complete, a fire-resistance rating is applied. These include:

  • FD30 - can withstand fire for up to 30 minutes

  • FD60 - can withstand fire for up to 60 minutes

  • FD90 - can withstand fire for up to 90 minutes

  • FD120 - can withstand fire for up to 120 minutes

FD60 ratings and above tend to be chosen for bigger properties, where it may take longer to escape. All of the fire doors in our collection have an FD30 or FD60 fire door rating.

[Shop our fire doors range]

How Often Should Fire Doors Be Checked?

If you're planning on buying new fire doors, or you've already installed some, you need to periodically check them to ensure they will perform as expected.

You should carry out fire door inspections a minimum of once every six months. If you use your door incredibly frequently, you may want to increase the number of times you check per year.

If you're interested in the requirements regarding installing fire doors in specific areas, take a look at our post.

Range of Fire Doors Available at Vibrant Doors

Fire doors play a vital role in keeping you, your loved ones and your home as safe as possible. Simply put, fire doors save lives.

At Vibrant Doors, we stock over 500 different fire doors. Our collection includes an extensive variety of styles, materials and finishes from well-known brands.

When you shop with us, you can enjoy excellent prices, a safe and secure payment process and swift delivery. If you spend more than £750 on your doors and door furniture and accessories, delivery is free.

Articles & Information

Where Are Fire Doors Required in Commercial Buildings?

Ensure safety compliance: Discover where fire doors are required in commercial buildings, ensuring a secure and protected environment.

Domestic Fire Doors and Building Regulations

Peace of mind at home: Understand domestic fire doors and their role in building regulations to prioritise safety within your living space.

Fire Door Frames - All You Need To Know

Frame of safety: Explore all the crucial information about fire door frames, their types, and significance in fire protection.

What Are Intumescent Strips?

Guardians of safety: Learn about intumescent strips and their vital role in fire door protection, expanding to seal gaps in case of fire.

What Are Fire Doors and How Do They Work?

Fire safety explained: Discover what fire doors are and how they work to prevent the spread of fire and protect lives and property.

If you have a question which isn't covered by one of our handy guides, why not drop us an email and we'll be happy to assist.

Contact Us

Copyright Vibrant Doors 2024. All rights reserved. Sitemap