A fire door can be the last line of defence between yourself and a fearsome blaze. And since these doors perform such a vital duty, it’s essential to learn as much as possible about them, because even a small misconception can lead to absolute disaster.
Fire Doors: The 411
Fire doors are doors that have been specially built and installed. The most common form of fire door found in residential properties is the FD30, which when installed with the correct hardware by a highly experienced carpenter, can withstand flames and dangerous fumes for up to 30 minutes.
Will Every Door In My Home Need to Be Replaced?
Installing fire doors isn’t normally necessity. However, for those looking for peace of mind in the knowledge that they’ve taken all appropriate steps to keep the things that mean the most to them in the world as safe as they can, it’s a great addition.
You must consider the following, however:
- Inspect your current doorframes. FD30 doors are thicker than your average internal door, at around 44mm.
- A fire door is just a glorified slab of wood if it isn’t fitted correctly. Only an experienced carpenter should be considered for the job.
- Changing your habits is essential. If you prop open your doors, ensure that you close them when you go to bed or leave the house.
Does Every Home Need a Fire Door?
If you’re renovating, converting or extending your home, then take the advice of your contractor, they will be able to guide you on whether you should have a door installed and if so, where.
However, fire doors are critical if:
- You have a door leading from the garage directly into the home in a two-storey property.
- You’re renovating a property with three or more storeys; this includes loft conversions.
- You have more than three storeys; you’ll need to ensure any room leading off a staircase has fire doors installed.
Check out this article for more info on the basics.
Misconception 1: ‘If I’m Rented Accommodation, Is It Up to Me to Install Fire Doors?’
No. Your landlord is the person responsible under the Fire Safety Order to either undertake the work or find a suitable contractor to ensure the home is up to the required standard. However, it is responsibility of the tenants to find out who this responsible person is.
Misconception 2: ‘Can I Put Décor in Front of a Fire Door? It’s Light and Easy to Move.’
This is a question I’ve heard before, and the answer is certainly not. You should never have anything in front of a fire door. You must have a clear exit path at all times, just in case the worst does occur.
Misconception 3: ‘Does Painting Any Door With Fireproof Paint Make it a Fire Door?’
This doesn’t turn any old door into one capable of holding off flames. Every fire door is manufactured using only certified and tested materials recognised by the British Woodwork Foundation.
Misconception 4: ‘Is All Ironmongery Fire Proof?’
No. Any ironmongery used on fire doors is subject to the same rigorous testing as the doors themselves. Metal is a conductor of heat and will become extremely hot when placed under the strain of an intense blaze. This will turn your ironmongery from the strongest element on the door to the weakest, so it’s vital to buy approved hardware, otherwise, the door won’t function correctly.
Misconception 5: ‘There’s A Gap Between the Door and The Frame, Does This Matter?’
Yes, it does. The closed seal around the perimeter of the door is precisely what prevents toxic gases and noxious fumes passing through. Recent research shows that over 60% of the fire doors used as examples in the research completed by firedoors.co.uk had fire or smoke seals either missing, installed incorrectly or not filling parameter gaps correctly.
Misconception 6: ‘Does Each Fire Door Come With Certifications?’
Yes. Every fire door you purchase must have an up-to-date accredited test certificate. This certification confirms the door’s fire rating, test benchmarks and manufacturing conformity. It also details each component’s compliance with the approved standards. Be sure to look for a label or certification mark on top or at the side of the door, without this seal you cannot be sure you’re getting the right equipment.
Having a fire door installed requires a different procedure than a regular door. It’s quite a fiddly process and requires the expertise of an experienced carpenter to ensure all safety equipment is fitted correctly.
Failure to adhere to the correct standards could render the door useless and potentially put lives at risk. Having said that, don’t be afraid to maintain your door, all safety equipment should be regularly examined to ensure safety and functionality. Even seemingly insignificant changes to the environment around the door can affect its ability to perform its intended purpose, so it is vital to routinely inspect it.