Normal Doors vs. Fire Doors – Benefits & Differences
We all know that fire doors are a little different from normal doors, but what is it that sets them apart exactly? And what benefits do we get from those differences?
This month at Surrey Tech Services Ltd, we’re going to take you through the ways in which normal doors and fire doors differ, so you can get a better picture of the two, along with how fire doors play a huge part in fire safety.
Before we dive in, we should note that when talking about fire doors, we’re talking about the whole thing. This includes the doorframe, door leaves, panels, hardware, seals and glazing.
What are fire doors made of?
There are a number of materials used in the construction of a fire door, including timber, steel, aluminium and gypsum. The combination of materials is part of what allows it to provide greater fire resistance (see next section for more detail).
A fire door can also contain a small window that is usually made from ceramic glass or borosilicate. The lines within this glass that you usually see are wire mesh to help prevent shattering when subjected to extreme conditions.
What are normal doors made of?
Ordinary doors aren’t required to give fire resistance, so can be made of any materials you choose. Commonly, a standard door will be solid wood, a solid core of composite wood or a hollow core where two door faces are held together with some form of paper or MDF.
For this reason, you can choose from a variety of normal doors with different weights depending on where you are placing them and the budget you have.
How long does a fire door resist fire for?
The important thing to know about fire door resistance times is that they differ depending on their construction. This means that fire doors are specifically designed to meet certain resistance levels. You can establish what length of time a door should be able to resist a fire for via the code it’s given, for example, FD30 gives 30 minutes of resistance, FD60 gives 60 minutes of resistance, and so on up to 120 minutes.
How long does a normal door resist fire for?
Since standard doors are not built with any type of fire resistance in mind, the time for which they can withstand flames is far, far lower, sometimes less than a minute. With different materials that have been used in construction and the density of doors differing, it’s hard to say how long a door would last, but it wouldn’t be very long at all, especially since it’s unlikely to have intumescent strips or a fire-rated frame to prevent flames from developing into the next room. In short, you could not rely on normal doors when a fire occurs in your building.
When do I need fire doors?
For any business, commercial premises, public buildings and HMOs, fire doors are a legal requirement. That’s because the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that the responsible person for the building must reduce the risk of a fire spreading, something fire doors are designed for.
Fire doors do two things for your building. Firstly, they provide compartmentation, ensuring fire is held back as long as possible to allow for fire and rescue services to arrive. Second, they preserve the evacuation routes in your building to allow people to exit calmly and safely. This is why businesses must have fire doors to meet the risk within their building.
Regulation 38 of The Building Regulations 2010 also dictates that fire safety information should be given to the responsible person when a building project is complete or first occupied. This will ensure that the individual knows the location and fire rating of any materials in the building.
When do I need normal doors?
Normal doors are fine at home, but for a commercial building of any kind, everything will depend on the layout of the building. For example, a fire door is required to separate every habitable room from the stairwell in a building with two or more storeys. Normal doors may be suitable for a toilet door or bathroom door.
You can find out more about where fire doors are and are not required via a fire risk assessment or by speaking to our specialist team about fire doors for your building.
At Surrey Tech Services Ltd, we’re dedicated to fire safety for businesses across London and the Home Counties – including Maidenhead, Guildford and Slough – including the installation of internal and external fire doors.
Call today and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about fire doors and arrange an appointment for a free site survey.