What’s a Fire-Rated Door?
United States fire departments responded to 1,319,500 fires in 2017. As a matter of fact, according to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), a fire department in the U.S. reacted to a fire every twenty-four seconds.
There were 499,000 building fires, and 72% of these structure fires happened in home structures. In addition, of those 3,400 civilian fire fatalities in 2017, 77% happened in residential structures.
Could fire-rated doors assist in reducing the loss of property and life in household settings? Here is what you should know about them.
What’s a fire-rated door?
A fire rated door, by definition, is a door or entryway designed with the purpose of resisting the spread of fire if any component of a commercial structure catches on fire. If a fire breaks out inside a kitchen, with fire rated doors, and with all doors shut, the fire takes longer to spread to the break room and dining room.
A fire-resistant door – or fire-rated door — is specifically made to prevent or slow the spread of smoke and fire.
A fire-rated door is an extremely heavy door designed of materials such as gypsum or metal. The word ‘fire-rated’ means that the door, when properly installed, isn’t meant to combust during a specific frame of time in the average fire. While time ratings usually vary, standard ratings involve 20- to 90-minute doors.
Such doors are more typical in commercial structures than in-home structures. Fire-rated doors are frequently installed in public structures, in office structures and within places such as dormitories.
Typical home applications involve installation in multi-family homes, garages, and in entryways.
How might a fire-rated door help in a fire?
Fire-rated doors will help prevent or slow the spread of smoke and fire, but they aren’t made to be fully fireproof. The doors are designed for combustible materials and eventually will burn through within a fire. But they’ll resist the penetration of flames and heat to slow fire for a certain period of time.
And in containing the smoke and fire, they offer extra time for you to leave the building. Most folks concentrate on the element of fire, and they underestimate the significance of decreasing smoke inhalation. But most folks who die in home fires do it as a consequence of smoke inhalation.
Fire-rated doors also may assist in protecting personal assets and property while firefighters work to put out the fire.
Do you actually need a fire-rated door?
A fire rating doesn’t necessarily indicate the quantity of time a door will stand up to a fire. For instance, a fire door that is rated 60 minutes doesn’t guarantee that the door will stand up to fire for 1 hour. That rating means that within a controlled test situation, a new door held up for 1 hour. But, in the real-world application, additional factors such as heat intensity greatly could decrease this estimate.
Even though a fire-rated door is made to prevent a fire from passing from one room to another, let’s be honest. Even with the proper door, a serious fire may melt steel.
In addition, a fire door will not do you any good if the door is open or the closing mechanism doesn’t work properly. Also, the door must be installed properly to ensure that there aren’t any gaps around it.
Fire doors will offer peace of mind. But, correctly using your present doors might be all that’s needed to do in a fire. Within a residential setting, the simplistic act of shutting the door to a room can prevent or will slow the smoke and heat from getting inside the room and hurting occupants or destroying other property inside. If a fire originates inside the room, the shut door might help to slow the spread of fire to other parts of a home, depending upon the time the fire burns before it is extinguished.
Commercial Fire Safety
All U.S. commercial properties have to be inspected on an annual basis by the NFPA. The underwriter’s lab agency determines whether any particular door model attains the fire-resistance ratings that are acceptable inside the U.S. Fire ratings for doors are based upon time.
Metal doors (both double and single doors) ratings consist of twenty minutes, 45 minutes, 90 minutes or a three-hour rating. Fire-rated wood doors are available with 3 options: 20, 45, as well as 90-minute ratings.
Those time-based tests are based upon the timed exposure of flames a door and assembly may handle; assessing the hardware, door and wall assembly as written in building code standards. These doors are placed into a massive furnace to correctly test a door against its particular rating.
When determining upon any particular given door model it is critical to know that “UL 20”, for instance, means an underwriter’s lab has tested a door at twenty minutes of fire resistance.
What Materials Are Used in Fire Rated Metal Doors?
Standards of how hollow metal frames and doors are designed to determine the fire safety protection level as far as UL safety ratings are concerned.
Labels for Fire Rated Doors
All U.S. fire rated doors have to be labeled using a permanent label that has to stay legible. Besides fire-rated doors, frames also must have a readable, permanent label.
For more information on fire-rated doors contact EtoDoors today at (213) 622-2003.
Tal Hassid has been in the door industry for over 15 years. He is founder ETO Doors, manufacturer and vendor for residential and commercial doors for both exterior and interior uses.
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