There are several things you need to know when shopping for fire doors, such as safety precautions, building regulations and the latest designs available.
Firstly, it’s important to remember that fire doors aren’t ordinary doors; they are an engineered safety product — a vital part of any building. Fire doors work by fitting intumescent strips around the edges of the door that lie dormant during everyday use, but when in contact with extreme heat, they expand at a rapid rate, sealing the gap between door and door frame, creating a barrier against fire. You can also install intumescent strips with smoke seals to stop the smoke getting through the door as well as the fire.
However, for a fire door to protect escape routes, prevent the spread of fire, and restrict the amount of oxygen feeding the fire, it must be installed correctly and kept closed at all times.
What should you look for in a fire door?
When buying fire doors, always ensure that you use a reputable and expert supplier and that all fire doors are fire-rated. Fire doors offer either 30 minutes or 60 minutes of resistance against smoke and flames and come with a FD30 or FD60 rating, respectively. This can be checked on the label found on the top of the door, which should also state the manufacturer’s name and its unique traceability code.
In addition, all essential ironmongery such as hinges, closers, locks and latches must be CE marked and fire protected otherwise the fire door will not be fit for purpose if a fire breaks out. UK Building Regulations are very clear and any small differences in detail, such as glazing, apertures, intumescent strips, door frames and ironmongery may significantly affect the rating.
Fire doors come in different sizes and have standard thicknesses of 44mm and 54mm. Jeld-Wen also offer a 35mm thick fire door option that will fit into existing frames, which will save time, money and minimise mess to your home if you are renovating. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions that come with the door as trimming allowances may vary, but it is crucial that these are never trimmed from the top edge.
It is recommended that you use a professional installer who knows how to correctly fit a fire door. As well as using the correct hardware and adding the certified strips there should be no more than a 3mm gap on the top and sides of the doors, and no more than 10mm gap on the bottom to the flooring. When fitting doors, it is essential to follow the instructions provided with them.
Where do you need to install a fire door?
If you’re renovating your home or adding an extension, it’s recommended that you use a fire door for any room where a fire is most likely to start, such as the kitchen, a room with a fireplace or any room that contains electrical or flammable items. However, Building Regulations stipulate:
- When adding doors to a loft conversion, a safe corridor from the loft to the outside of the building is created, so a fire door is essential for protecting an escape route.
- An internal garage door that leads into a house must have a fire door.
- A new build or renovated property where you have added another floor to create a property with three stories or more, must have FD30 fire doors from the third floor to the outside of the building. Any cupboards containing electrical or gas services must also have a fire door fitted to protect these escape routes
Fire Door Safety Week
Around three million new fire doors are bought and installed in the UK every year, however, they remain an area of significant confusion and miscommunication. The BWF’s (British Woodworking Federation) Fire Door Safety Week (14-20 September) is crucial in raising awareness of the critical role correctly installed fire doors play in saving lives and protecting property.
Staying safe yet stylish
Although adhering to exacting safety standards, fire doors don’t need to compromise on style and aesthetics.
You can choose many designs in finishes such as fashionable oak or contemporary veneers to match up to other doors and interior décor.
The unique 35mm fire doors from Jeld-Wen are also available in popular designs so you can suite up to others in the home without removing existing frames.