Introduction to Fire-Rated Doors
We all know how devastating the effects of a fire can be. Without appropriate fire safety measures in place, fires can quickly get out of control and destroy properties – and, most importantly, lives.
That’s why Fire Doors are so important. Fire Doors play a pivotal role in helping stop the spread of fire in commercial, public and multiple-occupancy buildings.
A Fire Door can significantly slow or even stop the spread of fire between separate compartments of a building to enable safe exit. Slowing a fire down means that people have more time to get to safety and wait for the fire service to arrive.
The presence of a well-manufactured and properly installed Fire Door can often be the difference between life and death.
What is a Fire-Rated Door?
A Fire-Rated Door or Fire Door is a very heavy door with a fire-resistance rating that is used as part of a building’s passive fire protection system.
Depending on the specifications and compliance it is built to, a Fire Door will be resistant to fire and/or smoke when exposed to these hazardous elements for a certain amount of time, depending on its rating.
How do Fire-Rated Doors differ from normal doors?
A normal door such as a typical office or bedroom door won’t provide enough protection from fire or smoke. But why?
Normal doors are not made of resistant materials and will quickly be overcome by fire or allow potentially lethal smoke through the gaps around its edges.
Fire Doors, on the other hand, are designed to slow or even stop the spread of fire. Fire-Rated Doors are given a fire-resistance rating, and can be made of a combination of resistant materials, such as glass, gypsum, steel, timber and aluminium. Some Fire Doors have windows made from wired glass, which is fire-resistant.
It should be noted that Fire-Rated Doors are designed to be kept closed, and any gaps between the wall and the door must be filled with a fire-resistant sealant.
When do you need a Fire Door?
There must be a Fire Door separating the stairwell and every habitable room (excluding toilets or bathrooms) in all homes more than two storeys high. That also includes loft conversions and rooms between a house and integral garage.
Fire Doors are often mandatory in a block of flats or similar – so, if you are a landlord or owner of properties of these kinds, you will need to install fire doors for the safety of residence and to prevent the quick spread of potential fires.
You also need to properly install Fire Doors in commercial or public properties, such as workplaces or large shopping centres, due to the high volume of people that will be in such buildings or structures on a daily basis.
The UK Fire Safety Order legislation states that: ‘all emergency routes and exits must lead as directly as possible to a place of safety’.
The onus of ensuring that a working fire door is present in a building is on the ‘responsible person’ – defined by the Fire Safety Order as ‘the employer, if to any extent the building is under his control (in relation to a workplace)’. The responsible person has a number of key responsibilities, such as making sure that there are safe routes for people to exit the premises in the event of a fire.
If you are uncertain about whether or not you need Fire Doors in your property, you should check with your building manager or insurance provider. There are – understandably – considerable fines and penalties for landlords or employers that fail to install fire doors.
Intumescent seals: what are they and how do they work?
The weakest point of a fire door is the gap between the door and the frame. This makes intumescent seals (the part which seals the edges of the door in the event of a fire) crucial to the functionality of a Fire Door. These seals can prevent the spread of fire and smoke for up to 60 minutes, depending on the fire door specification.
There are two different types of intumescent seals:
Fire-only seals will prevent the spread of fire alone. The seal expands when exposed to heat, thereby closing any gaps between the door and the frame. In most cases, some smoke will still be able to pass through a fire-only door – though, of course, considerably less than in the case of a normal door.
Fire Doors with fire-and-smoke seals protect against the spread of both fire and cold smoke. In contrast to fire-only doors, fire-and-smoke doors are fitted with a brush or a flipper, which will prevent the spread of both smoke and fire up to a certain time limit.
How do FD30 and FD30S doors differ?
Fire Doors are available in various fire ratings and provide different levels of protection according to the needs that apply to the use of the building and the people that use it.
At Vigor Doors, our standard Fire Doors hold a FD30 or a FD30S rating.
FD30 is the most common specification for Fire Doors leading to escape routes. These doors are built to resist fire for up to 30 minutes.
FD30S Fire Doors not only resist fire but are also able to stop the spread of cold smoke, due to them having smoke brushes in addition to intumescent strips. Smoke inhalation is the cause of death in around 42% of fire-related fatalities, so these strips on doors that FD30S-compliant Fire Doors could be the difference between life and death in some cases.
Sectors we work with
At Vigor Doors, we not only create standard and custom Fire-Rated Doors and doorsets for a range of different sectors, but also – as part of our commitment to the highest standards of customer care and safety – strive to educate our clients on best practices for installing and maintaining their doors.
Although we’re proud to manufacture Fire Doors – alongside our other door products – in Teesside in the North-East of England, we’re very pleased to be able to supply, deliver and install Fire Doors for – among others – the following sectors:
- Educational sector – nurseries, schools, universities, colleges, conference centres and higher education institutions – including high rise student accommodation
- Residential sector – flats, houses, hotels and B&Bs
- Health care sector – hospitals, surgeries, hospices, dental and veterinary practices
What fire doors do Vigor Doors supply?
At Vigor Doors, our standard-sized Fire Doors consist of a flush door (with a solid core without any panelling) and an intumescent seal.
Vigor Doors manufacture paint grade, veneered, laminate, foil and vision panel Fire Doors.
Our standard-sized Fire Doors will, of course, be the quickest and cheapest option for you.
But we also offer a customised service. So, if you need something more bespoke, our in-depth knowledge, experience creating custom orders and contacts within the industry mean that we will be able to meet your needs with ease.
There are a number of different factors – such as the fire rating, type of glass or core you require – that might impact on potential door sizes and choices. Your unique requirements will determine which type we are able to manufacture for you.
Do fire doors have to be so unattractive?
We get what you mean.
The je ne sais pas quoi of a room in an historic building or a romantic B&B can be undermined somewhat by out-of-place, big, bulky, plain fire doors. Sure, they’re necessary for safety – but do they really have to be quite so ugly?
The answer, thankfully, is no.
Our bespoke design service and craftsmanship allows us to design beautiful doors that match and stand tall in any environment.
If you’re looking for fire doors that better suit their surroundings without compromising on safety, we’re here to help.
We can add a number of features that will help your fire door fit into any décor, including certified ironmongery such as beautifully crafted handles, drop seals, locks, latches and door viewers (or spy holes, as you probably know them).
We also offer air transfer grills – vents with built-in intumescent jackets that automatically seal gaps in the event of a fire.
Why fire doors fail: maintenance & installation
At Vigor Doors, we are passionate about providing fire doors that not merely meet regulations but which also offer simple practicality and the assurance that you and your family or employees or people you are responsible for will be safe in their home or workplace.
Fire doors save lives by containing the initial blaze and blocking the spread of both fire the potentially deadly fumes it can generate. Without the presence of a well-manufactured and properly installed fire door, fire and smoke can quickly spread through a building, putting more lives at risk and making it harder for firefighters to do their jobs.
We manufacture our doors to the highest standards, are dedicated to quality control and are fully motivated to get our doors right first time, every time. Unfortunately, not all fire door manufacturers share our passion for keeping our customers and their tenants safe.
We all know the devastation and tragedy that fires can cause. While fire doors can’t prevent fires altogether, of course, they do offer the opportunity to get people – including, of course, children and the elderly – to safety. Which is why it’s of paramount importance that fire doors are made, installed and maintained to the right professional standard.
Here are just a few examples of how fire door manufacturing and installation can go wrong:
- Manufacturing defects and poor build quality can cripple a fire door’s ability to resist heat.
- Cheaper fire doorsets can use materials that are less resistant to fire, or which fail to meet their listed FD Rating.
- Improper installation can leave gaps large enough for fire and smoke to circumvent the door entirely.
- Once fire doors have been installed, they still need to be inspected by a qualified professional. Vigor Doors employs its own safety inspector to ensure that Fire Doors are always in the right condition.
Customers often approach Vigor Doors when other fire door manufacturers have failed to meet their needs, whether that be for a single fire door installation or a larger project.
For instance, building contractors ask us to step in when a supplier provides Fire Doors that fail to meet safety requirements and put the contractor at risk of losing a valuable project.
Often, it’s not just the previous fire door supplier’s manufacturing and packaging that have been a problem, but also their lack of communication: for example, the supplier will fail to provide assembly instructions or a clear plan that tells the building contractor which fire door goes where. Such mistakes can be fatal – and we have to step in to save the day. It’s just a shame that many fire door manufacturers fail to attain the rigorous and vigorous standards that Vigor Doors achieves at all times.View Case Studies
Why we stand out from the crowd
We’re totally committed to delivering Fire Door products and projects on time, to the highest standards and on budget.
That’s why our focus is front heavy – we always make sure we get a total understanding at the start of the project, so that we’re all on the same page.
Once we receive a customer’s requirements and specifications, we make sure we fully map out the potential order and understand every aspect, so that we can provide a fair and accurate quote for the work.
Mapping the work out in this way also, crucially, means we can ensure we deliver the consistently deliver projects on time to the highest possible standards.
Above all, we’re incredibly passionate about providing you and your families – or the people you are responsible for – as safe as possible.