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How Does a Fire Door Differ From a Normal Door?

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You may have been told before that fire doors are an absolutely essential part of any fire protection strategy, but you’re probably left wondering why. What makes a fire door so special? What makes it different from just any old door? The Asco team is here to answer just that!

Fire exit keep clear on black door at hotel
Emergency fire exit sign at hotel door for emergency use of people guests tourists

The key features of a fire door

  • Intumescent seal: One of the most essential features of a fire door is the intumescent seal that runs around the edge of the frame. This seal is made from a material that, once the external temperature hits 200 degrees celsius, expands to completely seal the door to the frame, stopping any smoke or flames from getting through.
  • Fire-resistant glass: Fire doors with windows will always have some sort of fire-resistant glazing element, whether that’s a small vision panel or a larger screen that can let more light through. Most fire-resistant glass can withstand a fire for up to 60 minutes before it even begins to soften.
  • High-risk locations: One of the main things that set fire doors apart from normal doors is the specificity of their locations. Fire doors are installed in areas that lead to fire escape routes to ensure that they are always safe to pass through, as well as in other high-risk locations. 
  • Closing mechanism: Another essential feature of fire doors is their self-closing mechanism. The reason why fire doors must be self-closing is to ensure that, in the event of a fire, a fire door will always be closed, sealing off the room behind it from the encroaching fire.
  • A label of certification: A fire door isn’t a fire door unless it’s been properly certified. A certified fire door will have a label attached to it which displays the manufacturer, the date of manufacture, and its fire resistance rating.

Fire door gradings

To understand how fire doors differ from each other, you need to get to know the grading system. Here are the different grades:

  • FD30
  • FD60
  • FD90
  • FD120

The numbers above correlate to the length of time that the door can withstand a fire. For example, an FD30 door will be able to withstand a fire for 30 minutes, an FD60 door can withstand a fire for 60 minutes, and so on.

All of the above doors will share the key features that we’ve listed above, such as a self-closing mechanism and an intumescent strip. The main thing that will determine the different gradings of the doors is the thickness of the core material.

In general, FD30 and FD60 doors are usually sufficient for most public buildings and offices. FD90 and FD120 doors are only really utilised in order to protect properties that house extremely high-value goods, such as archives or server centres.

At Asco, we have a wide range of fire doors that can help you keep your premises safe. Our highly knowledgeable team is perfectly positioned to help you find the right door, so why not give us a call? We’re always happy to help!

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