Closeup of a sign on a fire-rated door that reads “fire door keep shut”
August 13th 2021

What Are Fire-Rated Doors and Do You Need One?

Fire-rated doors, also known as fire doors, are specially designed to withstand fires. In case a fire breaks out, these doors will survive longer than even the best ordinary doors. Fire doors help to contain the fire and keep it away from the building or property’s escape route.

Requirements for fire doors are different depending on your country and region. In order for fire doors to be effective, they must be:

In this complete guide, we will discuss what fire doors are, how they work, and whether or not you need one.

Let’s get started!

A fire burning behind a closed fire-rated door

The Anatomy of Fire Doors

1. The Fire Rating Label

When looking for a fire-rated door, the first thing you need to look for is the fire rating label. This label indicates the fire rating of the door and which certifying body granted that rating. This permanent label is typically found on the hinge side of both the door and the door frame, hidden from view.

2. A Fire-Resistant Door

The fire-rated door itself can be made of wood and steel. Of these two materials, steel doors tend to have higher fire ratings because steel is non-combustible and will not feed the fire, under any circumstance.

As for wooden fire-rated doors, these are typically equipped with a gypsum core. A gypsum core is a soft mineral that is not flammable and is able to resist heat. However, a gypsum board can also be used with steel hollow doors.

Aside from gypsum, vermiculite boards can also be used in the design of fire doors because vermiculite is a well-known fire retardant.

3. Fire Resistant Glass and Seals

Some fire doors may also have vision panels with fire-rated glass. However, this is typically reduced or not included in the making of doors that have higher fire ratings.

The edges of a fire door must also have proper threshold seals, typically made of intumescent strips so that in case of a fire, the smoke will be contained effectively.

4. A Fire-Resistant Door Frame

Steel is non-combustible and non-flammable, so it’s no surprise that this is the most common material used in constructing fire-resistant door frames for doors that have a fire rating of 20 minutes or higher.

5. Fire-Resistant Hardware

During a fire, it is important that the fire-rated door be closed. Otherwise, it cannot stop or slow down the spread of fire and smoke. This is why all fire-rated doors must be fitted with fire-resistant self-closing and self-latching hardware.

Along with a self-closing mechanism, fire doors also need steel ball-bearing hinges because these are more durable than standard hinges.

Understanding Ratings on Fire Doors

On fire rating labels, you may notice a number of minutes or a span of hours. This is the fire endurance rating. This is given by the certifying body after subjecting the door to extreme temperatures of up to 1925 degrees Fahrenheit.

The time is then recorded up to when the door remained intact in its frame. This is measured in intervals of 20, 45, 60, 90, or 180 minutes. Alternatively, some labels show hours instead of minutes.

How Fire Doors Help During a Fire

Let’s face it. No door can be 100% fireproof. In some incidents of fire inside a property, temperatures can rise so much that even steel begins to melt. As we’ve mentioned earlier, the function of a fire door or fire-resistant door is not to survive a fire but to slow down the spread and contain the damage as much as possible.

They Offer a Chance To Put Out the Fire Before It Spreads

In minor cases, the fire may be contained enough to be dealt with so that it does not spread. Fire doors not only save lives but also keep the rest of the property, along with the belongings therein, safe.

They Provide a Safe Exit If The Fire Gets Worse

In major cases, the fire door will contain the fire until the occupants of the building or property have exited safely. In addition to containing the fire, a properly sealed fire door also keeps smoke contained so that people can exit with a lessened danger of getting disoriented or suffocated by smoke.

More so, because fire-rated doors can withstand fire and heat for a time, they serve as an available means of escape as long as they remain intact.

A wooden-looking fire door used as a fire exit

Does My Property Need a Fire-Rated Door?

In Canada, fire-rated doors are typically only required for buildings (both commercial or residential) and not for houses. This, however, does not mean that fire-rated doors are useless in a house.

Fire-Rated Doors for a House

Though not typically required, a fire-rated door can contain a fire in areas of the home that are prone to being a source of a house fire. Homeowners can opt to have a fire door for places like the kitchen, basement, or rooms where a number of electrical devices are kept.

Having fire-rated exterior doors is an added measure of safety to ensure that there will be exits intact in case of a house fire.

Fire-Rated Doors for a Building

Fire-rated doors are typically required for buildings that serve as public buildings, office spaces, apartments, dormitories, multi-family homes, and the like.

For any kind of building, the Ontario Building Code and the Ontario Fire Code requires appropriate fire-rated doors for the following:

  • Fire exits/building exits
  • Corridor doors
  • Laundry room doors
  • Garbage room doors

Customized Doors For Your Needs

Whatever your door needs may be, Burano Doors is a manufacturer you can trust. If you are still wondering whether or not you need a fire-rated door for your property and what options are out there for you, we’ll be more than happy to give our insights.

Get in touch with Burano today!

Posted by Raj Kain
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