A fire door can be the last line of defense between you and a wildfire, perhaps saving your life, but when should you install one? What’s more, how do you tell if your house is fireproof? Richard Holland, Travis Perkins’ doors and joinery category manager, gives us the dirt on the most prevalent fire safety misunderstandings.
What is a fire door, exactly?
Fire doors are one that has been custom-made and installed. The most popular fire door used in homes is the FD30, which can survive fires and smoke for up to 30 minutes when correctly installed by an experienced joiner with the appropriate ironmongery and fittings.
Is it necessary for me to replace all of my doors with fire doors?
No. Standard doors will suffice if your home does not already have fire doors. However, if you want to take extra precautions to keep you and your family safe, they are a terrific addition – just keep the following in mind:
* Make sure the fire door will fit into your current doorframe. FD30 fire doors are 44mm thick, which is 10cm thicker than a typical internal door.
* A fire door will not work unless it is correctly installed. Employ the services of a skilled joiner who is familiar with the regulations.
* Always lock your doors before leaving the house and before retiring to bed. They should never be propped open.
Do all buildings require fire doors?
If you’re planning a major addition, remodel, or conversion, your architect will let you know if they’re needed. Fire doors, on the other hand, are required in the following situations:
* In a two-story home, if there is a door leading from the garage to the main house.
* If you’re building or renovating a three-story or more home (including loft conversion). Every room off the stairwells must have fire doors in this instance. To be safe, always seek guidance from your architect.
The Top 6 Myths About Fire Doors
1. Myth: Painting a door with flame-resistant paint renders it fire-resistant.
FALSE: The British Woodwork Foundation (BWF), the main authority on fire door safety, would not recognize this as a fire door. A door is made up of a variety of fire-tested and suitable materials and components, all of which are stated on the fire door certificate.
2. Myth: It is your responsibility to be knowledgeable about fire doors if you are renting a property.
FALSE: It is your responsibility to provide fire safety for the tenants of your building if you are the landlord and the’responsible person’ under the Fire Safety Order. According to study conducted during Fire Door Safety Week, 59% of tenants in flats in the UK have no idea who the ‘Responsible Person’ for their building is. If you lack the necessary knowledge or abilities, you must choose a “competent person” to complete the task on your behalf.
3. Myth: Even though the furnishings are light and easy to move, I shouldn’t position them in front of the fire door.
TRUE: Simply put, there should be no barriers in front of a fire entrance. In the event of a fire, make sure you have a clear path out. Smoke and flames may impair your ability to see well in front of you. According to recent surveys, 74% of tradespeople have witnessed a blocked or obstructed fire door.
4. Myth: It doesn’t matter how big the gap between the fire door and the door frame is.
FALSE: In the event of a fire, the size of the gap around the full perimeter of the door is crucial for stopping the passage of harmful gasses and smoke. According to a recent study, 34% of fire doors installed had significant gaps (over 3mm). This space is generally 3mm – the same thickness as a £1 coin – on a fire door with smoke seals, but always verify the fire door certificate. The gap beneath the door can be significantly greater (up to 8mm), depending on the door. Ideally, there should be no light coming in through the door.
5. Myth: Once my fire door is installed, I’ll be able to learn everything I need to know about it.
True: A current, independently accredited test certificate is required for every fire door. This document verifies the fire rating, test criteria, and manufacture conformity of the door. It also demonstrates that the components of the door meet stringent performance and compliance requirements. It also contains crucial installation information. On the top (or occasionally on the side) of the door, look for a label or plug. You can’t be sure this is a fire door unless it has a certification mark.
6. Myth: Because a fire door is constructed of metal, any lock can be installed because metal does not burn in a fire.
True or false: The lock must be fire-tested and BWF-certified. In the event of a fire, metal becomes highly hot, and it can quickly go from being the strongest to the weakest part of your door. Intumescent protection can be added to provide a minimum of 30 minutes of fire protection.