A Brief Overview of the Different Fire Doors and When to Use Them

William Arsn

Fire doors serve two primary purposes: they help prevent the spread of fire, smoke, and other dangerous elements from one building compartment to another, as well as to help keep people safe in the event of a fire. Fire doors are typically installed in buildings that have multiple entry points for occupants. Additionally, for buildings with high hazards, such as chemical storage spaces or mills, fire doors are usually required by law. This article discuss different types of fire doors, and when each is appropriate to use. Use this knowledge as a basis to determine which type is best for your project, and explore our extensive range at Capital Fire Doors.

Fire Rated Walls

A fire wall is a wall or part of a wall that separates two or more areas of a building. A fire wall’s primary function is to stop the spread of fire and smoke between compartments, as well as prevent collapse of the entire building. Fire wall systems typically include fire-rated wall panels, fire doors, a sprinkler system, and other fire-control features. Fire-rated walls are designated as either Type I or Type II systems, and are required in any building that has multiple fire compartments. Type I fire walls protect adjacent areas of a building by stopping the spread of fire and smoke. Retrofitting a Type I fire wall system in a building that already exists can be costly. Therefore, Type I systems are typically used in new construction. A Type II fire wall system is a less expensive, less robust version of a Type I system; it is not meant to stop the spread of fire and smoke between compartments. A Type II system should only be used when occupants in adjoining spaces are not vulnerable to the spread of fire, smoke, and toxic gases.

Fire Rated Doors

Fire-rated doors are required in most buildings as a fire barrier between two different compartments. The two most common types of fire-rated doors are closed-panel doors and louvered doors. Both types of doors must be certified for use by a recognized testing authority, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Closed-panel doors are generally used in a wall where a fire barrier is required. Louvered doors are typically used between two areas where an exit is required. A closed-panel door is a solid-core door with a rating for a specific type of fire. The door frame must also be rated for use with the door. Fire-rated doors are tested to withstand the spread of fire and the build-up of smoke and toxic gases.

Fire Stopping Doors

Fire stopping doors are designed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke through a building. They are typically used in areas where a barrier is needed, but where a door with a high-rated fire rating is not necessary. Fire stopping doors have limited fire resistance. They are not designed to withstand fire for long periods of time; they are designed to help prevent the spread of fire and smoke for a period of time which will allow for exit to be made. Fire stopping doors may be recommended by a building code inspector when there is a possibility of fire spreading between compartments. There is no rating system for fire stopping doors, so it is important to check with the inspector to make sure the door you use meets the standards which you require.

Tempered Fire Doors

Tempered fire doors are similar to closed-panel fire doors, but with one difference—the door is tempered. Tempered doors have a core made of high-strength steel that is heated to very high temperatures. Tempering the steel makes the door stronger, and allows it to be thinner, while still maintaining the same level of fire resistance as a closed-panel fire door. Tempered fire doors are often used where there is a risk of injury from broken glass. For example, tempered fire doors are commonly used in hospitals and schools. The glass in tempered fire doors is designed to break into small pieces that are not dangerous. Tempered fire doors are also very energy efficient. They can be used as either interior or exterior doors, and can be used in a wide range of climates.

Non-Tempered Fire Doors

Non-tempered fire doors are solid core, closed-panel doors that are not tempered. They have a rating for a specific type of fire, and are used in a wall where a fire barrier is required. Non-tempered fire doors are typically used on exterior walls where there is a risk of fire, but tempered glass is not needed. This can save money, as tempered glass is significantly more expensive than regular glass.

Summing Up

Fire doors are an important part of any building’s fire protection system. These doors help to keep the spread of fire, smoke, and toxic gases in one compartment, and out of another. Fire doors are typically installed in spaces where there are multiple entry points for occupants, or in buildings with a high hazard. Fire doors come in a variety of types, four of which we’ve covered for you today, but each performs a different function. Contact us for more information about the option that’s right for you.