In the event of a fire, occupants will need time to safely vacate the premises. Installing fire doors in your building will provide that crucial time window – and almost certainly save lives. But how do you choose the right door? After all, each product is different. In this guide, we’ll look at the different types of fire doors and their benefits, so you can make a fully informed decision.

How do fire doors work?

Before looking at the different products available, it’s important to understand how fire doors work. They form part of a system called fire compartmentation, which could comprise a single room, a number of rooms, or a corridor. Such compartments should only be accessible via a dedicated fire door, be in good condition, and well maintained.

There are two types of fire door: FD30 and FD60. The number indicates how much fire resistance a door offers. Therefore, an FD30 would last 30 minutes and anFD60 would last 60 minutes.

How are FD30 and FD60 fire doors different?

The key difference is, as mentioned, how long each door will survive before a fire is able to break through and penetrate the compartmented area beyond. It’s important to point out that fire doors don’t fire preventers, however. They will buy you – and others who share your building – time to evacuate without coming to harm.

Should you choose an FD30 or FD60? The answer will depend on the size and layout of your building. And so you will need to speak to a qualified expert, who will take a more detailed look at the situation and make a recommendation.

Sometimes, fire doors will have an ‘s’ at the end. This means that an FD30s, for example, wouldn’t just slow down fire for half an hour – it would also stop cold smoke from spreading. This is achieved through the use of intumescent strips and smoke brushes.

Where should you place an FD30 or FD60 fire door?

The optimal placing of a fire door will depend on the scale and capacity of the building in question. Imagine a large office block that houses over 400 workers. It would take a long time to evacuate that many people safely from the building. Therefore, an FD60 would be best.

An alternative scenario might involve a small retail outlet or clinic that employed less than 20 people. Evacuation would be less problematic than with the office block – because fewer staff members would need to be led to safety.

What are intumescent seals and how do they work?

The gap between the frame and door is the weakest point of a fire door. Intumescent seals solve this problem and help slow the spread of a fire for up to an hour, depending on the seal used.

There are two types of seals:

  • Fire only. As its name suggests, this seal only prevents the spread of fire. When exposed to heat, it closes off the gap between frame and door – although a small amount of smoke will still be able to penetrate.
  • Fire and smoke. This type of seal is fitted with a flipper or brush and expands in reaction to heat. These features stop fire and smoke from spreading – further reducing the risk to occupants attempting to leave the building.

The importance of fire testing

Fire tests are conducted on key building materials and structures to verify their fire-resistant qualities. These tests form part of BS476 Part 22, which was created – and is also administered by – the Fire Standards Committee.

BS476 Part 22 will consider structural elements such as:

  • Partially or fully insulated vertical door sets
  • Non-insulated vertical door sets
  • Membranes in ceilings
  • Shutters
  • Glazing

Leave the installation to professionals

We install fire doors and barriers in London and throughout the UK, taking care to ensure gaps are properly closed and that the doors remain flush with the frame when closed. A poorly fitted fire door won’t protect you or your employees, so it’s important to invest in a specialist company that will complete the work to the highest possible standard.

Fire protection specialists

We’re a family-run business with a strong track record of delivering fire protection solutions – in Manchester, Birmingham, and throughout the entire UK.

No matter what sector you work in or the scale of your requirements, we’ll find an intelligent solution that works. Contact us for an informal chat and a free quote.