Fire doors are mandated by the NHS and are required to be installed in all major commercial and residential buildings. As such, they are very important parts of the construction that people should know about. Everything from their functioning to their types and to what type of fire door would suit their needs the best. So, let’s look at the many types of fire doors and understand what each of them is capable of so you know the best one to pick for yourself. Here’s all the types of fire doors: a quick guide.
A brief introduction of fire doors is needed, so here’s one: fire doors are part of a structure’s passive fire defence system, which means that they do not actually actively extinguish the fire but are used as buffers to keep the fire from stalling rescue efforts or prevent people from exiting the building. As such, their placement needs to be strategic and maximised to ensure rescue services get the most time to evacuate people. They are made out of materials that can resist fire, including gypsum, treated wood, steel and fibreglass.
Now, let’s look at the many types of fire doors.
Types of fire doors
Here is a comprehensive guide to the many types of fire doors.
The first is the classification based on how long the fire doors can withstand flames and maintain their structural integrity. This classification system is particular to the UK and is used as the standard there.
- FD30: FD30 fire doors are rated for around 30 minutes of fire resistance, which means that the door will maintain its structural integrity for 30 minutes, allowing for a nominal amount of time for evacuation.
- FD60: FD60 fire doors will withstand extreme flames for 60 minutes. This is one of the more popular fire doors, since it provides an ample amount of time for rescue services without costing too much.
- FD90: FD90 fire doors represent the more premium options on the list. With upto 90 minutes of guaranteed fire resistance and protection, this is usually the standard installation in commercial buildings.
- FD120: The FD120 is used in high-risk, high-occupancy places like apartment complexes and warehouses or factories with hazardous materials present. It provides the maximum possible fire resistance and time for evacuation.
These fire doors are classified based on their manufacturing characteristics and their build type. These will include many different building materials, but all have the same requirement: that they be able to withstand extreme flames for extended periods of time to ensure ample time for rescue services to organise and complete a safe evacuation of the occupants.
- Single internal fire door (wooden): For places where only a nominal protection from fire is required, and the time frame can be much shorter (based on the amount of occupants), the single internal wooden fire door is perfect. Since it does not cost too much and is approved for usage by the relevant government departments, the single internal wooden fire door is the best option for smaller offices and household units. It will hold back the flames for a reasonable amount of time, and since it is wooden it won’t really look out of place in an office setting or home décor.
- Steel-hinged fire door: For places where the maximum time is required in the event a fire breaks out, these doors provide the ultimate in protection from fire. Made of solid steel sheets with an extreme temperature tolerance and fire resistance, certain doors made of high-quality steel sheets will offer fire resistance for up to four hours, which is ideal and perfect for use in places like high-rise buildings, skyscrapers and other high-occupancy places where evacuation efforts will be time-consuming. Although they might be a little bit expensive, they represent the peak of passive fire protection.
- Armoured fire shutters: Discreet and boasting incredible protection standards. These armoured fire shutters can be installed on walls and low ceilings to further give your home, office or apartment complex the safety in case a fire does break out. Since they are shutters, they are discreet, which means that they won’t look out of place in an office or in a residential setting. However, their armoured steel construction makes them incredibly safe, offering up to four hours of fire protection and extreme temperature tolerance, coupled with anti-smoke dispersal and heat radiation coating that makes them an excellent passive fire fighting system to protect people from the blaze, smoke and extreme temperature.
- Fire curtains: Fire curtains are just like fire shutters, however they are more interior-friendly and can essentially blend in with the décor. They also have a fire-retardant coating on it that makes them very safe. However, they do not provide the same level of fire protection as armoured fire shutters, since the manufacturing of the curtains allow for use of less fireproofing materials. But, that being said, fire curtains are perfect for restaurants and other places where the fire risk might be high but occupancy numbers are low and evacuation time does not need to be considerable.
Method of operation
The final classification of the types of fire doors is based on the method of operation; how they can be used. These are of three types and can be commonly found across the world, and especially in places where they are mandated by safety requirement officials.
- Self-closing fire doors: As the name implies, these doors have a closer installed at the top of the door, which allows the door to completely seal itself once it is closed in the event of a fire. These can be operated both automatically and manually, and are required most commonly in residential buildings to comply with the Building Regulations.
- Power-operated fire doors: These fire doors are operated either electrically or pneumatically. They are also fitted with a device that will safely shut down and seal the door in the case a fire breaks out and cuts the power, making it an ideal fire door for commercial purposes.
- Automatic-closing fire doors: Much like the power-operated fire doors, however, these fire doors are connected to the main fire alarm of the premises. When the alarm is activated, it sends a signal to the fire doors, which then shut down and seal the room. Perfect for both residential complexes and commercial spaces including offices.
Picking the right one for yourself
Most of the time, the right fire door will not depend on what specifications it has, but rather what sort of an arrangement you need it for, and what are your requirements from the fire door. For instance, according to UK regulations, residential and commercial units with less than two floors need not have fire doors installed at key points throughout the building, so they can be avoided. However, if you have a big commercial space that has a lot of electronics and computers in it, you will need to invest in fire doors that provide the highest possible protection and fire resistance to ensure the occupants have enough to be evacuated. For low occupancy and high-risk buildings like warehouses and storage units, a nominal fire door like a wooden one with FD30 rating is fine. Again, its your requirements that will have you deciding on a fire door, not the actual specifications of the door itself.
The ultimate in passive fire protection: Ignis Doors
When it comes to the notorious UK laws and Housing Regulations, there’s only one brand you can trust with fire doors: Ignis. Ignis Doors have some of the best fire door solutions in the country, and with their many FD30 and FD60 rated fire doors already in use across the country, with excellent reviews, you can trust Ignis Doors to protect you and your loved ones in the unfortunate event of a fire. Because life is valuable and can be protected no matter how intense the fire is, and Ignis Door focuses on the build quality and fire resistance of its doors to provide you with the ultimate in passive fire protection.