All You Need To Know About Fire-Rated Doors

No matter where you live in the world, fire is a consistent hazard for different buildings and structures no matter how well made they are. To mitigate the problem construction companies use as many fire preventative construction materials and components as possible during construction. Fire-rated doors such as these are one of them, and probably the most essential one as the difference between having one and not having one can spell the difference between life and death during a fire emergency.

In this article, you’ll get a short rundown of everything you need to know about fire-rated doors so you can make the right decision when purchasing one, understand the different ratings, and know the basics of installation and maintenance so you can notice a faulty one in time and replace it before an emergency occurs.

What are Fire-Rated Doors

To put it simply, fire-rated doors are specially designed and constructed door for residential and commercial establishments. Their primary purpose is to withstand and prevent the spread of fire from a burning room as long as possible. This allows two things to happen: allowing the people inside the affected room to escape quickly and safely as well as preventing the fire from affecting other parts of the structure as long as possible to allow firefighters the time to arrive at the scene and contain the fire.

Aside from the standard fire-rated doors, there are also specialized ones known as temperature-rising doors. These doors are also heat resistant up to a certain temperature alongside being fire-resistant, allowing the occupants of a burning room to evacuate more safely.  In Singapore having a fire-rated HBD door is a must if you’re a building or home owner in accordance with legal compliance.

Understanding Fire-Rated Door Ratings and Standards

Standard fire-rated doors come in different ratings, each one specifying the amount of time fire can be contained by that door. The ratings also represent the minimum fire-rated door requirement for residential and commercial buildings. The ratings and their time limits are as follows:

  • FD30 – fire-rated doors with this rating provide 30 minutes of fire resistance.
  • FD60 – fire-rated doors with this rating provide 60 minutes of fire resistance
  • FD90 – fire-rated doors with this rating provide 90 minutes of fire resistance.
  • FD120 – fire-rated doors with this rating provide 120 minutes of fire resistance.

In Singapore, the HBD determines the fire-rated door ratings by conducting standardized testing procedures on all locally manufactured fire-rated doors. As you might expect, all fire-rated door manufacturers must meet the minimum criteria and performance standards set up by the HBD to ensure their reliability and effectiveness in fire emergencies.

Key Features of Fire-Rated Doors

The primary purpose of fire-rated doors is to compartmentalise fire and smoke within designated areas of a building, thereby delaying their spread to other parts of the structure. Fire-rated doors serve several key functions during a fire emergency:

The purpose and function of fire-rated doors are threefold- compartmentalise the fire and smoke, protect the fire from spreading to other parts of the structure such as stairwells, corridors, and fire exits, and minimise smoke buildup. To help the door achieve this important purpose, these are the observable key features ofHBD fire-rated doors:

–          Components comprising solid timber frame recoated in fire-resistant glass that needs to demonstrate heat resistance for at least an hour.

–          Comprising of intumescent seals or strips that expand and block the cracks and gaps between the doors and walls once the temperature starts rising.

–          Comprising cold smoke seals that prevent smoke accumulation. According to different studies, a significantly higher number of fire-related deaths are caused by smoke than by the fire itself.

Construction and Materials

A typical fire-rated door is constructed using specialised materials and assembly to meet the minimum fire-rated door requirement. These are the main components and materials used in making a fire-rated door.

Core Material: Unlike wooden doors, the core material of fire-rated doors isn’t wood but specialised fire-resistant materials like gypsum, mineral wool, or vermiculite. With these serving as the core, the insulation and structural stability of the door is maintained even after a fire starts,

Door Frame: The frame of a fire-rated door is designed to fit snugly within the surrounding wall and provide a tight seal when closed. Frames are typically made of steel or other fire-resistant metals to prevent warping or distortion under heat exposure.

Typically made of steel or some other highly durable fire-resistant material, the doorframe of a fire-rated door is designed to resist warping and distortion at high-temperature points. It also seals the smoke effectively without suffocating the inhabitants during a fire evacuation.

Facings: The facing or surface material can differ greatly depending on the aesthetics and design choices. These materials range from timber wood to metal, fiberglass, and more.

Installation and Maintenance of HBD Fire-Rated Doors in Singapore

The make the most of a fire-rated door, it needs to be installed and maintained properly. Without proper maintenance and care a fire-rated door can quickly lose its effectiveness and come to no avail during a fire emergency. Keep the following in mind when installing and maintaining fire-rated doors.

Professional Installation: This is a no-brainer but you would be surprised how many people skimp on professional fire-rated door installations just to save a few bucks. Don’t be so foolish and get your door installed by a professional who understands the basics of proper alignment, hardware installation, and sealing.

Regular Inspection: Arrange for regular inspections for your fire-rated doors, at least once a month. Doors are the most commonly used and handled component of any building, making it more prone to damage as well as wear and tear. A professional inspector should take a look at the door seals, hinges, latches, and closing mechanisms as well, lubricating them to keep them in good condition.

Repairs and Upgrades: If repairs or upgrades are deemed necessary upon inspection, they should be made by a certified professional using the right materials and methods as soon as possible. This ensures the building’s occupants’ safety and keeps the building updated as per HBD building codes and standards.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking to buy a fire-rated main door for your home or order them in bulk for your new building, hopefully, this article has you up to speed with everything you need to know about fire-rated doors. Armed with this knowledge, you can make better choices to ensure your home’s or building’s safety and keep up with fire safety regulations.