Fire Doors vs Normal Doors: What are the Differences?
Fire safety is an essential component of any building’s construction and design. In fact, fire doors are a legal fire safety requirement in all non-domestic properties including offices, commercial properties, and public buildings. The presence of these doors can make a significant difference when it comes to protecting lives and property from the devastating effects of fire. But what makes them different from the normal doors we use every day?
While fire doors and normal doors may look similar at first glance, they actually have several significant differences that affect how they perform during a fire emergency. In this blog, we will be exploring the main differences between fire doors and regular doors while understanding their individual features and characteristics.
Fire doors explained
Fire doors are specialised doors that are designed to prevent the spread of fire, smoke, and toxic gases within a building. They’re an important part of passive fire protection systems and are strategically placed throughout the building to compartmentalise areas and provide safe escape routes. Through installing fire doors, occupants will be able to evacuate safely and there will be a lower risk of damage to the building itself.
Features of a fire door
One of the main features of fire doors is that they’re constructed from fire resistant materials that prevent the door from warping or collapsing when exposed to high temperatures. The edges of the fire door will also have intumescent seals installed around it that will expand when exposed to heat, which then creates a tight seal that closes the gap between the door frame and the door itself. Smoke seals are also a common feature as they prevent the passage of smoke and toxic fumes
You can also find fire doors that are made from fire-rated glass, which is specially treated glass that is able to withstand high temperatures and prevent the spread of fires. This glass allows for visibility while also maintaining the structural integrity of the fire compartments.
For a complete breakdown, check out our previous blog that explains everything you need to know about fire doors.
Key differences between fire doors and normal doors
Now that we understand the function and key features of a fire door, let’s break down the differences between fire-resistant doors and normal doors.
Fire resistance and rating
The most significant difference between fire doors and regular doors lies, of course, in their fire resistance capabilities. Fire doors are specifically designed to resist fire and smoke for a designated period of time, as indicated by their fire ratings. For instance, fire doors with a rating of FD30 can offer 30 minutes of fire protection while a rating of FD60 can offer 60 minutes of fire protection.
Normal doors, on the other hand, lack the necessary fire-resistant materials and can be made of any material such as wood. Wooden doors that haven’t been treated with fire-resistant materials are highly flammable and would not be able to provide adequate protection in the event of a fire. Since these doors aren’t constructed of fire-resistant materials, they’re highly vulnerable to fires and won’t adequately meet fire safety standards.
Function and purpose
Another key difference between the two door types is their function. A fire door’s main purpose is to contain the spread of fire and smoke, ensuring the safety of occupants and preventing further damage to the property. The doors are strategically placed throughout the building in areas that need compartmentalisation, such as stairwells, hallways, and fire escape routes. In the event of a fire, fire doors act as barriers that contain the fire, allowing people to safely evacuate the property.
Standard doors serve simply as entry and exit points inside a building. Designed for everyday use, they come in different styles with each offering their own advantages for different types of spaces. Normal doors also serve as room dividers, exterior entrances, or interior access points but are rarely ever constructed with fire resistance or protection in mind.
Construction and materials
In terms of their construction, fire doors are made of several layers of fire-resistant materials that help them withstand high temperatures. The core of a fire door is usually filled with materials such as gypsum, vermiculite boards or mineral wool. These fire-resistant materials offer insulation and prevent the transfer of heat, which ensures that the fire door remains cool even during a fire. You can also find different types of fire doors that are constructed with different methods. For example, panel doors are a type of fire door that are made of different interwoven wooden panels instead of a single piece of solid wood.
Standard doors can be constructed with a wide variety of materials such as wood, glass, metal, or even a combination of these. They’re typically made with either a solid or hollow core, depending on the property owners preferences, and prioritise aesthetic appeal and functionality instead of fire protection capabilities.
Components and features
Fire doors are also equipped with fire-rated hardware such as fire-rated locks, handles, and hinges. These parts are designed to withstand high temperatures to ensure that the door remains intact and functional during a fire emergency. For added protection, fire doors are also frequently fitted with a self-closing mechanism such as door closers or spring hinges, which ensures the door closes automatically to prevent the spread of the fire.
Standard doors serve primarily as exit and entry points to a building and therefore don’t typically have these additional fire safety features. They’re much more basic in its design and are typically selected based on their functionality and suitability with the building’s visual aesthetic.
Fire doors and normal doors have significant differences in terms of their construction, purpose, and performance. Fire doors are designed to resist fire, smoke, and toxic gases which then provides crucial protection during a fire. This function is supported by their specialised features and materials that help these doors withstand high temperatures and prevent the rapid spread of a fire. Meanwhile, normal doors don’t have these fire-resistant properties and won’t be able to provide the right level of fire protection.
When looking to incorporate safety features into your property, it’s extremely important that you keep these differences in mind. While we understand that visually appealing doors are important, make sure to always prioritise the installation and maintenance of fire doors to ensure the safety of occupants and your property in the event of a fire.
To protect your property against fire hazards and incidents, contact MCFP today! Our fire safety experts are here to help you increase the level of fire safety protection in your premises. Whether you’re looking to protect your home, office, or restaurant, we’ll help you find the perfect fire protection solutions.