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fire resistant doors

Best Fire-Resistant Doors

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments responded to 1,353,500 fires in 2021. It is vital for buildings to meet codes regarding fire safety features. Aside from a sprinkler system, fire-resistant doors are an essential fire safety feature.

Fire-rated doors are necessary for commercial buildings. They provide fire and smoke protection and potentially save lives. Check out this guide to learn more about fire-rated doors and how you can get them.

What Makes a Door Fire-Rated?

Fire-rated doors are a requirement in commercial buildings such as hotels, apartments and offices. Per International Building Code (IBC) guidelines, buildings must use these doors at elevator shafts, stairwells and exits. These guidelines help keep people safe during a fire. 

Commonly composed of wood or steel with fire-rated glass, fire-rated doors are called assemblies because they are a system of parts. These parts include the door, glazing, frame, hardware and individual components. For a door to be fire-rated, its components must work together to stop or slow the spread of smoke and flames. In some cases, they may also prevent heat transfer. 

The doors work with surrounding passive fire protection systems to defend against fires and allow people to move out of buildings safely and quickly. Depending on code criteria, they must have a fire-rated core that can withstand fire for 20 to 90 minutes. Since fire-rated doors must remain closed during a fire, they must be self-closing with positive latching.

 

Fire-rated doors must undergo rigorous tests at independent laboratories. Some fire-rated doors have supplemental security ratings and might also protect against forced entry, blasts, ballistics and accidental human impact. 

What Types of Buildings Need Fire-Rated Doors?

All commercial buildings need fire-rated doors. They prevent fire and smoke from traveling to the other floors of the building and maintain a consistent traffic flow for emergency response teams and occupants. Additionally, they help contain and minimize damage. Commercial buildings utilize fire-rated doors, including schools, hotels, apartments and entertainment facilities. 

 

Schools

School buildings use fire-rated doors in stairwells, hallways and hazardous areas such as boiler or mechanical rooms. When installing fire-rated doors in hallways and stairwells, it is essential to note that constantly needing to open and close these doors may prompt users to prop them open instead. Unfortunately, fire doors that are open during a fire will not function correctly. One way to prevent this is to install fire-rated doors that automatically close and latch.

Hotels

Hotels use fire-rated doors in lobbies, stairwells, event spaces, elevators and room entrances. Lobbies and event spaces are vulnerable to fires because they are large and open, so fire doors are necessary to separate these rooms from the rest of the building. 

During a fire, smoke and flames can rapidly spread to other floors via elevators. When designing elevator shafts, it is essential to ensure you can isolate them during a fire. Traditionally, this involves creating separate elevator lobbies with fire doors that can enclose the space.

Sometimes occupants are unable to evacuate the building in an emergency. If there is no way to reach the exit safely, the guests must stay in their rooms until emergency responders arrive, making it crucial to install fire-rated room entry doors.

 

Apartments

Fire-rated doors are necessary for apartment buildings' stairwells, elevators, lobbies and room entrances for the same reasons they are necessary for hotels. Installing the doors in these areas provides the most protection to tenants.

Entertainment Facilities

The type of entertainment facility determines where you must install fire-rated doors. Large, open spaces, stairwells, hallways and elevators must have fire-rated doors.

Why Use Fire-Rated Doors?

Among the many reasons to use fire-rated doors in commercial buildings, the most obvious are for occupant safety and code compliance. However, insurance claims and peace of mind are equally important.

Compliance

As mentioned before, the IBC has rules and regulations for commercial buildings, including fire safety guidelines. These guidelines include installing fire-rated doors in commercial buildings at specific locations. Following these guidelines during construction or renovation can lower costs and keep the project moving on time. You will also avoid costly, time-intensive rebuilds by ensuring your project complies with these guidelines from the start.

Safety

Fire-rated doors have numerous safety features. They automatically seal, keeping the fire contained to one area and reducing the amount of smoke that spreads throughout the building. In addition, they limit the amount of heat that enters or leaves a facility, which helps maintain a comfortable temperature inside.

 

Depending on their specifications, these doors can delay fire for 20, 30, 45, 60 or 90 minutes. Twenty minutes gives people time to exit the building and, if they cannot evacuate, keeps them safe until help can arrive.

Insurance

In the event of a fire, insurance adjusters will investigate whether a building's fire-rated doors are up to code, correctly installed and well-maintained. If you do not have the correct type of fire-rated doors for your building, your insurance could deny your claim. You could also be liable for any injuries or casualties if your building does not meet IBC standards.

Peace of Mind

A fire is a tragedy that results in damage and potential injuries. For the peace of mind of your building's occupants and yourself, it is crucial to ensure your building is up-to-code and has all vital fire safety features, including fire-rated doors. If a fire does happen, you want to be sure that your building is as safe as possible. Having fire-rated doors offers this assurance, helps prevent severe injuries and casualties and mitigates losses. 

How to Get Fire-Rated Doors

There are three steps to acquiring custom fire-rated doors for your project: 

  1. Choose your specifications: Fire-rated cores have individual specification sheets. You can review the specifications for cores that resist fire for 20, 45 or 90 minutes.

  2. Choose your style: We can add a fire-resistant core to almost any door in our catalog.

  3. Contact DoorStop: We will help you get the right door, right here, right now!

custom fire rated doors

Contact DoorStop for Custom Fire-Rated Doors

When you know your commercial building project needs fire-rated doors, you want custom designs that your customers will love. Instead of basic fire-rated steel doors, you can choose almost any style of DoorStop door and add a fire-resistant core to it. With over 80 years of local commercial door distribution experience, we offer custom commercial doors, exceptional customer service and product guidance to architects, contractors and millworkers throughout New York and the Tri-State area. 

Contact us today for more information about our custom fire-rated doors.

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