Fire-Rated Doors: What You Need to Know

fire-rated doors

Fire-rated doors help reduce the spread of fire and smoke in a home or building. Both commercial and residential structures can use fire-rated doors.

Fire door materials and parts

Fire doors can consist of a combination of materials: gypsum, steel, timber, Vermiculite, aluminum and glass. Both the slab and the door frame must meet requirements to earn a fire-rating. The door frame parts include seals, hardware and the structure. On an even more granular level here is a breakdown of elements:

Seals

  • An intumescent strip, which expands when exposed to heat
  • Gaskets to prevent the passage of smoke
  • Neoprene weatherstripping

Door hardware

  • Automatic closing devices or objects
  • Ball-bearing hinges
  • Gas seals
  • Positive latching mechanisms
  • Smoke seals

If a window is present,it must have a rating as well. Fire-rated glass may contain wire mesh glass, liquid sodium silicate, ceramic glass or borosilicate glass. Wired glass typically withstands the fire. The sodium silicate liquid acts to insulate heat transfer.

Standards for fire-rated doors

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 80 standard regulates the installation and maintenance of assemblies and devices used to protect openings in walls, floors and ceilings against the spread of fire and smoke. The International Building Code (IBC) and International Fire Code (IFC) reference the NFPA 80 standard.

NFPA 80 5.2.4. requires the following items be verified, at minimum:

  • No open holes or breaks exist in surfaces of either the door or frame
  • Glazing, vision light frames and glazing beads are intact and securely fastened in place, if applicable
  • The door, frame, hinges, hardware and noncombustible threshold are secured, aligned and in working order with no visible signs of damage
  • No parts are missing or broken
  • Door clearances at the door edge of the door frame (wood door), on the pull side of the door, do not exceed clearances listed in 4.8.4 (the clearance under the bottom of the door, maximum of 3/4″) and 6.3.1 (top and edges, 1/8″); or for metal doors (top and edges, up to 3/16″)
  • Self-closing device is operational
  • Coordinators, if installed, close the inactive leaf before the active leaf
  • Latching hardware operates and secures the door when in the closed position
  • Auxiliary hardware items that interfere with or restrict operation are not installed on the door or frame
  • No field modifications to the door assembly have been performed that void the label
  • Gasketing and edge seals, where required, are inspected to verify their presence and integrity

Fire-resistance ratings

The fire-resistance rating is the duration for which a passive fire protection system can withstand a fire-resistance test. It is most often a measurement of time. Fire ratings can be 20, 45, 60, 90 or 180 minutes. A third-party agency tests doors to ensure they meet the requirements.

Standards and testing

Testing of fire-rated doors is via Underwriters Laboratory (UL) standards and NFPA standards:

  • UL 10B, Fire Tests of Door Assemblies (neutral or negative pressure)
  • UL 10C, Positive Fire Pressure Tests of Door Assemblies
  • NFPA 252, Standard Methods of Fire Tests of Door Assemblies

The IBC also requires side-hinged or swinging fire doors be tested with positive pressure, using either UL 10C or NFPA 252.

Testing of doors uses heat up to 1925 degrees Fahrenheit. If the door remains in the frame with no through openings and limits flames, it’s certified with an endurance rating of the appropriate minutes.

After the fire endurance test, the test specimen undergoes the hose stream test. The test consists of a fire hose delivering water at 30 psi from 20′ away. Building codes throughout the U.S. typically stipulate that 20-minute doors are exempt from the hose stream test.

JELD-WEN fire-rated doors

We offer fire-rated doors for interior and exterior usage. The highest-rated exterior doors we offer (90-minute) are our IWP® wood series and steel doors. Our IWP wood and solid mineral core flush interior doors also offer ratings up to 90 minutes.

You can view the complete listing of our fire-rated doors here.