When you’re considering safety of the people that come in and out of your building, protection against fire often emerges as a top concern.
A fire can be devastating to company property, but it doesn’t have to be if you take into account fire-rated wood doors. With the right products, a fire can be controlled to minimize damage and provide safety to employees and customers.
Fire-rated doors can be incredibly useful, but they also can be compromised if they aren’t installed and maintained correctly.
FIRE-RATED WOOD DOORS TRAP HEAT FROM THE INSIDE OUT
Although we think of wood as prime fuel for a fire, wooden doors can actually be fire-rated.
So what makes a fire-rated wood door different than other doors?
The difference is the unique core. The tightly packed core deters the spread of temperature from one side to the other. Certain materials will determine how long the door should last in an emergency situation.
WHEN IT COMES TO RATINGS, TIME IS EVERYTHING
An internationally recognized independent test agency certifies the rating of the door based on the weakest component of the door. However, not all fire-rated wood doors are created equal. The rating varies anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours. The type of wall where the door is installed, the material of the door, the presence of glass and other aspects factor into the rating.
A live test with a controlled fire determines whether a door makes the cut. The heat usually reaches 1500 degrees in the first thirty minutes and then steadily increases temperature to mimic a realistic scenario.
The testing agency uses a powerful fire-fighter hose and examines the door for damage. A fire-rated door has to remain intact even after hosing. This ensures that in a live scenario the door and frame won’t collapse on top of people in the building.
However, not all fire-rated wood doors are created equal. When a door undergoes more extensive test, it can be rated for a longer time. Sometimes the core between a 60-minute and 90-minute door are exactly the same but were tested differently.
A FIRE-RATED DOOR WON’T WORK UNLESS IT’S CLOSED
It may seem obvious, but doors propped open or closed with an even inch of clearance at the bottom can give way to fire or smoke. Routine maintenance is the best way to make sure your fire-rated wood doors are up and running in case of an emergency.
FIRE-RATED DOOR RATINGS: DOORS CAN LOSE THEIR RATING AND RISK LIVES
Fire-rated wood doors must be installed with fire-rated door hardware with visible labels in order to retain their certification.
Even if a door was once certified, it actually can lose its fire rating if incorrect door hardware is installed.
Each fire-rated door will be labeled. If the label is covered up with a paint job, the door will become uncertified.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to emergency situations. If you want to ensure your doors are installed correctly, use a reliable supplier like Midwest Door & Hardware.
At the end of the day, no door can completely protect a building from fire, but it can buy valuable time in an emergency.
Are the doors in your building ready to protect your property and employees in a fire?