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Choosing fire doors for your home can be a daunting prospect, so here’s our guide to fire doors that tells you everything you need to know about buying and installing fire doors.
Why is a fire door different to a standard interior door?
Fire doors aren’t ordinary doors, they are designed specifically to reduce the rate at which fire spreads through a building, providing time for your family to escape safely.
A fire door is manufactured with a solid core construction that can provide different levels of fire protection. They are available in a range of ratings that indicate how long the product can withstand heat and flames. The minimum rating is FD30 doors that protect life and offer 30 minutes fire resistance, but higher specification FD60 60 minute fire doors are also available, providing additional time and protection.
Fire doors alone will not provide the necessary protection in the event of a fire, and will only be effective if installed with the correct fire door hardware and installed in accordance with fire door regulations.
Fire doors work by fitting intumescent strips around the edges of the door that lie dormant during everyday use, but when in contact with extreme heat, they expand at a rapid rate, sealing the gap between door and door frame, creating a barrier against fire. You can also install intumescent strips with smoke seals to stop the smoke getting through the door as well as the fire. However, for a fire door to protect escape routes, prevent the spread of fire and restrict the amount of oxygen feeding the fire, it must be installed correctly and kept closed at all times.
Do I need fire doors in my home?
If you’re renovating your home or adding an extension, it’s recommended that you use a fire door for any room where a fire is most likely to start, such as the kitchen, a room with a fireplace or any room that contains electrical or flammable items. However, Building Regulations stipulate:
However, fire doors are worth considering in any situation as they give you that extra peace of mind should the worst happen.
How to buy good quality fire doors
When purchasing fire doors it is crucial that you use a reputable and competent supplier - many people claim to make fire doors, but only some have got a properly tested product that is proved to work in a fire. Ask whether the product has been fire tested and demand to see the documentation that proves it (eg. fire certificate or label).
It's critical that fire doors are rated by an accredited fire safety scheme such as the British Woodworking Federation’s CERTIFIRE scheme, which demonstrates that the door specifications and manufacturing methods have been assessed rigorously and audited regularly to ensure compliance with the highest safety standards. You can identify doors that are to this standard by looking out for the BWF-CERTIFIRE label on the top edge of the door.
Remember it's not just the door itself that matters. The frame and ironmongery is just as important - they all work together. Only buy exact compatible hardware and components.
Saving a few pounds on fire doors isn't worth it. Consider the cost of damage and loss of life if a fire breaks out. Stick to the specification at all times, always ask for installation instructions and follow them to the letter.
How to install
For a fire door to effectively protect your home, it must be installed correctly by competent personnel, closely following the full fitting instructions. We recommend you get a professional installer to fit your fire doors.
In most instances fire doors can be trimmed, but the amount can vary so always check the instructions. However, never trim the top edge of the door as the label must not be removed.
Finally, it's important to check that there is a consistent gap of no more than a 3mm on the top and sides of the doors, and no more than 10mm gap on the bottom to the flooring. This is critical to ensure that the gap can be sealed in the event of a fire.
Fire door options
There are a number of product options available; FD30 and FD60 fire doors offer 30 minutes and 60 minutes fire protection respectively.
Fire doors come in different sizes and have standard thicknesses of 44mm and 54mm. JELD-WEN also offer a unique 35mm thick FD30 fire door option that will fit into a regular door frame without the need to remove the existing frame, saving homeowners unnecessary disruption, time and money.
There are stylish options to complement virtually every design theme with a range of colours, thicknesses and finishes including finely crafted natural wood veneers.
All JELD-WEN fire doors and doorsets are manufactured under the BWF-CERTIFIREstandards. We are proud to be working with a number of approved companies registered under the scheme to ensure all aperturing and glazing is carried out safely and securely. View the full list of approved companies here.
For more information, view our complete range of fire doors and doorsets, or contact your nearest JELD-WEN retailer.