If you’re a contractor or business owner planning a remodel or renovation – or building a custom commercial building from the ground up – chances are you are aware there are fire regulations you must adhere to in order to meet building code for your commercial property. While navigating fire regulations can be intimidating, there are a lot of resources to mine that can help you streamline the process.
For our purposes, lets dig into your options as a contractor when it comes to sourcing fire resistant doors, rated on a universal scale. Keep in mind that every commercial door doesn’t have to have a fire rating, and you’re best suited to doing the research in your municipality, specific to the building code requirements for your structure, before you begin to source material with a supplier.
Here are some of your fire rating options:
A three-hour fire rated door is a requirement when you’re dealing with four-hour fire rated walls that are employed to separate buildings or that serve as a divide. Often composed of galvanized steel with an insulated core, three-hour doors are often employed for commercial, industrial, and institutional use with heavy traffic.
This is an option are for use with two-hour fire rated walls that are found at the entrance to stairwells, elevator rooms, and outside entrances. Choosing a metal option in this case, as opposed to a wood option, will give you the most bang for your buck, if budget is a concern. A glass window kit can be incorporated for transparency and lighting without compromising the fire rating.
An easy way to remember this pairing is 1:1. That is, one-hour fire rated doors are a requirement for one-hour fire rated walls. One-hour fire rated walls are usually used as a divider.
Also paired with one-hour fire rated walls, these doors are combined with walls that are commonly used as room partitions or walkways. They can also be employed as an entrance, assuming this type of door is positioned in a place where the fire risk is low to moderate.
The final option is a 20-minute fire rated door. Designed to negate the possibility and spread of smoke and drafts – further preserving air quality in the case of a fire – these doors are more commonly employed as a residential option but can be used in a commercial setting.
A ceramic glaze and wire glass are the materials most often employed when it comes to the construction of fire rated commercial doors. Every category of fire rated doors are capable of small windows for lighting and vision purposes except the three-hour fire rated commercial door.
Other Things to Remember
- Make sure you label the door; it’s a requirement and part of the process.
- The door has to latch by itself and close in the same way.
- In order to be in compliance with fire code, a fire rated commercial door must not have any obstructions, or anything that gets in the way of it performing its duties should the worst occur.
- Use Standard Number 80 from the National Fire Protection Association as the only reference when you source and install your doors.
- Choose a manufacturer who has a HISTORY in your community, or is recognized by your industry peers.
In addition to the door itself, as is commonly noted among contractors and builders alike, the real success when it comes to a fire rated door is its installation. The door frame is not subjected to the same rigorous standard as the door, but in order to ensure the door’s fire rating is intact, the frame and its integrity are of the utmost importance.
Make sure you pay attention to the hinges and the latches and locks, as well as the seal and gaskets when you’re picking a door for your business or industrial space. For this purpose, and to ensure absolute quality control and fire regulation adherence, you’re best suited toward a material supplier that can custom build your door, or pair it with the best possible additional materials, so that installation and inspection are a breeze.