Over a million house fire incidents happen in the US per year, leading to thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in loss. On average, about 7 people are dying per day due to house fires.
This emphasizes the importance of sticking to building codes and fire safety regulations.
However, we can’t always avoid house fires even if we stick to every home security tip.
In those cases, having a fire door comes in handy, but when are fire doors required in a domestic property? Let’s find that out and how fire doors work.
How Fire Doors Work
Fire doors provide safe passage for the occupants of a building or home to the outside. At the same time, they resist fire; they contain the fire in the room or building where it started, protecting the neighboring houses as well.
They have certifications that reflect how long they can withstand the fire. An FD20 door, for example, will be able to withstand for 20 minutes. The most common in domestic properties is the FD30 door.
More than fire, a fire door also prevents smoke from escaping into the other side. This is important as smoke inhalation is the most common cause of death in house fires.
A fire door is different to a standard door in that regard and in other aspects as well. It has more components that must adhere to certain standards as well, such as the door frame, hinges, vision panel, handles, and the self-closing mechanisms.
How Do You Know When Are Fire Doors Required?
When building or renovating a domestic property, your architect should advise you when and where you’d need to install a fire door. To give you an idea, here are scenarios of when you would need to install a fire door.
If you have a 2-story home that connects to a garage, it must have a fire door. According to building regulations, fire door must be the door that joins the garage to the house. The door must also be self-closing.
Your local building code might also have provisions requiring newly-built properties that have 3 stories or more to have a fire door around the staircase and on the 3rd floor. This also applies to loft conversions, which may constitute the 3rd story.
Speaking of staircases, residents should be able to use them in case of a fire. This means that rooms around protected staircases should also have a fire door as well.
The local building codes might also require shared or multi-occupancy homes to have internal fire doors connecting the common areas to a resident’s private dwelling (their bedroom, in this case). These doors should be FD30 and must also have self-closing devices.
Fire door regulations are extremely complex for a homeowner. The building codes may vary, and they also include other regulations regarding the materials, door frame, fail-safes, and more.
To be on the safe side, consult an architect or other professional to help you with deciding. You’d need to ensure that the construction of your home follows the technical standards before the correct governing body approves it.
Should You Replace Standard Doors with Fire Doors?
If you’re renovating your homes or considering to replace your internal standard doors, you may also consider installing fire doors instead as an extra safety measure. However, you don’t need to as in building regulations, internal doors mostly have no such requirement.
With that said, there’s no one stopping you from installing internal fire doors where you want it. FD30 doors come in a lot of designs that complement the theme of your home, and they look different than those you see in buildings.
The only things that might hinder you are the door frames. If you’re simply replacing your internal doors, your existing door frames may not be able to accommodate fire doors. These usually have a thickness of 44 mm, while the standard door frames are usually at 35 mm.
The building code also has requirements for door frames, so you’ll have to budget for the replacement of frames as well. If that’s too much for you, it’s alright to not put a fire door where the building doesn’t require it.
Can You Install a Fire Door in Your Home?
Installing a fire door is different to installing a standard door. If you’ve had experiences in fitting doors, it’s still not enough to authorize you in fitting fire doors. For example, a poorly installed FD30 fire door might result in it lasting for only 5 minutes in a fire instead of 30 minutes.
There are a lot of considerations to keep in mind when installing a fire door, so we recommend having a professional do it instead. You can be the one to choose the door, but a trained person will make sure that it will do its job as a fire door.
For your part, you can simply remember to close all your fire doors before going to bed or leaving the house. Also, make sure that it swings freely, no object should be hindering its way so that you can easily open it in cases of emergency.
It also needs to close completely to prevent the fire from making its way to the other room. Leaving it open or having an obstruction will defeat its purpose.
However, if you have the right knowledge and skills, there are no actual rules that say that you have to hire a professional. If you can install it yourself while making sure that it remains functional, there’s no one stopping you.
Where to Buy Fire Doors
Plenty of door companies offer fire doors, so it’s only a matter of choosing a trusted and budget-friendly brands.
When buying fire doors, it’s preferable if you buy them as a set to ensure that the components have the same standards as the door itself. A set will usually include the frame, hinges, door handles, and locks.
Need More Tips?
When are fire doors required? Large homes with a garage or commercial buildings will need one but it’s always safer to consult an architect first.
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