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Fire Resistant Doors: 6 Commonly-Believed Myths

Fire Rated Commercial Door

The number of fire and smoke-related deaths in the USA are staggering, but the good news is that they appear to be decreasing. Considering there are over 3000 fire-related deaths in the US each year, it makes sense to do everything possible to reduce the risks. 

Fire-resistant doors are an effective way to help prevent injury and death from smoke and fires, but there are 6 commonly believed myths about these doors that need to be busted because of the safety risks they create.

What Is a Fire Rated Door?

A fire-resistant door is one that is designed to slow down and prevent — as much as possible — the spread of smoke and fire. These doors are generally installed in public or commercial buildings, and while they can be constructed of wood, wood and glass, or fiberglass, the sturdiest fire-resistant doors are made of metal. 

Every component of the door is fire resistant, including the hardware, glass (if any), glaze, and frame.

Fire-resistant doors come with a fire rating from 20 minutes up to 180 minutes, and when installed by a professional, the door will not combust before its rated time. Not only are these doors fire resistant, but they also offer protection from extreme force and some blasts.

6 Commonly Believed Myths

Fire-resistant doors are passive fire protection as they don’t serve to extinguish a fire but instead reduce the spread of fire and smoke and provide a safe exit. A fire-resistant door will allow more time for occupants to escape a burning building, and this is valuable time that saves lives.

There are a number of misconceptions about fire-resistant doors which must be dispelled to prevent unnecessary fatalities. 

Myth 1: They Are Fireproof

Each fire-resistant door is made of combustible materials, and after a certain period, it will burn. A fire-resistant door with a 90-minute rating will withstand the spread of a fire for that length of time, and then it will combust. Those 90 minutes are crucial in reducing the spread of fire and allowing occupants to vacate the premises safely.  

Myth 2: You Can Use Any Metal Lock

This myth is false. The lock on a fire-resistant door needs to be fire rated to comply with regulations. Metal may seem unbreakable, but in the event of a fire, it can melt very quickly under extreme heat. Every component on the fire-resistant door needs to be fire tested and compatible.

Myth 3: You Can Fireproof a Standard Door

This presumption is a particularly dangerous myth that needs correction. A fire-resistant door is manufactured to be fire-resistant — it’s not something that is added to an existing door. 

Every part of the design and production of a fire-resistant door is made to a standard that will meet legal specifications. Adding a coat of fireproof paint will not change a normal door into a fire-resistant door, and it will do nothing to slow the spread of fire and smoke.

Myth 4: Gaps Around the Door Don’t Matter

The size of the gaps around a fire-resistant door matters. Too much space allows hazardous smoke and fumes to penetrate. The National Fire Protection Association allows for a gap at the bottom of a 90-minute door of no more than three-quarters of an inch. 

With less space around the door, there’s better protection against smoke and fumes, but it does not have to be airtight. Fire doors must be kept closed during a fire to stop the fire from spreading.

Myth 5: They’re Ugly

There’s no doubt that some fire-resistant doors are ugly, especially the older style fire doors, but that has changed. CDF Distributors makes fire-resistant doors in a variety of stains, finishes, and sizes, but with all of the safety features and standards required. They can be customized to suit your premises and design style.

Myth 6: Fire-Resistant Doors Must Be Metal 

Fire-resistant doors are also available in wood and fiberglass in a range of styles and sizes. They can come fitted with fire-resistant glass panels or louvers. 

Wood, glass, and fiberglass fire-resistant doors meet all of the required fire safety specifications. They are durable and strong. However, they have a shorter lifespan than a high-quality commercial fire-rated metal door. 

Fire-resistant doors are designed to protect and prevent smoke and fire-related injury and fatality. In order for them to serve their purpose, the common myths need to be dispelled. 

High-Quality Commercial Fire Rated Entry Doors 

CDF Distributors are the leaders in commercial fire-rated entry doors in a variety of sizes and finishes. All of our doors and hardware meet the highest standards and safety requirements. Contact us today for superior service and commercial fire-rated doors.

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