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How to Maintain a Fire-Rated Door

Commercial Fire rated door

The door to your commercial property is as reliable as its condition. An adequately maintained fire-rated door protects any building's structural integrity, occupants, and assets if there is a fire-related emergency. Because of its importance, every business owner must understand how to manage fire door maintenance.    

There are several steps business owners can take to ensure their fire-rated door is properly maintained. 

What Are Fire-Rated Doors? 

A fire-rated door is specifically designed to slow or prevent the spread of fire and smoke. These doors are heavy and constructed from materials like metal or gypsum. When a fire-rated door is installed correctly, it shouldn't combust when it faces extreme fire temperatures. 

Fire-rated doors are more commonly found in commercial buildings than in residential homes. You can find them in most public buildings and places like college dormitories.  

Why Have a Fire-Rate Door In Your Building? 

Many buildings are required to have a fire door. Numerous benefits make them ideal even if your facility doesn't fall into that category. A fire can happen at any time in any building. When you have a fire-rated door, the fire and smoke will not spread as quickly. This saves lives and can save your building from extensive repairs.  

Why Is Fire-Rated Door Maintenance Essential? 

Understanding the importance of keeping fire-rated doors in compliance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes is crucial to their function. These doors are designed to protect against a spreading fire, but proper maintenance is necessary for them to provide adequate protection. 

The potential results of not keeping fire-rated doors up to code are a severely burned building and potential injuries to your employees or patrons.

4 Maintenance Steps for Fire-Rated Doors 

According to Standard 80 of the NFPA, all fire-rated doors must pass a yearly inspection administered by a trained professional. However, there are steps you can take to ensure these protective doors will pass the test. 

1. Complete a Visual Inspection 

The first thing a trained inspector will do is complete a visual inspection. They will review every part of the door and surrounding components. Before your assessment, you can look for anything that is out of place or could cause a hazard. 

Inspect the door for the following: 

  • No loose or missing mounting or assembly bolts 
  • Welds and weld locations comply with manufacturer instructions 
  • Guide assemblies have the necessary fire expansion clearance per the manufacturer's instruction 
  • No links or cables are painted or coated with dust and grease 
  • Cables are not kinked 
  • Chains are not twisted 
  • Release devices work 
  • No part of the door assembly is attached to the ceiling, light fixtures, or other building materials 
  • No damaged or missing parts 

You must also ensure that nothing obstructs the door's path and interferes with its operation. 

2. Complete an Operational Check 

Open and close the fire-rated door as normal and check for any signs of damaged components. If the door is not correctly balanced or any parts have damage, it could pose a hazard or prevent the door from operating correctly.  

Any issues found during the operational check must be repaired before moving on to the next step. 

3. Complete a Drop Test 

After determining the door is operational, you can complete a drop test. As part of Standard 80, a drop test must be conducted annually to verify the assembly will completely close during an emergency. This test ensures the door closes completely with an average speed of at least 6 inches per second. However, it must not exceed 24 inches per second.   

Consider creating a fire door register if your building has multiple fire-rated doors. This helps you organize all information, including maintenance, components, and installation dates. Being organized will ensure you get all vital inspections that would keep you in compliance.  

4. Signage 

Another way to maintain compliance with fire-rated door regulations is to have the correct signage. During a professional inspection, the inspector will check for appropriate signage, which includes labels that indicate it is a fire-rated door. 

Who Is Responsible for Checking Fire-Rated Doors? 

Although maintenance tasks can be delegated to other reliable individuals, the person responsible for scheduling the yearly inspection is typically the building owner or manager. The official test must be completed by a trained fire door inspector.  

Get High-Quality Fire-Rated Doors 

Do you need to replace or install fire-rated doors in your commercial building? Contact CDF Distributors to discuss your needs.

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