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Windows in Fire-Rated Doors: What Options Are Available?

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The number of nonresidential building fires has increased dramatically in recent years according to FEMA. In 2018 alone, over 2.6 million dollars of fire damage was reported. And tragically, close to 2,000 people were injured or died in nonresidential fires the same year. Over a ten-year period from 2008-2018, incidents of nonresidential fire increased by 25%, and deaths increased by a shocking 30%.

In order to protect employees, customers, and property, fire-rated doors and windows are a crucial part of any commercial building’s construction.

What is a Fire-Rated Door?

A fire-rated door is any door that is manufactured for the purpose of stopping or slowing the spread of fire and smoke. They are required by law in most commercial settings. 

The fire-rated doors available at CDF Distributors  include metal, wood and solid core doors and are available in ratings of 20 to 90 minutes. 

Ratings refer to the amount of time the door model was tested to withstand fire conditions. Manufacturers are required to perform testing that exposes the door to heat up to 1,925 degrees Fahrenheit. 

A fire rating of 20 minutes means the door was tested to withstand 20 minutes of fire without letting products of combustion through. After the heat test, the door is blasted with a firehose to ensure that it will not collapse from pressure. The final test is to make certain of its ability to block smoke from entering a room.  

For a door to qualify as being fire rated, the hardware, closing devices, and windows on the assembly must be tested, as well.

Why Would I Want Windows in a Fire Door?

Not every security door needs to look like a security door. As a deterrent to theft or vandalism, an intimidating look is appropriate for some doors. But in most buildings, front entries and interiors benefit from something more aesthetically appealing than a solid steel slab.  

Windows in a fire door provide an additional measure of fire safety, as well as everyday function and visual appeal.

Increased Safety

Better visibility helps occupants to determine a safe exit in the event of an emergency. Not only does it allow them to look to see what’s happening outside of the room that they occupy, but glass also lets light into a room where power might be out or smoke is affecting visibility.

Function

Windowless doors are appropriate in some applications, but not in every situation. Conference rooms and offices that don’t require absolute privacy benefit from the natural light and views provided by glass kits.

Design

Windows can add style and appeal to even the highest rated fire doors. With optional glass kits, there’s no need to sacrifice design for safety.

Because they are fire tested, glass kits do not negatively impact the safety or function of a fire door.

Window Options

Building codes vary from state to state and even county to county. Check with your local building code authority before purchasing a door or deciding on accessories, such as handles or windows.

Once you are knowledgeable about local requirements, it’s time to decide which doors need or would benefit from windows and which type of windows would work best.

Glass is naturally fire resistant. The process of making glass requires superheating of the raw materials. After melting, the molten glass is shaped, cooled, and cut to create the types of panes we are familiar with. 

Fire-safe glass undergoes additional treatments to ensure that it is strong and can resist breakage. It is also designed to be less hazardous if it breaks.

CDF Distributors offers several glass kit options for enhancing a fire-rated door. Tempered, wired kits are available. Wired glass is one of the most common choices for fire safety. The wire mesh embedded inside the glass prevents the glass from falling and shattering during an emergency.

Fire safety needs to be taken seriously. Don’t risk the safety of your personnel or your property by ordering fire doors from a slow or disreputable company.  Make certain your supplier only deals with manufacturers that adhere to official fire safety regulations.

At CDF Distributors, we make every effort to simplify the purchasing experience and to get your fire-rated doors delivered as quickly as possible. We perform all of the necessary prep so that doors are ready to install as soon as you receive them. We can even preinstall door hardware to save you even more time.

Use our Commercial Door Project Planner to get your fire-safe upgrades. If you’ve got any questions about ways to incorporate glass into your fire-rated doors, give our team a call. 

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