McKinley Guide to Fire-Rated Doors

Posted On: July 21, 2014 in Commercial Doors

Some facilities are required to include fire-rated doors, including commercial facilities. If you need to have commercial fire doors installed, you might be wondering what kind of doors are required and whether you can still get all of the other functionality you need in your doors while still meeting regulations for fire doors. McKinley can help you figure out what kind of doors you need to keep your facility safe, meet all regulations and insurance requirements, and give you the functionality you need for day to day operations.

What are Fire Doors?

A fire door is simply a door which is engineered to resist fires. In the event of a fire in a facility, fire doors are specially engineered to maintain firewall ratings, preventing or slowing down the movement of fire and smoke through a building. This contains the fire in a smaller area, gives personnel time to escape, and fire fighters the chance to extinguish the fire with the minimum possible damage.

Many fire doors are equipped to automatically close in the event of a fire, so your facility is automatically sealed off and protected. Fire doors need to be certified and are given a rating indicating how long they are qualified to resist fires. There are rolling and sliding models of fire doors for use in different applications, including rolling counter doors and other doors intended for retail and public areas of a building, as well as doors for warehouses and other back-end facilities.

Choosing Fire Doors

Rating requirements are set by building codes and by fire marshals. Insurance companies may also require fire doors of a certain rating in covered buildings. You need to check on all of the relevant requirements for your location and your insurance policy before installing fire doors to make sure you choose the right doors for your needs. Fire doors can be rated as low as 20 minutes for doors which are mainly intended to prevent smoke from getting through rather than resisting fire. Doors can also be rated up to three hours. A fire door usually has at least three-quarters of the rating of the surrounding walls. So a wall with a one-hour fire rating may contain a door with a 45-minute rating.

Fire doors need to carry labels verifying they have been tested by a certified testing agency and stating their fire rating. Fire doors also need to be tested at least once a year to make sure they are functioning correctly. Some states and local jurisdictions have even stricter testing requirements, so it is always prudent to check with your local fire authority to determine what applies to your building.

Having the right fire doors in your building provides protection in multiple ways. They enable your personnel to leave the building safely in the event of a fire, they protect your facility and assets by slowing the spread of fire, and they enable you to maintain better insurance protection for your facility. McKinley Equipment can help you identify and install the right commercial fire doors to keep your building and employees safe.