How to Choose and Install a Flush Internal Fire Doors
Are you choosing flush internal fire doors for your home? If so it can be an intimidating thought. However, as with so many things in life, it gets much easier if you know what you’re looking for. Here’s our quick guide to the key things you need to know about buying and installing flush internal fire doors.
What’s different about a fire door?
As the name suggests these are no ordinary doors. They are specially designed to be robust and resist the spread of fire through a building. It will normally use a solid core construction which can offer varying levels of protection. Each one will be rated differently depending on how long it can hold out against the heat and flames. At a minimum, you’ll get an FD30 rating which means it can last 30 minutes. Higher specs of FD60 will provide more time and more protection.
However, it’s important to remember that they won’t do the job on their own. They can only work well if you install them alongside the right hardware and according to guidelines and regulations.
First, they must have intumescent strips fitted around the edges. Most of the time they remain dormant, but if they come into contact with extreme heat they expand rapidly, sealing the gap between the door and the frame, which creates an effective barrier against the fire.
As an option you might want to install strips with smoke seals to stop smoke getting through as well as the fire. In most cases of fires, it’s the smoke that proves lethal first.
If installed correctly, it should protect escape routes and hold back the fire, reduce the flow of oxygen feeding it and slow it down long enough for you and everyone else to get to safety.
How to buy
So, what should you do when buying one? For starters, you’ll benefit by using a good supplier such as doorsdirect2u who knows their stuff and has a good reputation. There are plenty of providers on the market, all of whom make a lot of bold claims, but those don’t always follow through into reality. Look for firms which have a good track record, positive reviews and can show whether they have been properly tested. Ask what tests it has gone through and demand to see the documentation to prove it.
A fire door should be certified by a recognised and accredited fire safety scheme such as the British Woodworking Federations scheme which shows its design and manufacture has been adequately tested to meet the highest safety standards. Check for the label at the edge of the door.
Always remember: You’re not just concerned about the door itself but also the frame and ironmongery. They all count and serve to keep the fire back. You must buy components which are precisely compatible.
Of course, we all live in tough economic times and it’s tempting to save a few pounds and buy a cheaper option. But it’s not worth it. Do you really want a cheap door standing between you and the fire? What you save now could potentially cost you a huge amount in repairs later. Choose a good model and follow instructions to the letter.
How to install
Get good, competent people to install your fire door, closely follow the instructions. Always use a professional.
Some doors can be trimmed to fit a gap but the amount varies so check the guidelines. Don’t trim the top edge – the label mustn’t be removed.
Check the gap. It cannot be more than 3mm on the top and sides of the flush internal fire doors with no more than a 10mm gap at the bottom to the flooring. Any larger and the gap won’t be sealed in the event of a fire.
Fire door options
Flush internal fire doors offer different options, levels of fire resistance and sizes. As we mentioned earlier there are the FD30 and FD60 rated doors offering 30 minutes and an hour’s worth of protection respectively. They have a standard thickness of 44mm and 54mm while JELD-WELD offers a thinner version at 35mm which can fit into a regular door frame without the need to remove it. It’s a good way to save a bit of time and money in the installation process.
Finally, just because these are functional safety items doesn’t mean they can’t be attractive and stylish. Each one can come with a range of designs and colours to compliment every taste. So, get to know what you need, and what would look good in your building and choose the best option for you.