What You Need to Know About Fire-Rated Access Doors

There are some remodeling or building projects that might require additional features or installations. Most of these specific project requirements occur in dormitories, public buildings, office buildings, especially exit stairwells. Commercial door locks might be the best example that is applicable in commercial buildings but less common in residential spaces. Another great example is fire-rated doors. If you doubt whether you need to install them on your property, here is everything you need to know about fire-rated access doors and panels.

What is a Fire-Rated Access Door?

Fire-rated access doors are typically heavy doors made of metal or gypsum. These materials do not easily combust when exposed to flame. The primary purpose is to prevent the spread and contain the fire and hold back the smoke. If the installation of these doors is correct, it is not supposed to combust during a specific period in an average fire exposure. 

The installation of each fire-rated door and panel must follow certain specifications provided by the manufacturer, including its requirements on specific sealants and door hardware to maintain the fire rating. Whether it is a renovation of an older building or a new construction project, if it requires fire-rated doors, it is essential to have them installed with its fire rating in compliance with your local code. Most standard ratings include 20-90 minutes doors, but each product's time rating feature varies. Local government agencies and some private sector companies may determine fire ratings depending on the area. 

What is Fire Resistance Rating?

The fire-resistance ratings typically refer to components of the fire-rated doors such as insulation, sheathing products, walls, etc. The fire-resistance ratings provide guidelines regarding its fire safety. Its purpose is to evaluate the durability of its whole assembly to contain a flame or smoke within a fixed area and maintain its structural integrity. These test ratings are essential as they determine if they will give the occupants enough time to escape the premises before it fails during fire accidents. 

Why Fire-Rated Doors Essential?

Fire-rated doors play an essential role in minimizing property damage and saving lives by providing a safe exit in the building and compartmentalizing flames, smoke, and even dangerous heat radiant during fire emergencies.

The design of fire-rated access doors can withstand the heat from a flame at a specific time before actually failing. Its fire resistance feature ratings include its passive fire protection system that withstands a fire resistance test. These will allow occupants to evacuate from the building and for the firefighters to control or put out the fire. 

Access doors typically conceal valuable building components such as electrical controls and wiring, plumbing, gas lines, HVAC, or anything it may swerve that might be prone to fire hazards or flammable. It is essential to hide these systems in a fire-rated access door to protect them. Its ratings will indicate how well a fire-rated door can withstand flame, and typically it will depend on factors such as proper installation process and the fire intensity. These fire-rated access doors and panels have manual and automatic latch release options and upward and outward opening swings. They are essential in any establishment and can positively impact making the building LEED-certified. 

Types of Fire-Rated Access Doors

Fire-rated doors are typically classified based on their fire rating. There are various fire-rated doors available in the market, and some fire-rated access doors feature from 20 up to 180 minutes of fire protection. There is also a temperature rise door, and both of these doors will try to limit the heat transfer from the other side during fire situations in the building. Also, both of these doors can provide a particular time to escape and have safe exits during fire emergencies.

Mounting Considerations

The process of its installation can significantly affect its fire ratings. For instance, a fire-rated door with a 60 minutes fire rating for flammable wooden studs can withstand more than 60 minutes when installed in a non-flammable enclosure. However, it can cost more, but it provides better security and safety during fire emergency events. 

Benefits of Fire-Rated Doors

The following are the benefits you can achieve when installing the right fire-rated access doors for your building.

  • Fire-rated doors will help to provide safe and evacuation of occupants during fire emergency cases. 
  • They help to minimize property damage.
  • It will prevent the spreading of fire and contain smoke and flames together with toxic gasses. 
  • Fire-rated doors will protect your property primarily from fire incidents and also for unauthorized access to valuable building components. 

Fire-rated doors provide various benefits in the property, whether commercial or residential spaces. Each fire-rated door has its ratings. Most of those higher fire ratings are suitable for industrial and factory uses dealing with flammable chemicals and other sensitive products. More importantly, the proper maintenance and installation ensure years of dependable use.  

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