What Makes A Fire Door Work?

A fire door

In everyday use  a fire door is just as any other door. However, if a fire breaks out, the fire door, unlike any other door, must then perform its prime purpose - to protect lives and to prevent the passage of the fire to other parts of the building or to another building.

In the event of a fire, a fire door will not work unless all the right components have been fitted correctly and maintained.


Let’s dig a little deeper into these components.


Door Leaf

The fire door leaf is the main component of the doorset or door assembly and is usually manufactured to a range of standard sizes and door styles. Fire doorset performance is demonstrated by the manufacturer’s test evidence, assessment reports or certification documents.


Frame/Lining or Casing

The frame’s design, size, fixings and material are  critical to the fire performance and fire rating.


Intumescent seals

Intumescent seals can be located in the door edge or frame. They expand when heated by a fire and seal the gap between door and frame, stopping the passage of the fire. This gap is generally between 2 and 4mm but can be greater but only when supported by test evidence as larger gaps may prevent the intumescent seals performing correctly.


Smoke Seals

Smoke seals can be combined with intumescent seals or fitted separately. They are located in the perimeter of the frame or door edge. And can act as either wiper or compression seals to restrict the flow of smoke. Remember - Smoke Kills.


Fire door glazing

Some fire doors have vision panels fitted in them. Special fire tested glass and glazing systems must be used and the glazing process should only be undertaken by a trained and competent individual, with a good working knowledge of the specific materials and glazing systems required.


Threshold seals

Threshold seals are located on the bottom of the door or threshold. They seal the gap under the door to resist the flow of smoke and the passage of fire.



Correct fire door signage should be fitted at eye level on all non-domestic fire doors.



A minimum of 3 fire rated hinges must be used, located correctly and fitted using appropriate fixings and intumescent pads when required.


Door closer

Some fire doors are fitted with closers to ensure the fire door always returns to its fully closed position and is held in the closed position when not in use.


Latch or lock

When fitted, the latch or lock engages the door leaf securely to the frame when the door is in the closed position. It is critical in securing the door in the event of a fire and preventing warping of the door.


Air transfer grilles

Fire rated air transfer grilles are fitted into some doors to keep fresh air circulating within a building, combining air movement with fire protection. In everyday use, air can pass freely through the grilles to allow good ventilation. In a fire, the intumescent expands, fusing the grille into a solid mass that stops fire spreading. Some fire rated air transfer grilles combine fire with cold smoke protection, using an electro mechanical shutter plate system that closes when activated by the fire alarm, preventing the spread of deadly smoke and fumes.

Fire only rated air transfer grilles should not be used on doors designated as smoke control doors (e.g. FD30S and FD60S). In these doors, the combined fire and cold smoke dampers must be used.


Keep the detail

Small differences in detail such as glazing apertures, intumescent seals, door frames and ironmongery may significantly affect the performance of the door. The results of changing the specification or not fitting the correct components could be catastrophic.



Picture: Fire Door Safety Week runs 21-27 September 2020


Fire Door Safety Week

Now in its eighth year, Fire Door Safety Week is an awareness campaign that highlights the role that fire doors play in keeping people and property safe and the importance of good fire door safety practice.


For individuals and organisations hoping to get involved, you can show your support by:


Pledging your support

Sharing the campaign's free resources, including the 5 Step Fire Door Check

Following Fire Door Safety Week on Twitter

Holding online events to help educate on the importance of fire door safety. If you are planning on holding an event, get in touch so that it can be added it to the campaign vents page



Education & Training

Halspan, Arnold Laver and Lorient are to host a series of free webinars in support of Fire Door Safety Week which runs 21-27 September 2020.

Halspan's series is as follows:

21 Sept - Fire Resistance Built In. The crucial role of fire doors and fire door performance.

22 Sep - Fire Door Components & Testing. Looking in detail at the system of components that make up a fit-for-purpose fire doorset or door assembly, including door blanks and cores, hardware and seals.

23 Sep - Fabrication, Installation & Maintenance of Fire Doors. Critical to ensure fire doors perform as intended.

24 Sep - Building Fire Strategy and the Role of Fire Doors. A fire engineer’s perspective presented by fire engineer and industry expert Adrian Brown.

Book Now


Arnold Laver

Arnold Laver are running 5 x 30-40 minute webinar sessions with leading industry professionals throughout Fire Door Safety Week 2020 in order to highlight the critical role fire doors have in protecting property and saving lives.

The Fire Door Safety webinars are CPD accredited and will provide individuals with critical knowledge, latest industry insight and legislation from leading suppliers including Arnold Laver Intelligent Door Solutions Division, Lorient, Dormakaba, Pyroguard and Fire Door Inspect Ltd.

Each webinar sets out to inform those responsible for specifying, installing and maintaining passive fire protection methods, appropriate for anyone who has any influence over fire doors,

Learn More Here



Lorient is scheduling a collection of events and interactive seminars. An indicative fire test will be streamed live from the company's Testing & Technical Services centre in Devon via Click Meeting. The test will show the shocking difference between a sealed door versus an unsealed door - highlighting the critical role of intumescent seals.


Three live webinars will be presented by expert speakers with Q&As that include:

The Role and Performance of Fire & Smoke-Resisting Door Assemblies.

The Specification & Design of Air Transfer Grilles/Dampers.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and its implications for fire doors will feature throughout the week.

Lorient will be releasing a video of a Certificated Fire Door Inspector who will be carrying out a five step fire door check.

Find Out More

Article written by Cathryn Ellis
16th September 2020


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