Optimising Fire Safety: The Right Number of Hinges for Your Fire Door



No one likes to think about the possibility of a fire in their property or business, but there are close to 30,000 domestic fires, and upwards of 22,000 workplace fires in the UK each year. Fire doors that are typically constructed using materials that include wood, steel, and fibre-glass are designed with this risk in mind and can withstand a fire for as long as 30-60 minutes on average. That can significantly slow a fire’s spread, and keep fire risks contained.

Experts believe that fire door hardware like fire door hinges is almost as vital as fire doors themselves thanks to reinforcement and additional fire resistance. To ensure this additional level of safety, it’s vital to use the correct number of hinges on any fire door that you install. In this article, we’ll consider how many hinges should go on a fire door to ensure reliable fire safety at all times. 

Fire Door Regulations and Hinge Requirements

According to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005 (RRO), fire doors that are certified by the British Woodworking Foundation (BWF) are a legal requirement in any commercial setting, including offices, retail spaces, and more. Even within residential settings, regulations outline the need for a fire door in – 

  • Apartment buildings
  • Two-storey houses with a door that leads from an integral garage into the house 
  • Houses with three or more storeys, including loft conversions, where every door leading off the stairwell should be a fire door

While there are no legal requirements for the installation of fire doors, visible gaps or cracks between the door and the frame can significantly compromise fire door safety. The correct installation of fire door hinges is crucial for ensuring that this isn’t the case, and is dependent on considerations like –

  • Certification for fire door hinges: All fire door hinges should be CE marked and include an easily visible fire identification stamp.
  • The number of hinges on fire doors: All fire doors are required to have a minimum of three hinges, though some fire door specifications require four.
  • Grade of fire door hinges: Standard fire door hinges, like our Certifire Jedo ball bearing hinges, should be tested to grade 13 which is capable of withstanding extreme pressure, weight and heat. It’s also possible to purchase grade 11 hinges, which can also withstand fire for around 30/60 minutes. Hinges that are lower than grade 7 should be avoided.

Using the correct number of fire door hinges is particularly essential for keeping the gap between a fire door and its frame within outlined specifications. This makes it far less likely that even high pressure will force a fire door open, and can contribute to the crucial containment of any fire, and the durability of any fire door.

Standard Number of Hinges Used on Fire Doors

All fire doors should have a minimum of three fire-certified hinges that are between grades 7-13. As many as four hinges may also be required depending on fire door specifications. This is because, to ensure correct installation, there should be no more than a 3mm gap between the door and frame. Achieving this generally requires the installation of fire door hinges 200mm from both the top and bottom of a fire door. The remaining hinges should then be evenly spaced to maintain the outlined gap allowance. Also, Check the What Is a Fire Door?

Fire door hinges come in a variety of sizes, most commonly used are sized between 102x75mm, or 102x67mm, and even 76x50mm depending on the size of the door in question. The correct installation then depends a great deal on the regulations and instructions provided for each fire door. Variations in the correct type and number of hinges used may include – 

  • Door height: Four hinges are typically required for doors higher than 2400mm.
  • Door width or weight: Standard fire doors weighing around 40kgs require three fire door hinges, but doors that are heavier, over 2100mm high, or are placed in particularly wide doorways, may require four hinges.

Types of Hinges Used on Fire Doors

Conventional interior door hinges aren’t designed to withstand heat or maintain the weight of a fire door, but there are a variety of different hinges which are suitable for this purpose. In each instance, fire door hinges should be made from strong, heat-resistant materials like steel or stainless steel, brass, and bronze. 

The types of hinges most worth consideration for use with a fire door include – 

  • Ball bearing hinges: Ball bearing hinges, like our Certifire Jedo Rediused ball bearings, are the most common and durable type of fire door hinge, and they use small metal balls to reduce friction each time a fire door opens and closes. It’s possible to use ball bearing hinges for any size or weight fire door. Heavier doors will typically require a grade-13 ball bearing, while fire doors that are closer to 40k should be okay with an grade-11 ball bearing, like our Jedo Grade 102x76mm hinge.
  • Lift-off hinges: While not commonly used, there are some lift-off fire door hinges that make it possible to lift a fire door from its hinges without the need to remove screws. These can make it easier to gain emergency access to certain rooms. However, the weight of most fire doors means that lift-off hinges are rarely practical.
  • Fixed pin hinges: Fixed pin hinges are generally intended for light domestic use, but there are some fixed pin fire hinges available, which can be suitable for use on less frequently used fire doors. 

Installation Tips for Fire Door Hinges

The correct installation of fire door hinges is essential for ensuring both the correct positioning of a fire door and also the durability and general use of your chosen hinges. Professional installation is typically preferable, but DIY fire door hinge installation is possible if you consider key tips like the following – 

  1. Prepare to install fire door hinges by matching the size of your hinges to your door, and considering the number of hinges that you’ll need depending on the height and weight of your chosen fire door. 
  2. Take accurate measurements and make groves (slots) at the correct intervals on the side of the door where you’ll be installing your hinges. These slots should be about 2mm less than the width of the single-piece hinge.
  3. Insert the hinge screws perpendicular to the door cover and the edge of the door before securing.
  4. Check that the hinges open and close easily and that they’re flush to your door frame.

Open a Whole New World of Fire Safety With the Right Fire Door Hinges

On average, heavy fire doors require at least three, possibly four, high-quality fire door hinges to ensure durability, safety, and the containment of fire where required. As well as needing to know how many fire door hinges you require, choosing the right grade and type of fire door hinge is essential for saving not just your property or business space, but possibly your life. Browse our fantastic range of fire door hinges today to ensure safety and peace of mind at last. 

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