What Is a Fire Door? Essential Knowledge for Protection


Fire doors

A fire door is a crucial safety feature. You’ll find these specialist doors in commercial, public, and residential buildings. 

Fire doors are designed to help prevent the spread of fire and smoke. Here, we’ll explore the topic of fire doors in more detail. 

Definition and Purpose of a Fire Door

Wondering what’s the difference between a fire door and a regular door? Well, a fire door is a door that has been specially constructed with fire-resistant capabilities.

The use of fire doors compartmentalises a building. Fire doors serve two key functions: 

  • A fire door’s fire-resistant capability acts as a barrier to stop the spread of fire and smoke when the door is closed.
  • The construction of the fire door allows it to be used as a way to escape the building when open.

Correctly installed fire doors can save lives and buildings. It’s a legal requirement for some buildings to have fire doors installed. The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 set out the requirements for property owners. This ensures fire doors are installed correctly and are well-maintained.

Key Features of Fire Doors

We know that fire doors play a crucial role in fire safety in buildings. But, what makes a fire door different from a regular door? The key difference lies in the way they’re constructed and the materials used.

The construction of a fire door and the components used in its installation ensure it functions correctly as a fire door. 

Fire Door Construction

To perform their vital role in fire safety, fire doors are specially constructed. These fire-resistant doors are typically made from a fire-retardant membrane. Outer panels on either side provide the finish for the door. The outer panels are typically made from wood. Fire doors can be constructed in various designs, from different types of materials. 

It is the core material of the door that gives it its main fire-resistant capabilities. Additional layers of the door are usually in place for aesthetic reasons. The outer panels of the door are treated to make them fire-resistant.

Fire Door Materials

Some of the materials often used in the construction of fire doors include:

  • Wood
  • Steel
  • Glass
  • Vermiculite boards 
  • Gypsum boards 

The type of material chosen will depend on both the aesthetic finish required, and whether any specialist application is needed. 

Fire Door Components

Ensuring a fire door is made from the appropriate fire-resistant material is essential. However, the components used with the fire door are also a vital consideration. 

Failing to use the correct components with your fire door can seriously reduce its effectiveness. All the fixtures that are used on a fire door must be fire-rated. Here are the different components needed to help your fire door perform at its best:

JD200MB Fire door closer

  • Fire Door Closers

Fire doors should close automatically after being opened. This ensures they provide an effective barrier to fire. To do this, fire doors should be fitted with a fire door closer, which automatically closes the door after it’s opened. 

Nero T-Bar Knurled Door Handle

  • Fire Door Hardware

All hardware used on a fire door needs to be certified as compatible for use on a fire door. This includes the handles, locks, and latches. All these components must be fitted to the door when it is tested to earn fire door certification.

Intumescent Strips

Every fire door needs to be fitted with intumescent strips. These strips are made from fire-resistant material and fit around the frame of the door. When a fire is present, the strip expands to help prevent the fire from spreading through any gaps.

Types of Fire Doors

There are a few main types of fire doors, these are:

Steel Fire Doors

Steel fire doors are metal-clad doors that provide heavy-duty resistance to fire. They are constructed from a plywood or chipboard membrane and then clad with steel. Steel fire doors are easy to clean, which makes them ideal for use in kitchens and hospitals.

Timber-Clad Fire Doors

Timber-clad fire doors and wood composite fire doors are widely used in homes and businesses and can be matched to the interior design of the space. Often, these doors are constructed from solid timber and have a veneer finish. Timber doors are treated with a fire-resistant coating.

Glazed Fire Doors

Glazed fire doors are popular in buildings such as care homes and shops. These doors offer fire resistance while also letting more light into the room. Borosilicate or ceramic glass is often used thanks to its added fire-resistant properties.

Fire Door Ratings

Fire doors are rated according to how many minutes of fire protection they can offer. All fire door ratings have the prefix FD followed by the number of minutes of protection they offer:

  • FD30 - 30 minutes
  • FD60 - 60 minutes
  • FD90 - 90 minutes
  • FD120 - 120 minutes

Fire Door Regulations and Compliance

Complying with fire door regulations is essential to stay within the law and for safety reasons. The regulations you need to comply with depend on the type of building.

Residential properties with more than two storeys are required to have fire doors installed. Fire doors are also required in properties with an integral garage and those with loft conversions.

New fire regulations came into force in 2023 with the introduction of The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022. The regulations state that a Responsible Person must ensure the fire doors in blocks of flats over 11 metres tall are adequate to prevent the spread of fire. 

Fire doors in communal areas of the flats should be checked every three months. Flat entrance fire doors should be checked by the Responsible Person every 12 months.

For commercial and public buildings, fire doors must be installed. These should then be regularly checked by the Responsible Person to ensure they’re fit for purpose. Regular maintenance of the fire doors will help ensure they stay compliant.

Installation and Maintenance of Fire Doors

Fire doors can save lives. But to be effective they need to be properly installed and maintained. All fire doors need to be installed by a Competent Person. The fire doors then need to be checked frequently and maintained. Any parts that are worn or not operating properly can impact the effectiveness of the fire door. 

For fire doors in heavy traffic areas of a building, it’s helpful to check the doors much more frequently. 


Fire doors are an essential tool for passive fire protection. So, ensuring you comply with the relevant legislation is essential. Familiarising yourself with the regulations and the different fire door ratings will help you to be proactive in keeping your building fire-safe. 

Your building’s fire doors will only operate effectively if they are well-maintained. This includes using the correct certified components when maintaining your fire door. Regularly checking the doors and carrying out routine maintenance is crucial to keeping everyone safe, and could save lives.

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