If you plan on building a commercial building that requires a fire-rated door, you should always know how to choose the right one. Fire-rated doors come in different types and different features. It would help if you considered many factors when selecting a fire-rated door, and knowing these before you choose one will help you save money in the long run and save you from trouble.
What is a Fire-Rated Door?
Fire-rated doors are access doors that have fire-resistant qualities. They come in different fire ratings depending on how much fire protection you might need. These access doors are from materials that slow down the spread of fire and smoke in areas giving tenants time to exit the premises. These fire-rated doors also help reduce property damage by providing firefighters enough time to extinguish the fire.
Where is a Fire-Rated Door Required?
Most commercial buildings require a fire-rated access door. Commercial buildings need extra security and safety precautions as they cater to several people daily. It is a must in specific commercial spaces like:
Some places may require fire-rated access doors after inspection or assessments. It may not be under the general list. Still, industrial plants and other commercial establishments that produce or use toxic elements are places you can consider needing fire-rated access doors.
Factors To Consider When Choosing One
When choosing the best fire-rated door for your commercial space, there are many factors to consider. You might have to adhere to code requirements in your area, which can differ depending on the nature of your business. Include these additional factors:
Fire-rated doors come in different types of fire ratings. You can have an access door that can resist fire for up to 20 minutes at the lowest and 180 minutes at the highest. Some areas or commercial spaces may require the highest type of fire resistance due to the fire risk in those areas. These types of stainless-steel access doors merely slow down the spread of fire.
You should then consider the size of your fire-rated door. It should be enough for maintenance personnel to enter and obvious enough to the naked eye, even if they are two or more feet away. It will help people locate the fire-rated door quickly in case of emergencies. Ensuring that installing a fire-rated door would not hinder the flow of foot traffic on the premises would add to your advantage.
It would help to consider where to install the fire-rated access door. It should be accessible and visible. Consider the fire risk in those areas as well, as it will help you determine the fire-rating you need for the door. If you plan to install them in high-risk areas like commercial kitchens, ensure that the fire rating adheres to NFPA codes.
Consider the additional features you want to have for your fire-rated access door. Some doors can come with extra insulation or soundproofing qualities. You can even add extra security and durability to your fire-rated access doors. These access doors are customizable in size and can come with different features to better fit their purpose and use.
Your budget should be the first few things you consider. Access doors do not come cheap, so you spend your money wisely on the right access door. The more beneficial it will be, the more worthy investment it becomes. Thinking of your access doors as an investment will help you spend on the right one. With the right maintenance and care, your access door can last long.
Consider Maintenance Needs
If you choose a fire-rated access door on your commercial property, you must remember that these doors will also require maintenance. Aside from a fire-rated door having to pass a checklist from the NFPA, here are some other things to consider.
- Regularly check for signs of damage
- Make sure nothing obstructs the door from opening
- Regularly inspect the gaskets
- Test the self-closing hardware
Regular inspection is necessary for fire-rated access doors as a malfunctioning one can do more harm than good. If you notice a problem with your fire-rated access door, you should call in an expert to replace the damaged parts or to replace your access door completely.
Fire-rated doors are standard in commercial buildings for a reason. Aside from being a requirement, it also helps reduce the risk of fire spread and property damage. It also acts as a security door to prevent unauthorized entry to your building’s internal components. A fire-rated door will be perfect if you want security with additional features.