Do I need fire doors in my home?
Some answers to our most commonly asked questions about fire doors
We are often asked by home renovators, unsure whether they need to fit fire doors when either replacing their internal doors or building an extension. Understanding fire doors is a complex subject, and there are questions self builders and DIYers have, which they often find difficult to get answers. Hopefully this blog will help dispel any fire door myths and go some way in providing the information and peace of mind you need.
What is a fire door?
A door that has been specially constructed and fitted in the correct way, to increase the amount of time it would take for flames and smoke to pass through the door in the event of a fire. The most common type of domestic fire door is classed as an FD30 (fire door 30 minutes), having been tested in a controlled environment, to resist flames and smoke for 30 minutes.
I am undertaking a major home renovation / extension – will I need to fit internal fire doors?
If you are undertaking a fairly substantial renovation or extension project your architect will advise whether fire doors are required. For your building regulation application to be approved, your local council’s Building Control Officer will want confirmation that this technical standard has been met. This is something your architect will usually deal with for you.
Building regulations stipulate that fire doors are required in the following key areas for domestic properties:
- A 2 storey house which has a door leading from an integral garage into the house
- New build or renovated domestic properties which have 3 or more storeys (including loft conversions) must have fire doors to every habitable room off the stairwell.
For further information on fire doors and building regulations visit BWF-CERTIFIRE
I am replacing my internal doors – do I need to consider fitting fire doors?
If you are replacing internal doors, like for like and do not currently have any fire doors, then no, standard doors are fine.
There is nothing to say that you cannot have fire doors, if you wish, as many would prefer to take the extra safety measure to protect their family and home. However, before doing so, consider and check the following:
- If you are planning to use the existing door frames, check whether a fire door will fit. FD30 fire doors are usually 44mm thick, compared to a standard door thickness of 35mm. Sometimes it is possible to amend the frame to fit the fire door but be sure to check the doors’ fire test evidence, as quite often they specify the requirement for larger frame sections. Confusing I know, so ask an experienced joiner for advice, as you may need to budget for the complete replacement of your door frames.
- A fire door will not perform in the event of a fire unless it has been fitted correctly. We strongly advise using an experienced joiner who knows how to fit a fire door. Each fire door will have test evidence that stipulates the type and density of door frame, the correct intumescent strips and ironmongery (handles, hinges etc.) that should be used. Without following these recommendations, there is no guarantee that your fire door will last 30 minutes. Also, remember to close your doors before leaving the house and when going to bed. Leaving fire doors open, really defeats the object!
So, fitting fire doors in your home is not as straight forward as it might seem but by using the expertise of your Architect and/or Joiner, you should be in safe hands. More key fire door facts are available in our Fire Door Section.