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Frequently Asked Questions

Fire Rating Requirements

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A250.8-03, SDI 118-05 Fire Rated Doors and Frames Overview
Fire Rated Doors Video
  • Are closer covers required for annual fire door inspection?

This varies by manufacturer, but typically the closer cover is for cosmetic purposes only and is not required in order to maintain the listing of the product. One exception could be if the label indicating a listing for use on fire doors is attached to the cover rather than to the closer body or arm. In this case, losing the cover would result in a product without the required label.

  • Why do not all fire doors require gasketing?

This varies depending on which code has been adopted, but using the 2015 IBC as an example, gasketing is required when the requirements for a fire door assembly include the limitation of air/smoke infiltration when tested to UL 1784. If a section does not reference UL 1784, gasketing is not typically required. In the 2015 IBC, Section 716.5.3.1 - Smoke and Draft Control, falls under section 716.5.3 which addresses door assemblies in corridors and smoke barriers. Fire doors in these locations would require gasketing. Sections 716.5.4 Door Assemblies in Other Fire Partitions and 716.5.5 Doors in Interior Exit Stairways and Ramps and Exit Passageways do not reference UL 1784 and would not be required to have gasketing according to the 2015 edition.

  • Can you expand on where exactly gasketing is required?

Typically, gasketing at the head, jambs, and meeting stiles is needed for doors that are required to limit air infiltration to a specified level when tested in accordance with UL 1784. For some locations, usually related to elevators, a bottom seal is also required. In the 2015 edition of the International Building Code, references to UL 1784 can be found in section 710.5.2.2, section 716.5.3.1, and in several sections within Chapter 30. Although these code sections do not specifically mandate gasketing, the gasketing is required in order to limit the air infiltration to the level specified in the code.

  • Do the door gaskets need to have a smoke/fire rating?

Typically, all products used as a part of a fire door assembly are required to be listed, including gasketing (80-2016: 6.4.8). Thresholds are required by NFPA 80 to be noncombustible or listed (80-2016: 6.4.9). Listed gasketing materials are also available for doors that are required to limit air/smoke infiltration when tested in accordance with UL 1784. Indications of suitability for use on fire- and/or smoke-door assemblies is indicated in the gasketing manufacturers' catalogs.hout astragal) that is free swinging in both directions. To my understanding, only a single swing door (single or double) can be considered for fire-rating. And that a double door needs the services of an astragal.

  • Does the discharge exterior stairs door need to be rated?

Most exterior stair discharge doors are not required to be fire rated, but there are some circumstances where exterior walls are required to be rated and for those locations, fire door assemblies would be required.

  • Your fire rated course notes that a firepin is typically required in a LBR application. When is a firepin not required on a fire rated door LBR assembly?

The ability to omit the fusible fire pin on a LBR assembly depends on the listing of the hardware as well since Listed fire exit hardware and flush or automatic bolts often require the use of the pin to maintain the fire rating of the door assembly. For steel doors, the pin and its use is a function of the hardware listing much more often than the doors on their own.

  • We have a client that needs a fire rated double door (without astragal) that is free swinging in both directions. To my understanding, only a single swing door (single or double) can be considered for fire-rating. And that a double door needs the services of an astragal.

    Can a fire-rated floor closer be used for such a requirement? If so, can the doors still be considered as fire-rated doors?

Fire-rated doors may be listed for single swing, standard pairs (both leaves swinging in same direction), or double egress pairs (one leaf swings one direction, and the other leaf swings the opposite direction).  The manufacturer’s listing will state if an astragal is required, as not all doors require the use of one.

However, we are not aware of any fire listing on a pair of doors that is free swinging in both directions–with or without astragal.

  • Is it possible to have a 3-hour fire rated door with a plastic laminate or FRP skin?

We are not aware of any 3-hour fire rated FRP doors. Any type of laminate that is attached to a fire door must be done so in accordance with the manufacturer’s labeling procedures.

  • Can we keep the existing doorframe and replace the door and transom with a steel door and steel transom? Can the transom be 1-hour rated?

The door, frame and transom must all be compatible and rated by the testing agency.

Simply installing a rated door into an existing frame may not allow for the rating to be maintained. If the frame, door or transom is modified and the manufacturer’s installation requirements are not followed the rating is not valid.

  • Is there an exception or modification to the rule of using deadbolts in addition to latches on fire entry doors to single dwelling units?

We are not aware of any exception or modification to this rule. You may wish to check with the AHJ in your area. You are correctly quoting the provisions contained in SDI 118, which is taken from the requirements contained in NFPA 80.

  • 15.5 Section 714.2.3 (2000 IBC) requires fire doors to be tested for smoke- and draft-control in accordance with UL 1784 with an artificial bottom seal. Is an artificial bottom seal required as part of the final installation of a fire door?

No. The artificial bottom seal is a component of the UL 1784 testing protocol and is not a requirement of the final door installation.

The UL 1784 test standard states, “In order to obtain information on the extent of air leakage at the ungasketed bottom gap of a test sample, an artificial seal may be applied to the bottom 6 inches (152.4 mm) of the test sample. The artificial seal may be any material, such as an impermeable sheet or tape.”  By testing air infiltration with the artificial bottom seal in place, any air that would have passed through the bottom 6 inches of the door opening is not considered, so leakage at the balance of the perimeter can be accurately measured.

  • What are the basic hardware requirements for fire door assemblies?

They must have a minimum number of approved hinges, a listed and labeled self-latching device and a labeled self or automatic-closing device.

  • Do I need to use intumescent sealants for fire rated steel doors?

Generally speaking, no, but the requirement is a function of the individual manufacturer's listing. Intumescent products are typically used for a smoke and fire barrier on wood doors and are activated by heat. Given the basic properties of steel (e.g. it expands when exposed to heat), sealants are typically not required on steel doors.

  • Instead of using the provided anchors, am I allowed to substitute to different anchors that I prefer working with when installing fire rated frames?  

Anchors may be substituted provide they are like-for-like anchor types and are approved to be used in fire rated applications.

  • Am I required to use fire rated caulk between the frame and wall on fire rated openings?

Reference the manufacturer’s installation instructions because it depends upon how the frame was tested and approved. Generally speaking, fire rated caulk is not required unless specified in the manufacturer’s installation instructions.