5 Fundamentals to Assess Fire Door Efficiency

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5 Fundamentals to Assess Fire Door Efficiency



If you are working in an office or restaurant, living in accommodation such as an apartment or student halls, or even just visiting a hotel, and suspect there could be faults with the building’s fire doors, you may want to run a check on their efficiency.

To maximise the safety of you and those around you, we’ve listed 5 essentials to look for, that you can use to highlight any issues to a fully trained and capable fire expert. In no particular order:

Door hinges:

There should be at least 3 fully fire rated hinges fixed to the correct place without any parts missing. This is important because during a blaze, the door will come under pressure; so the hinge works with the intumescent seal, and the lock or latch to maintain its position.

You can check this by opening the door and looking at the hinges.

Does it close properly?

Some fire doors close slower than others. This is likely due to the closer at the top of the frame and threshold and the hinges. There is an issue if the door doesn’t completely close. If it doesn’t the purpose of the door at blocking fires becomes useless. It’s also important to note that fire doors should never be wedged open.

You can check this by allowing the door to close by itself from halfway and seeing if the door leaf meets the threshold equally and completely.

Fire certificate:

Fire door certificates should include:

  • Fire Certification Number
  • Name of manufacturer
  • Phone number of manufacturer
  • Fire door rating

Identification labels are often placed on the side of the door leaf where the lock or latch is present. In some cases they could be on the top of the door leaf, in which case you may need to investigate using a mirror.


All the gaps around the side and top edges of the door should be approximately 3mm from the frame threshold. Upon closure, the fire and smoke seals should completely fill that gap so there is no room for air to escape. You should be unable to see light emitting from the perimeter of the door leaf when closed with the exception perhaps at the bottom which could have up to a 10mm gap if not fitted with a dropseal.

This can be checked by using a £1 coin around the side and top gaps as these are around 3mm thick.

Fire and Smoke Seals:

There should be an intumescent seal and a smoke seal around the door or the frame of the door. Any damaged seals should be reinstalled back onto the door/frame.

Intumescent seals expand when hot smoke and fire activate the intumescent, thus filling the gap in-between the door and threshold. Cold smoke seals stall the spread of cold smoke from infiltrating other parts of the building. Their efficiency can be checked by seeing if they fill that gap, and that they have not been damaged.

This is simply a quick guide as an overview to the efficiency of a fire door. If you notice any major issues with any of these points in a fire door, then you should report it to the landlord or site owner as soon as possible.

For a fire rated intumescent seals and smoke seals, Noberne are industry leaders in supplying these products. Give us a call on 0113 271 3266 for more information about our fire rated products or visit our website www.noberneseals.com

Published April 2018

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