Differences Between Normal Doors and Fire Doors

When it comes to commercial doors, building owners have a healthy variety of choices to choose from. While most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about doors until the time comes where they’re needed, the reality is that there’s a surprising wealth of options that you can get for your building. There are different opening/closing mechanisms, lock styles, materials, etc.

However, one thing that’s constant among every building and business is a commercial fire door. Anyone who ever needs to shop for commercial doors will eventually face the inevitability of picking up a fire door, because having at least one is mandated by law.

So, that being said, what’s all the fuss about with fire doors anyway? What makes them so special that you’re required by law to have them? In this post, we’ll break down some of the differences between fire doors and normal doors.

Fire Doors Let Nothing Through the Cracks

In the Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf famously told the fiery Balrog, “You shall not pass!” So too says your fire door to encroaching flames—it should be designed so that it completely seals when it closes, letting nothing pass.

Regardless of where a commercial fire door is installed, one of its primary objectives is to keep the fire out. To do this, fire doors use a special mechanism called an intumescent seal, a special strip that’s designed to expand when temperatures get high; this seals off any cracks that aren’t already covered and prevents smoke and flame from penetrating. If your door has peculiar strips, either on the door or the frame (or both) you’re probably looking at a fire door.

Fire Doors Have Thick Glass

This point doesn’t apply to every commercial fire door, because some are in fact designed without windows. But for those doors that do feature a glass pane, one giveaway of a fire door is that the glass should be extra thick. The law mandates that the glass in any fire door should be at least ¼ inch in thickness.

When it comes to glass, another sign of a fire door is wired glass. You’ve probably seen it before—glass windows on doors that have a wire mesh inside. This variety of glass is particularly fire-resistant, making it a popular choice for commercial fire doors.

Fire Doors Close Automatically

Because fire doors are meant to keep things out (or in) it’s not really logical for them to be designed in such a way to where they can continually be left open. A good fire door will always be equipped with a mechanism that allows it to close on itself; a fire door should never be able to be left open unless there’s some kind of method that’s actively blocking it from closing (such as a chair holding it open). Normal doors don’t have this need, because they’re not built with the expectation in mind that the room they’re guarding could suddenly and spontaneously be host to a dangerous threat.

Fire Doors are Labeled

When you buy a fire door from Commercial Door Services in Houston, you’ll see a handy label that has all the information you need to know. We make sure that every door is up to standards with the current health and safety laws, and there’s nothing we want more than for you to be well-protected in the case of an unexpected disaster. If you’re in need of a commercial fire door, or any other door to suit your needs, contact us today!