What is a Fire Door and What Part Does it Play in Fire Protection?

The fire door is a success story! Why? Because they’re now part and parcel of the work landscape, and – when professionally installed and maintained – they save lives in the event of fire. Over the past few years though, their success has been somewhat tarnished by the fact that 76% of fire doors were found to be ‘not fit for purpose’. Inspectors stated that their biggest concern was the lack of knowledge people had about the function and purpose of fire doors.

This blog aims to put that right! The Wallace Fire Protection team has come up with a concise guide to the question: What is a Fire Door?


What is a Fire Door and What Does It Do?

A fire door helps to stop the spread of fire through the building. This keeps evacuation routes clear allowing building occupants to leave safely. Passive fire protection creates containment compartments within buildings. If a fire occurs, it will be contained by integrated fire protection barriers in the walls, ceilings, and floors. Fire doors are part of a building’s fire containment strategy.

How Does a Fire Door Work?

A fire door is made of a variety of materials including timber, steel, aluminium, glass, and gypsum. These will withstand fire for a specific period of time, between 20 minutes and 2 hours. Intumescent strips are placed around the edges of the door. If there is a fire, these will expand to fill the gap and seal the room. This stops smoke or toxic fumes from escaping.

Are Fire Doors a Legal Requirement?

Fire doors are a legal requirement in workplaces, public buildings, commercial locations, residential apartment blocks and shared houses. Guidance on fire doors can be found in the Building Regulations Part B, Vols 1&2. The location of fire doors, and the rating required is subject to a Fire Risk Assessment which is carried out by a fire protection professional.

Is It OK To Leave a Fire Door Open?

You would expect the answer to be a stern ‘NO’, but life’s not that simple. In some cases, it’s important that fire doors can be left open to allow people carrying goods through them. What is illegal, in this instance, is wedging the door open. Instead, you should use a specialist device that keeps the door open but, in the event of a fire, will close it automatically.

Can Fire Doors Be Painted?

You can certainly paint fire doors, and the good news is you don’t need a specialist product. Just two notes of caution; take care not to paint over the hinges or seals of your fire door and, if your stripping old paint, don’t use heat or chemical paint strippers.


Working With Wallace Fire Protection

Wallace Fire Protection is an established UK contractor providing passive fire protection design and installation. We’re one of 6 UK companies that is a licensed and approved Promat DURASTEEL® installer. The Wallace PFP team regularly works in high risk environments providing blast resistant walls and ceilingshigh impact wallsfire barriers and fire/security rated doorsets.


Wallace Fire Protection installs fire rated doorsets for a range of sectors including private rental, power stations, transport infrastructure and pharma labs. For more info call 01908 109045