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Let’s Talk About Fire Doors

Fire Doors have been evolving since the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York during 1911. NFPA-80 (Standard for Fire Doors) gets an update every 3 years and with each edition we see stricter and stricter requirements for Fire Doors. In the 2013 edition, the code calls for all Fire Doors to be inspected yearly by a Certified Person and to maintain records.  In future editions of NFPA-80, I think it is safe to say that the qualifications for this “Certified Person” will be defined more narrowly. So for today’s talk I thought it might be interesting to see what can and cannot be done to a Fire Door in the field.
  1. Only holes 1″ or smaller (like screw holes) can be drilled in the field.
  2. All fasteners, screws, through bolts must be steel based.
  3. No cutting of lite kits; nor major modification of the door in the field.
  4. All hinge shims must be steel. (No paper shims)
  5. On single doors, 1/8″ clearance around the sides and top of the door. 3/4″ max at the threshold.  For pairs, 1/8″ in-between doors.
  6. Any miscellaneous holes need to be filled with either steel screws or Fire Door caulking.
  7. For excessive gaps, there is tape made of a graphite compound.
We are already seeing hospitals inspecting Fire Doors annually as part of the requirement to qualify for Medicare payments.
If you run upon a situation where you are unsure if you can reuse a door or if you need to order a new door, just call us. We will try to help.