A Short Guide to Safer Doors

Fire Door
Fire Door

Door-making is an important profession – you can just “walk straight into it.” It takes a certain skill 🙂 After all, the door is one of the main elements that form the first impressions of a house. Brits have been quite adventurous with their door designs – especially when it comes to vibrant colours and period features. But there’s another dimension to the mundane openings in our walls that we usually take for granted anyway – safety.

The door may look good but there are situations when the substance matters more than the superficial. Impact-resistant doors feature rounded stiles that are able to sustain high pressure. With the crime rates going down in many places of the country, people are rarely thinking about reinforcements. Nevertheless a good proportion of burglaries involve brute force, hence many people choose the exterior doors to be impact-resistant. In most cases, these doors will look just like any other example – the only difference being the construction of the frame, the materials and heavy-duty hardware.

Resistant to Fire

They may take care of your possessions, but there’s another type of doors that saves people’s lives. We’re talking about fire door. The purpose of these is to detain the fire and prevent it from spreading. It’s the materials used that make all the difference. Moulded ones are the most affordable, such as the internal fire doors available from oakwood doors. They look just like any internal door but the otherwise hollow internal structure is filled with a heat-resistant material. In most cases this is gypsum. To make sure the heat and smoke cannot escape, neoprene seals are used around the perimeter. In order to comply with the British Standards, these products should be able to resist the fire for at least 30 minutes, which in most cases is more than enough for the fire-fighters to arrive. The high-end products can keep the heat in for as much as 90 minutes.

For a fire door to work, it obviously has to be in shut position. In business environment this is regulated by the person responsible for fire safety. At home this is not that easy. You could, of course, assign responsibility to your spouse or kids, but let’s be honest – that wouldn’t work too well. Doors are more often kept wide open. To add an extra safety layer to your internal fire doors, you can enhance it with a “smart” magnet system. Magnets are screwed to the wall adjacent to the door and they will hold the door open during normal operation. They’re interconnected with the fire alarm system and when it goes off, the magnets release the doors and they close automatically. This is both sophisticated and rather expensive – but in the nearest future this ancillary fire safety system will be an integral part of a “smart home”.

If you’re looking to update the doors in your house, make sure you buy at least one set of internal fire doors – the most obvious place to install it is the kitchen, however, in an ideal situation, each internal opening would have fire-safety built in.

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