Do Fire Doors Need Specific Hinges?

When it comes to fire door design, every detail matters. Any vulnerability in its defence can lead to the failure of the door, so even the hinges are important. In this article, we explain how to make sure your fire door hinges are safe, efficient, and compliant.

What Are Fire Doors?

Fire doors are specially designed to prevent the spread of smoke and flames. To do this, they have a variety of unique features. Fire doors are made from a blend of heat-resistant materials such as glass, gypsum, metal, and vermiculite, and feature intumescent seals that swell to create an air-tight barrier in the event of a fire. Any additional components of the door – such as letterboxes, door handles, glass panels, or hinges – also need to be heat resistant.

What’s Different About Fire Door Hinges?

Normal door hinges are usually made from aluminium or nylon. While great for everyday use, these materials have melting points that may not be able to withstand the temperature of a fire. Fire door hinges are therefore usually made from metals such as very pure Grade 304/316 stainless steel, which can tolerate temperatures above 800oC. Hinges made from brass or phosphor bronze are also widely used, and the choice depends upon factors such as frequency of use, the weight of the door, and the environment.

Are There Any Additional Rules Regarding Fire Door Hinges?

As part of a complex mechanical system, there are several considerations regarding fire door hinges. These primarily relate to their placement, spacing, positioning, and number. For instance, unlike many ‘ordinary’ doors, it is important to have a minimum of three hinges on a fire door. The main reasons for these additional considerations are to ensure that the shape of the door keeps its structural integrity – and therefore its fire-resistance – and to prevent unplanned wear and tear. Additionally, in the event of a fire the intumescent seals swell, placing additional pressure on both the door and its hinges, so the design is engineered to absorb the necessary forces.

How Do I Know If My Fire Door Hinges Are Safe?

At Mila Maintenance, we’ve seen lots of perfectly decent fire doors that would fail in a fire simply due to the hinges. Often, the problem is positioning and placement, although we’ve also seen fire doors fitted with hinges that would melt within minutes of a fire starting. It’s not worth the risk to the safety of the occupants, and with the recent Building Safety Bill, property owners are being held to increasing levels of responsibility. As such, it is strongly recommended that all residential and commercial property owners opt for BM Trada certified fire-door installation.

How Can Mila Maintenance Help?

The fully BM Trada accredited team at Mila Maintenance can inspect, repair, replace, and install fire doors that have been tested to comply with the highest international standards. Our thorough approach ensures that the wrong type of hinge, or a misplaced centimetre, won’t lead to a tragedy. Get in touch to find out more.

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