When Do You Need Fire Rated Doors?

Written by ETO Doors.

The threat of a fire is a dangerous condition that owners of commercial and public buildings need to mitigate. Along with the potential for lawsuits if deaths or injuries occur because of a fire, federal regulations mandate steps that need to be taken to create a safe environment. This is especially true for rooms where the potential for a fire is heightened.

Installing fire doors is one method of protecting people and property in case a fire breaks out in one room of a building. A fire door is part of a passive fire protection system that is meant to isolate a fire in one area and keep it from spreading. Door manufacturers rate their fire doors based on how long they can withstand basic fire protection tests. A door that can withstand the heat longer offers the greater amount of isolation.

Are you unsure if you need to install fire rated doors in your commercial building? Here are a few tips for smart deployment of fire doors in your establishment:

When Are Fire-Rated Doors Needed?

According to US federal regulations, you must have a fire-rated door installed in the following circumstances:

  • Any time there is a door with an “Exit” sign over it or around it.
  • Doors that lead to hazardous areas where potentially flammable or explosive materials are being housed.
  • Doors that lead to horizontal exits or exit stairwells.
  • In most cases, in any situation, in a situation where a door connects two fully enclosed rooms or where a door leads directly to a hallway.

What is a Proper Fire Door?

In order to be considered an acceptable fire door, it must be tested and certified by a leading independent agency (such as UL). The doors must carry this certification label to let customers know that it is suitable for fire door purposes. In addition, fire doors should only be held open by a system that will automatically release and shut the door if a fire alarm is activated. One example would be an electromagnetic door closing device. Using wire, rope or any other implement to hold open a door means that it is not a proper fire rated door.

Considerations When Installing a Fire Door

It’s important to avoid taping over a fire door’s latches when it is closed. Some people will do this out of the convenience of not wanting to have the door accidentally shut. However, this can create a dangerous situation in case of a fire, as rising gasses can create pressure that will blow the doors open.


ETO Doors is one of the leading retailers of residential and commercial doors in the United States. It is headquartered in Los Angeles with showrooms in New York and Las Vegas.