How to Fire Proof Your Existing Heritage Doors

Many heritage buildings in Australia were constructed before the writing and implementation of Australian building codes. As a result, many of today’s heritage buildings must be upgraded to meet the current fire resistant ratings set by the BCA (AS1530.4). We take a look at how to fire proof your existing heritage doors.

Challenges in Fire Proofing Heritage Buildings

The main challenge for many architects and builders is to both ensure the building and its doors are fire proofed, and that the building’s features and historical significance are not damaged or changed substantially in the upgrade.

When working with builders and suppliers, it is essential that they have prior experience upgrading heritage buildings, with the necessary skills to carry out the fire proofing, yet without harming the period features.

Fire Proof Your Existing Heritage Doors

Upgrading your heritage doors is essential for protecting the building and the lives of its occupants in the event of a fire hazard. To determine how to fire proof your heritage doors:

  • A fire assessment should be carried out to determine the fire safety and resistance of each existing door, including the door leaf, frame and hardware
  • It should be determined if the intended fire door can be dismantled and taken apart so that concealed adjustments and proofing can be carried out
  • Assessors should also decide whether the door hardware requires upgrading and replacing to meet the standard requirements
  • If the door leaf is thin or the edges are thin, consider whether protective materials, like intumescent coatings, could also be used to provide insulation; intumescent coatings are most commonly used on timber or panelled doors
  • Intumescent smoke seals may also be used around the edges of the door leaf to prevent damage to the building
  • If glass is present in the door, it should be determined whether glazing can provide additional fire proofing protection (read on about glass fire doors).

fire proof your existing heritage doors

Replacing Heritage Doors Altogether

In some circumstances, you may decide to replace the doors in a heritage building altogether to achieve the compulsory level of fire safety. This may be a good solution if the appropriate replica heritage doors can be manufactured.

However, this solution should only be considered if the building integrity and aesthetic will not suffer significantly. Upgrading of existing doors or implementing other fire proofing systems throughout the building (see below) may be more ideal in the first instance.

Upgrading Hardware

Fire proofing heritage doors may also require the door hardware to be replaced. In these circumstances, heritage-style hardware can be purchased to ensure the upgrade maintains the existing design and period of the door.

If needed, other hardware, like magnetic door holders, releases and security latches, can also be used in the upgrade and incorporated into the design.

Other Fire Proofing Methods

When it comes to heritage buildings, it can sometimes be more important to achieve an overall fire resistant rating for the building, as opposed to just one particular door (or doors).

If you’re looking to fire proof your existing heritage doors, contact FSE Special Purpose Doors on 1300 4 DOORS.