What Materials Are Fire Doors Made From?
Fire doors may be constructed from a range of components, from glass to wood to metal sheeting. Let’s take a closer look at what materials fire doors are made from.
Modern fire doors are built from multiple components – some more than others. Depending on their application, a range of materials can be used, the most important thing is that they are vigorously tested in accordance with the Building Code of Australia (i.e. AS1530.4) to achieve their fire rating. You can read more about this process here.
Let’s take a look at some of the materials you will commonly find in the construction of fire doors.
Vermiculite & E-core
In past times, fire doors were heavy, difficult to construct and often made from unsafe materials, such as fibre-cement and asbestos. E-Core® doors were developed in response to these problems. They consist of a single-piece internal core that has been constructed of vermiculite, which is a naturally occurring ore known for its insulating properties. E-Core doors do not contain any harmful materials.
Vermiculite is a hydrous phyllosilicate mineral. It is light, inert, and organic and makes for excellent insulation. Exfoliated vermiculite retains moisture very efficiently, and in the event of a fire this moisture turns to steam which has a cooling effect on the door and door frame. It also expands into worm-like strands when heated (a process called exfoliation), which impedes combustion and delays the spread of fire. It also has excellent soundproofing qualities and is commonly used in acoustic doors.
Metal sheeting is used in door construction for a variety of reasons, ranging from hygiene to safety. The two most common materials used to create metal sheeting in doors are steel and aluminium:
• Aluminium metal sheeting is ideal for doors that need to be more lightweight or that have hygiene requirements; it is also great for external doors that need to provide weather protection.
• Steel is generally stronger than aluminium, and is more sturdy and durable. It’s also ideal for fire protection.
Glass fire doors are bold and smooth and are becoming increasingly common in commerical, industrial and residential spaces. By adding fire rated glazing to doors, they can retain their aesthetic qualities while adhering to the fire regulations set out by the Building Code of Australia.
However, glass that isn’t fire rated can pose a risk in the event of a fire as it is susceptible to explosion in very high heat. Therefore, it is important to ensure that all fire protection products (not just doors but walls, panels and windows) are glazed.
A veneer is a flat, thin piece of wood – usually no thicker than 6mm – that is used to cover a door, giving it a unique look and finish that usually resembles wood or timber. There are multiple types of decorative wood veneers to choose from. These include:
Wood colours – These can add an air of warmth or elegance to a space. You can choose veneers that resemble lighter woods like oak, maple or birch, or veneers made from darker woods, like walnut or mahogany.
Grain patterns – It’s also possible to choose the wood ‘type’ or grain pattern of the veneer to help you achieve a specific look. Different grains are produced by cutting and splicing the wood in different ways. Common grains/cuts include: plain, crown, quarter sliced, rotary, rift, birds-eye and quilted.
Veneer Finishes – Wood veneers can also be sanded, lacquered, stained, glazed or even painted to help you achieve your desired door appearance.
Other Core Types
• Honeycombed Core – This is where a honeycomb structure made from metal, cardboard or a variety of other materials is used in the core of the door. It enables the door to be lighter, stronger and have better fire resistance, while also improving insulation and sound proofing
• Steel Stiffened Core – This approach involves using lengths of steel to reinforce the core of the door. Steel stiffened cores add a significant amount of strength to a door, as well as improve its qualities of sound absorption, fire resistance and insulation
• Polystyrene Core – This involves inserting a polystyrene fill into the core of the door and is often used in conjunction with steel stiffeners. Polystyrene offers a wide variety of benefits such being light weight, absorbing sound, providing effective insulation and withstanding high temperatures (if treated).
For further information on fire doors in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or any other destination across Australia, contact FSE Special Purpose Doors at [email protected] or +61 2 9905 8222.