The Differences Between Non-Fire and Fire-Rated Exit Devices
Devices which are not fire-rated cannot be installed on fire doors. They are usually made with less expensive, more flammable materials, and are best suited for exterior doors and doors which don’t have to maintain fire integrity. Non labeled devices are equipped with the capability of ‘dogging’ the latch back in the unlocked position.
Fire-rated exit devices, on the other hand, are constructed of flame resistant materials. They are composed of metals and other materials which will not melt or break under extreme heat for at least 1-3 hours. All components, including screws, must be heat and flame resistant. These devices are not equipped with the dogging function, as they are required to be closed and latched at all times when closed.
*ALL FIRE LABELLED DOORS REQUIRE FIRE LABELLED HARDWARE*
Basic Door Requirements:
- A fire door must have a label attached.
- A fire door frame must have either an attached or an embossed label.
- A fire door must be self-latching.
- A fire door must be self-closing.
- If a fire door is held open, it must be equipped with a listed heat responsive device, fusible link or a smoke detection device.
- A fire door must be free of any obstructions which could prevent the door from operating properly, i.e. wedge door stops, chains, hookbacks, etc.
- Only listed fire door hardware shall be used.
- A fire door must have steel bearing-type hinges. (Exception: Non-bearing plain steel hinges may be used if they are part of a listed assembly.)
- Door swinging in pair that require astragals shall have at least one over lapping astragal Pairs of doors within a means of egress shall not be equipped with an astragal that inhibits the free use of either leaf. A coordinator or open-back strike should be used to ensure proper closing.
- Fire doors with glass lights:
- The glass frame and glazing bead must be metal.
- The glass must be labeled wire glass not less than ¼” thick or as permitted by the labeling agency.
[Reference: Steel Door Institute (http://www.steeldoor.org)]