7 Common Faults That Lead to Fire Door Failure

7 Common Faults That Lead to Fire Door Failure

Fire Door test shows just how quickly doors will fail if incorrectly specified and installed

As part of Fire Door Safety Week (25 September – 1 October), the BWF-Certifire Scheme has released a dramatic video of a fire door burn test.

The video compares two almost identical fire doors with the same fire rating – FD30, meaning the door should provide at least 30 minutes of protection. This is the most common integrity rating for UK fire doors.

The video shows the incorrectly specified fire door failing long before the 30 minutes it should last, highlighting the importance of correct fire door installation and maintenance. Without the protection of intumescent interlayer and intumescent seals, the faulty door allows smoke to pour through the gaps after just four and a half minutes.


Don't make the same mistakes...

One door is correctly specified and installed, but the other has a series of faults which are frequently identified in social housing:

  • The door is secured with only two, non-fire rated, standard hinges (For a standard height fire door, a minimum of three hinges should be installed to prevent the door from warping in a fire).
  • There are excessive gaps between the side of the door and the frame. (The gaps around the door should be less than 4mm once the door is shut).
  • Intumescent and smoke seals are missing. (These are vital to the fire door’s performance as they fill the gap between the door and frame when the door is closed).
  • The door has a non-fire rated letter plate. (Letter plates must be suitable for use on the specific fire door and detailed on the fire door certificate as a compatible component. Letter plates must also be fitted in the correct location within the fire door leaf and fitted with the correct intumescent protection and fixings).
  • The air transfer grille does not have an intumescent block fitted inside.
  • Intumescent edge protection is missing around the glazing bead.
  • A non-fire rated panel was installed above the door.

5 Things to Check for Fire Door Safety


Here at Toolfix we can supply a range of Fire Door Essentials to ensure your doors are correctly specified;

Door Closers

63% stated the most common fault was the Fire Door not closing properly.

Our door closers from Rutland Hardware are well known for their high efficiency, quality and reliability. They have also been fire tested for 30, 60 and 120 minutes on timber doorsets, and 240 minutes on metal doorsets to meet BS EN 1634-1:2008 - Fire resistance and smoke control tests for door, shutter and, openable window assemblies and elements of building hardware.

Check that the closer shuts the door onto the latch from any position – check from 75mm from the closed position - A fire door only works when it’s closed.

Door Seals

61% of fire doors inspected had fire or smoke seals missing or had been installed incorrectly.

Our intumescent smoke and fire seals are made up from a graphite base within a PVC sleeve. Designed to fit into the rebate of the door, the fire seal expands in the event of a fire, to seal the gap around the door, providing a safe and effective barrier. In instances that also require a smoke seal, we can also supply fire seals that combine a 6mm nylon pile. Our 10-15mm seals are tested for 30min and 20mm seals tested for 60min to BS 476 part 22 & 31.1.

Check the gap around the door frame is constant and around 3 to 4 mm. Ensure seals are fitted at the top and sides of the door.

Ironmongery & Hardware

Not all components are created equally, check for correct labelling and certification.

Every fire door can only be tested and certificated with all its components in place. They should be third-party certificated to ensure correct performance. We can supply fire door and panic furniture from a number of manufacturers to suit your project. From Briton panic hardware to Nu Mail sleeved letterplates we can supply all of the critical components that are needed to complete a regulatory Fire Door.

All ironmongery such as locks, latches, closers & hinges, MUST BE CE Marked & compatible with the door leaf’s certification - Look for a label or similar marking to show that it’s certified.


Almost 1 in 5 Fire Doors had unsuitable hinges.

We are able to supply a wide range of fire tested hinges from stock, all with correct identification and testing from the manufacturer. Even our bestselling Ball Bearing Hinges are fire tested to BS EN 1634-1:2000 suitable for 30-60 minute timber doorsets. Remember, standard height fire doors should have a minimum of three hinges to prevent the door from warping in the event of a fire, and always use intumescent hinge plates for maximum effectiveness.

Check that CE Marked hinges are firmly fixed with no missing screws and that hinges, are CE marked & compatible with the door leaf’s certification


1 out of 3 Fire Doors had incorrect signage displayed.

Incorrect signage is a very common fault. However here at Toolfix, we can provide a wide range of suitable signs so that your Fire Doors meet all industry regulations. Find out more in our Safety Catalogue.

Check that correct signage is fitted in the correct location on the fire door leaf – eg) Fire Door Keep Shut

Find out more about Fire Door Safety Week and how to get involved at firedoorsafetyweek.co.uk

*677 doors were inspected at 31 sites and 2506 faults were identified | pdf

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