Poyntell Home
Poyntell Home

How long does a Fire Door last?

Date: 22/05/2023 | Format: Article | Read: 7 mins

how long does a fire door last?

In this article, we will cover how long a Fire Door should last in terms of fire protection.

If you are wondering how long a Fire Door will last in terms of maintenance,  then it’s best to visit our article Fire Door inspection frequency.


How long should a Fire Door’s fire protection last?

The specification, of how long each Fire Door should last, will be stated in the Fire Risk Assessment (FRA).

Each Fire Door, according to UK law, should then conform to those standards (e.g. 30, 60, 120, 240 minutes) throughout the full lifecycle of the door.

Whilst anyone can build a door to those British Standards, most manufacturers will seek out independent 3rd party certifying bodies (such as Q-Mark) to ensure those standards are kept. This along with 3rd party-certified maintenance, ensures the door stays compliant throughout the life cycle of the door.

All too often we see doors fitted as Fire Doors, but not maintained as Fire Doors, therefore voiding their stated time of protection.

This 3rd party certification also provides a level of quality and assurance for the client, hence most commercial buildings will specifically require 3rd party certification to be completed, for the manufacturing, installation and maintenance of Fire Doors.

The next sections of this article will explore the different aspects of Fire Doors, and how they could affect you, as a building owner / manager.


In this article, we will cover:

  1. Fire Door Primary Functions
  2. Fire Risk Assessments (FRA)
  3. Fire Door ratings
    1. Timings
    2. FD30 vs FD30s – Smoke Seals
  4. Multi-operational standards
  5. Registered Architectural Ironmongers / Fire Door Specialists

Fire Door Primary Functions

The primary function of a Fire Door

The primary function of a Fire Door is to reduce the spread of heat, smoke and fire throughout a building.

Fire Doors work in collaboration with other passive fire-stopping systems, such as Emergency Exits and Fire Stopping in the walls, to compartment buildings.

This ensures safe egress for people in the event of an emergency, fire or otherwise.

Some areas may have higher fire risk levels and thus may require protection for longer periods of time. An example could be server cupboards.

Fire Risk Assessments (FRA)

An up-to-date FRA is a legal requirement for anyone who is responsible for a commercial building!

The FRA helps identify where risks could be, and how to manage that risk accordingly (Fire Doors for example). This normally contains a diagram of the building, with clear markings as to where all the doors are, the emergency routes and anything relating to safety systems, such as extinguishers.

Part of this documentation, also includes the minimum requirements for the internal fire rated doors.

If there has been a fire, and you haven’t met your legal duties, then fines or even prison sentences can be put in place.

Read more about FRAs from the London Fire Brigade

Fire Door Ratings

What are Fire Doors?

Resisting Times

The most common fire-resistant times are FD30, FD60, FD120 and FD240.

The ‘FD’ represents the fact that it’s a Fire Door, and the ‘30’ represents the minimum minutes it’s meant to hold fire from entering one environment to another.

This fire rating should be applicable to the whole doorset, and any hardware on the door. Examples of hardware includes hinges, closers, handles, automation, locking, frame and architraves.

Whilst the doors fire rating, is only applicable to the doorset, it’s also worth checking that other hardware is up to standards e.g. the fire stopping in the walls. The passive fire system is only as good as it’s weakest link.

FD30 vs FD30s – Smoke Seals

What are Fire Doors?

Some may recognise the ‘s’ at the end of the ratings. This reflects the additional legal requirement of smoke seals.

Fire Doors without smoke protection, are only fitted with Intumescent Seals. These seals expand with heat, therefore sealing the door. If there is no heat, they don’t expand, therefore still allowing smoke to penetrate the door gaps.

Smoke seals reduce the chances of smoke entering from one environment to another, without the presence of heat. These often come in the form of fins or bristles.

Smoke has been identified as a major killer in the event of a fire, as smoke spreads much quicker than fire. Smoke often  incapacitates users, therefore preventing them from leaving the building safely. This is especially important to note, when toxic materials are present.

It is worth noting, however, that these do not need to be fitted if the door is not specified to do so. Belt and braces are rarely beneficial for all, hence attention to detail in the FRA is imperative.


Benefits to other seal types

Whilst smoke seals are a legal requirement, they can be specified to have additional functionality.

Examples of additional seal functionality:

  • Acoustic seals – Reduces noise from one environment to another, to varying degrees.
  • Smells – Reducing airflow, also reduces the chances of smells exchanging from one environment to another.
  • Reduced airflow – Reducing energy bills and containing potential airborne contaminants.


More details on Fire Door smoke seals can be found in our article Fire Door seals - 7 common problems

Timber vs Metal Fire Doors

Timber vs Metal Fire Doors

The vast majority of Fire Doors in the UK are made from Timber!

That being said, most of these doors are made from multiple timber products. The finish is normally a laminate, veneer or RAL finish. This ensure the doors remains rigid, regardless of the material being used, and also keeps the costs down.

Visual examples of Fire Doors can be found here:


Ratings of Timber vs Metal Fire doors

Whilst the finish and style of either door can be the same, generally speaking, timber Fire Doors do not exceed 60mins (FD60 / FD60s), and most metal doors will start from 120mins (FD120 / FD120s).

Multi-operational standards

In some situations, Fire Doors will need not only comply to fire safety standards, but also to other operational requirements.

Not all standards have legal implications, however it may be worth considering the following, when looking at the door(s) in mention:

  • Automation of the door – Any automation is legally regulated, as there is risk of harm from powered devices. Considerations include sensors and protected areas, where the door retracts to.

    Heavy metal doors are often powered by hydraulic motors, therefore creating safety hazards.
  • Security door standards – Whilst not a legal requirement, the risk assessment of the building may dictate a minimum level of security for that door, which may form as part of the health and safety of the building as a whole.
  • Access control & Locking – Various hardware could be applied to the door, therefore the correct specification of that access control or locking should comply with the British Standards associated.
  • Equality (DDA) – Where appropriate, to provide accessibility to anyone, additional hardware may be required to make it fit for purpose. These doors could be implemented anywhere in the building, however, are most seen in bathrooms.

Registered Architectural Ironmongers / Fire Door Specialists

With the above in mind, when it comes to specifying a Fire Door correctly, all the elements of the door, and where it is situated needs to be considered. This specification, and the maintenance schedule, ultimately dictates how long a Fire Door will last!


POYNTELL are in a unique position in the South East of England, as the service we offer covers all aspects of commercial door installation and maintenance, including Fire Doors.


We are a driving force in London + SE for commercial door services,  and have a plethora of certifications, including Automation (ADIA), Fire Doors (Q-Mark), Fire Stopping (Q-Mark) and other internationally recognised certifications.

Looking for certified fire door specialist?