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How to Upgrade The Fire Resistance Of Doors

Ever wondered how to upgrade a normal door into a fire door, or upgrading existing doors to fire doors? Fire safety is something you should always be thinking about. Everything from internal walls and ceilings, exterior cladding, structural steel to interior doors should be considered. Avoiding fire safety measures, and the maintenance that comes along with them can result in serious accidents, fines and building regulation violations – click here to skip recommended products and to continue reading.

Fire Resistance Upgrade Products for Solid Doors

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If you are updating or beginning a new job, doors are often an area requiring attention and many authorities will request normal doors be replaced with fire doors. Installing fire doors or upgrading your current doors can help to reduce the risk in the event of a fire. It gives fire fighters more time to access any burning areas, helps to prevent the spread of fire and crucially helps keep important means of escape clear.

Most modern, normal internal doors cannot be upgraded to achieve 30 or 60 minutes Fire Resistance due to them having a hollow core, being very thin or lightweight and liable to warping shortly after installation. Doors meeting such a description cannot be upgraded and should be replaced with a new Fire Door where one is required.

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Door upgrade paints and coatings can provide up-to 60 mins fire resistance to existing solid wood/timber doors – view our store, here

IMPORTANT

Whilst we recommend the installation of custom built fire doors there can be reasons not to do so. Some properties may fall under strict planning regulations and/or are listed preventing removal or substantial change to be made to interior doors, others may have unusually large or small doors that require fire protection, in these instances the products and systems discussed below may offer a solution to help satisfy the relevant authorities involved in your project by helping to increase the fire resistance of the timber elements of a door.

Our recommendation is that both sides of the door are always protected, intumescent strips are fitted and your authority is consulted for advice on any other necessary requirements such as ironmongery, signage, glazing, etc.

A written specification should be obtained from our Technical Department for your project prior to use to ensure the proposed system will be suitable. Contact us by phone on 0113 2455450 or email [email protected], products will NOT be sold without this.

We also recommend all product data sheets, system information and any relevant test data is read, understood and forwarded to your authority for approval/comment. Information is available to download from the ‘DATASHEETS’ tab on each product page but we also suggest you speak to our Technical Department to ensure you have the most current versions and ALL relevant documentation relating to your project as information is being updated regularly due to new testing, product developments, legislation changes, etc.

Remember, intumescent paints and varnishes are just one element of protection and DO NOT create a ‘fire door’. Intumescent materials and hardware MUST also be used to ensure your doors meet the required standards of your authority.

Painted Doors

Thermoguard’s Timbercoat Door Upgrade System is an intumescent paint system available as a convenient pack containing the required basecoat and topcoat to protect 2 doors in a white or coloured Eggshell or Gloss finish. Thermoguard UK will issue a Fire Certificate for Authority approved projects following completion.

As doors vary so greatly and the great majority are unsuitable for upgrading it is neither meaningful or realistic to carry out an official NAMAS / UKAS Fire Door Fire Test. Thermoguard Timbercoat’s uniquely effective formula resulted in the UK’s only successful official UKAS / NAMAS Fire Test Laboratory Fire Resistance Test to 60 minutes on softwood with timber lost to charring restricted to 7-10mm at 60 minutes… further details HERE.

Certain systems such as allow you to over paint their system with certain conventional decorative paints to ensure continuity of colour scheme throughout the building. The doors often don’t need to be stripped before application (preparation will still be required however) and as with most products you can also request a Certificate of Supply, signed by the applicator which can be shown to your local authority if requested for verification.

Varnished Doors

If you don’t want to interrupt the natural beauty of the wood on your timber doors, on bare or previously varnished/stained doors you can use a varnish to increase the fire resistance. Thermoguard Fire Varnish Door Upgrade System works in a similar way to their coloured paint system, by increasing the fire resistance of the timber areas of the door.

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Fire resistance door upgrade coatings can look virtually invisible, to preserve natural and antique solid wood or timber doors

A clear varnish with these properties can again help to reduce hazards created by fire, such as smoke, which can be just as dangerous as a fire. By using a fire door varnish and associated hardware, you can transform and upgrade your doors at the same time. You have the choice of different finishes, depending on the look and feel of your surroundings, so you don’t need to compromise when it comes to decoration.

Check doors and frames for any gaps that may allow the fire to pass through. Gaps may be present if a door hasn’t been installed correctly or is old, which will disrupt the effectiveness of your fire door paint or varnish if not dealt with.

Additionally, contact your relevant authority / Building Control Officers to check which doors they require protecting and seeking their approval for your proposed products and course of action prior to purchase and use of these systems.

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Buy fire retardant paints for walls and ceilings here, at Rawlins

As standards vary widely throughout the UK from property to property and region to region, it is important to check your doors have been installed correctly, and meet the minimum requirements of the product you wish to use, a fire door paint or varnish may be suitable for your project but not all doors are suitable and many need to be replaced.

*This article has been updated to reflect the new range of upgrade kits for extending the fire resistance of solid wood doors – 17/10/17

24 comments

  1. A very interesting post to read. Thanks a lot for sharing this. Good Work.Keep it Up.

  2. A very interesting article! This blog will surely give the right insight and steps on how to start exactly in turning normal doors into fire doors. Indeed, nothing is more important is the safety of our family member. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hello I am trying to find a way to preserve two doors built in the 1920s that need to be fireproofed according to Canadian standards. They appear to be a lighter wood – perhaps fir. They do have windows which would be replaced with fire rated glass. I would like to know if your paint product would be applicable. Can I send a picture?

    regards
    Stephen Milne

    • Hi Stephen,

      I’m afraid we don’t currently supply materials outside of the UK, you would need a supplier that is familiar with Canadian standards.

  4. Christine Fallon

    Hello

    We have to ensure that some of the doors to flats in a converted listed building are fireproofed. Most residents are concerned with the aesthetic of the building so do not want the doors to be replaced given the buildings conservation status may not be acceptable. Could you let me know whether the paint and system would conform to current Fire safety compliance regulations? Also, can our painter and decorator carry out the works or do we need to employ a specialist.

  5. Hi, I live in a 1930’s terraced house and we have recently completed a loft conversion. We need to change or paint our first floor doors to ensure they have 30 minutes of fire resistance. Is it possible to keep our existing doors and paint them or do we need to swap them for fire doors? Many thanks.

    • Hi Jen,

      Thank you for your enquiry, please provide our technical team at [email protected] with an image of the door(s) (if possible) and as much information as possible for the below points;

      • Level of Fire Protection required? (i.e. 30min, 60min, etc.)
      • Style of door? (i.e. panelled, ledge & brace, etc.)
      • Solid or hollow core? – (please note we cannot provide anything to upgrade hollow doors)
      • Door size? (height and width)
      • Door thickness? (include thickness at thinnest point (i.e. panel))
      • Number of doors to do?
      • Clear or coloured finish required?
      • Bare or previously painted?
  6. Hi , I am based in Limerick , Ireland. Can this paint system be used here to gain a fire rating of 30 minutes. Two of the doors are hand made pine approx 2″ thick with solid panels. If so do you have a recomended distributor here, thanks

    • Thank you for your enquiry, please provide us with an image of the door(s) (if possible) and as much information as possible for the below points;

      – Level of Fire Protection required? (i.e. 30min, 60min, etc.)
      – Style of door? (i.e. panelled, ledge & brace, etc.)
      – Solid or hollow core? – (please note we cannot provide anything to upgrade hollow doors)
      – Door size? (height and width)
      – Door thickness? (include thickness at thinnest point (i.e. panel))
      – Number of doors to do?
      – Clear or coloured finish required?
      – Bare or previously painted?

  7. Hi, we live in a flat and wish to replace our front door – fire rated 30 – with a solid oak door untreated ready to treat/varnish. It’s a standard size front door, how much of your 30 minute fireproof varnish would I use and what would your cost be to send it to Liverpool, Merseyside please?

    • Hi Klaus,

      Thank you for your enquiry, please send an email to [email protected] providing us with an image of the door(s) (if possible) and as much information as possible for the below points;

      – Level of Fire Protection required? (i.e. 30min, 60min, etc.)
      – Style of door? (i.e. panelled, ledge & brace, etc.)
      – Solid or hollow core? – (please note we cannot provide anything to upgrade hollow doors)
      – Door size? (height and width)
      – Door thickness? (include thickness at thinnest point (i.e. panel))
      – Number of doors to do?
      – Clear or coloured finish required?
      – Bare or previously painted?

  8. Hi I am looking to move into a 170 year old property soon and am looking to convert the loft space into a room. I will therefore have to upgrade my doors to FD30 fire doors. The current doors are solid ledge and brace doors and I was wondering if your varnish will be able to updrade the doors to FD30 standrad so they meet building regs?

    • Hello Dave,

      Thanks for your query – for fire protection we need some more information so that we can direct you to the correct product for your project requirements; can you complete the questions below and send to our sales team at [email protected], and we’ll contact you back with how we can help:

      • Level of Fire Protection required? (i.e. 30min, 60min, etc.)
      • Style of door? (i.e. panelled, ledge & brace, etc.)
      • Solid or hollow core? – (please note we cannot provide anything to upgrade hollow doors)
      • Door size? (height and width)
      • Door thickness? (include thickness at thinnest point (i.e. panel))
      • Number of doors to do?
      • Clear or coloured finish required?
      • Bare or previously painted?
  9. Hi, we are looking to convert victorian house into a hmo. A lot of the doors are very large four panelled wooden doors. can you provide any details on how we can save these doors and not just swap them for firs doors. thanks.

  10. We have 35 mm thick panel door with glass panels. Timber panels are 10mm at the thinnest point. Doors are solid core. I replaced the glass to Georgian wire cast 7mm obscured glass thinking that this will be sufficient.
    Please advice on the possibilities to make this doors comply.
    I would appreciate your swift reply.

    • Hi Przemek,

      Thank you very much for your question. We could offer Thermoguard Timbercoat Door Upgrade System as a suitable paint application to upgrade the timber door itself. As we can’t be certain if the glass you have replaced is now classed as 30min fire rated, we could only advise that the glazing must be upgraded to fire rated glass such as Pyro Glass.

      This may be adequate for building control/local authority; however, we would advise checking on this as you may also need to upgrade the door hardware and install intumescent strips around the door to ensure compliance is met.

      I hope this helps and please feel free to get in touch with any further questions.

      Many thanks
      Stuart

  11. We bought a solid core, MDF 4 panel router carved door, 20 minute stamped fire rating, 1 3/4 inches thick . The door is 36″ x 80″. How can we upgrade this door to meet the requirements of a 90 minute burn?

    • Hi Joe,

      Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, we don’t currently offer any products/systems that will meet the desired 90 minute protection. The maximum we can offer on suitable doors is an upgrade of 30mins; be this from 0 to 30mins or 30mins to 60mins.

      Apologies we couldn’t help on this occasion, please feel free to get in touch if you have any further questions.

      Many thanks
      Stuart

  12. We have a right handed fire door going into our garage, can it be made into a left handed fire door?

    • Hi Tom,

      Thank you very much for your question. Unfortunately this isn’t something we would be able to assist on – we would advise directing your query to building control, the door manufacturer or a fire officer in this case.

      I hope this helps and thank you again for the interest.

      Many thanks
      Stuart

  13. Good morning.

    I am currently mid renovation of a property and have extended in to the loft space. I have put new fire doors throughout the build, however, due to the pitch of the roof I have had to cut down the fire door in the loft space and also had to cut off one of the corners of the door.

    Do you provide any paint that will again make this door 30 minute fire rated and sufficient enough to pass building control regulations?

    The door being cur down is the following spec;

    https://www.deantaonline.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&path=89_94&product_id=930&sort=pd.name&order=DESC&limit=50

    Many Thanks in Advance

    Joseph

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