Every 89 seconds, the fire department in the USA responds to a home fire somewhere in the country. That rate is even greater for commercial properties, with a fire alert occurring every 64 seconds.
In this case, it is highly important to take precautionary measures against any kind of fire, be it electrical, accidental, or wildfire.
In this case, fire-rated doors are stated as the first line of defense. There is a common question as to which type of garage door should be fire-rated according to building regulations.
Garage doors connecting the residential area with the garage should be fire-rated. However, any garage doors that lead outside and not into the home are not required to be fire-rated.
So, if you are thinking of equipping your garage door with a fire-rated door, make sure that you understand the type of fire ratings for garage doors and any other precautions that need to be taken against fire hazards.
What is the Use of a Fire-Rated Door in the Garage?
Two out of every five fires in residential areas start from the kitchen. They can also start from fireplaces or are caused by an electrical spark.
So, your internal garage, if equipped with a fire-rated door, can offer a means of escape and provide a buffer for the fire department to respond to the fire.
Here are some uses of a fire-rated door connecting the house to your internal garage:
- If installed properly, it can withstand even extreme heat.
- These doors are also fire-resistant, which means that they will not combust easily, depending on the fire-rating of the door.
- A fire-rated door can stop smoke from coming into the garage. As a result, it can safeguard the inhabitants from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Although it’s better to be safe than sorry, if you need to know whether you absolutely need to have a fire-rated door in the garage, you can read about the kind of doors that fulfill the requirements.
Does a Garage Have to Have a Fire-Rated Door?
There are several conditions to have a fire-rated door installed in a garage. This includes the nature of the garage and the type of garage doors that fulfill the conditions of Section R302.5.1.
If you have a detached garage, you don’t need to install a fire-rated door.
However, if you have an internal garage also called an attached garage, you are required to install at least one of the following types of doors:
- A solid wooden door equal to or more than 1 3/8″ thick.
- Solid or honeycomb-core steel door equal to or more than 1 3/8″ thick.
- 20-minute fire-rated door.
Garage Door Fire Ratings
Fire doors are rated according to the buffer time of delay they offer. The ratings of fire doors range from 20-minutes to 90-minutes.
However, a 20-minute fire-rated door is sufficient for a residential property.
There are three types of ratings in the 20 minute fire door category:
- 20-minute fire door with hose stream: These doors are those that pass the 20-minute fire test as well as a hose stream test which assesses the door’s ability to remain stable after exposure to fire. The hose stream test assesses the door for cooling effect, erosion, and the impact of a hose stream.
- 20-minute fire door without hose stream: These doors are those that have passed the 20-minute fire test, but have not been subjected to the hose stream test. The label of the door clearly states if the door is not tested with a hose stream.
- 20-minute fire door without a self-locking mechanism: These self-locking doors are able to contain the smoke in the house and keep the inhabitants safe from smoke poisoning. However, at times doors are not self-latching and do not undergo fire tests.
Why do garage doors have to be fire-rated?
Garage doors need to be fire-rated because they provide a safe area for the residents of the house in case of a fire. They save the inhabitants from the heat due to the fire, and the smoke erupting from the fire, also providing a buffer time for the fire department.
However, along with having a fire-rated door, other precautionary measures also need to be taken to reduce the risks from fire hazards, like assuring the wiring is intact, installing fire alarms, and putting in paneling walls with painted drywall rather than wallpaper in areas where there is a risk of fire.
Do exterior garage doors have to be fire-rated?
Exterior garage doors do not have to be fire-rated because they are not connected to the house.
However, if you want to equip your external garage door with a fire door, you can do so, but you need to make sure that the fire door is installed by a professional.
Otherwise, the door won’t perform its intended purpose if it is not installed correctly.
Summing up garage door fire ratings
Fire is one of the most deadly powers in the world. When uncontrolled, it can do severe damage to property and human life.
A fire-rated door can work as the first line of defense against fire and reduce the risks associated with fire hazards.
Installed in a garage, a fire-rated door can safeguard the inhabitants of the house from heat, fire, and smoke. It can also keep smoke out, which prevents carbon monoxide poisoning.
However, you might or might not be required to install this type of door in a garage based on the type of garage.
An internal garage door that connects the house with the garage has to be either fire-rated or made of steel or wood and thicker than 1 3/8″.
If your garage is exterior or detached, you are not required to install a fire-rated door under the conditions of Section R302.5.1.
If you’re considering a safety renovation, you should select a door rated 20 minutes or higher for fire protection in case of a fire emergency.