Fire Exit with a Fire Rated Door

Checking and Testing Your Fire Rated Doors 101

Commercial fire rated doors are a special component of commercial buildings. They are intended to prevent fire and smoke from passing through or around the door for a specified period. Commercial fire rated doors that you purchase new have had a sample tested for fire resistance at a special facility intended just for testing doors. When the door passes its test, it earns a special rating that is given to all doors of this description. This special rating is coded in a label that is attached to each of these doors.

NFPA (National Fire Prevention Association) 101 is known as the “Life Safety Code” document. It is widely used as the strategy source for designing and outfitting all building openings for fire and smoke protection. NFPA 80 is the document used to cover fire-rated doors and other building openings.

Standardized Equipment

When you build a new building or retrofit an existing building to be protected from fire, you will install only equipment that meets certain standards for fire and smoke protection. Each piece of hardware involved in entries and exits will have a code stamped into the metal that indicates its fire resistance. This means doors, door frames, locks, hinges, and other door hardware. When the building is new, an inspection will verify that each item has the correct code to meet the proper fire safety level.


As the building ages, or as you make modifications, you may find that you periodically must have an inspection to ensure that your doors and related hardware are still up to code. This involves an inspector checking the labels or stamps and testing the fit of the hardware, as well as door seals, etc.

A personal review of your fire doors can ensure that your equipment still stands up to code. Check and test the following items…

Related Content: Do Fire Rated Commercial Doors Require Special Repairs and Maintenance?

No Gaps

Unless there have been some modifications to the door, this should involve inspecting to see that the seal is still functional. If not, it must be replaced and be of the correct type for that particular door.

Self-Latching Hardware

Given time, your door-latching hardware may begin to wear down. If so, it will need to be replaced with similar hardware that meets the fire code. This hardware also must be self-latching.


Doors must close by themselves. This means that any closer on the door is functional, and that no materials are stacked in front of the door. Hold the door open 1/2 way and allow it to close by itself.

Fire-Labeled Hardware

Each piece of hardware related to the fire door must be labeled or stamped with its code. The label or stamp must be readable, and each piece must still function properly for fire and smoke safety.

Related Content: A Low-Down on Fire-Rated Commercial Doors

Fire-Rated Doors for Your Building

Interested in a new commercial door, or have some questions about commercial? At Frontier Pacific, we have been in the door and construction business for three generations. We can help. Call us at (510) 694-1710 or email We have offices in both Hayward, California, and Cedar City, Utah. We look forward to hearing from you!