Code Alert! Fire Rated Doors and Signage

Do you know what is wrong with the fire rated door on the left? Is there anything wrong with the door on the right?

This door on the left is covered with signs in excess of what is allowed per NFPA 80 – Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives (editions 2007, 2010, 2013). To paraphrase NFPA 80:

  • Signs shall not exceed 5% of the total area of the face of the door (see

This restriction is due to the increased “fuel load” that signs would provide to the door during a fire.

But the requirements for signs on fire doors does not stop there. Here are a few more restrictions to consider:

  • Signs can only be attached by use of an adhesive (see
  • Use of screws or nails is not be permitted (see
  • Signs cannot be installed in a manner which they impair or interfere with the proper operation of the door (see

The attachment clauses have to do with protecting the integrity of the fire rated door, which screws and nails could violate. The clause about impairing operation or use of the door is for obvious safety reasons.

Finally, you cannot attach a sign directly to the glass in a fire rated door (even if an adhesive is used to attach it):

  • Signs shall not be installed on glazing material in fire doors (see

Note that this restriction is in place due to the added “fuel load” that a sign would provide to the glass during a fire, thus causing it to fail quicker.

The door shown on the right seems to comply with NFPA 80 because: the signs to not exceed 5% of the door surface, they are attached with adhesive, they do not impair or interfere with the proper operation of the door, and the signage is not installed on the glass.

If you have a code-related question, feel free to reach out to LaForce!

Today’s excellent advice is provided by Kristi Dietz, LaForce’s Engineering Training Manager.

What’s the Difference? Tornado Doors vs. Hurricane Doors

Spring has finally arrived, and we are grateful for the relief from winter’s chill! But warmer weather also ushers in a not-so-welcome season: Storm Season. Building owners and facility managers need to understand the door-specific needs of their region, to keep occupants and property safe. With the help of Larry Coenen, LaForce’s Hollow Metal Office Manager, we will explore the differences between tornado doors and hurricane doors in today’s blog.


Storm doors, commonly known as tornado doors, are designed to protect people in a designated area or space, such as a tornado shelter or school safe room. They are intended to tolerate sudden impacts, such as strong wind gusts and flying debris. Hurricane doors are designed to protect the people and property for an entire building. Instead of protecting against a sudden impact, hurricane doors are constructed to withstand a steady wind force.

Both types of doors need to follow particular specifications in construction, testing, and installation. These doors’ components are carefully designed and tested to meet rigorous standards – however, they are not interchangeable.

Detailed Guide

Differences Between Hurricane and Tornado Storm Doors LaForce Inc

Further Information

Code change in IBC 2015:  IBC 2009 includes the standards for constructing storm shelters, but it does not specify where they are required. IBC 2015 now defines areas of the United States where storm shelters are required, and in which types of facilities. The building types that now require storm shelters are new schools and public safety facilities. For more information, see IBC 2015, Section 423.

Facilities can minimize disaster damage with weather-appropriate products. For questions related to a specific building design or application, contact your LaForce Representative today! You may also find the following links useful for further reading:

Road Trip 2017: LaForce Projects Across the Country

Road Trip 2017, Stop 5: DMC Children’s Hospital in Michigan

LaForce handles construction projects across the country!
In this special series, we’re exploring 12 such projects.

DMC Childrens Hospital Interior DMC Childrens Hospital Exterior

Bright colors, cheerful artwork, and child-friendly architectural flow distinguish the Detroit Medical Center’s new Children’s Hospital in Troy, MI. LaForce supplied doors, frames, hardware, and security products for the new facility. We worked with Brinker Team Construction to fulfill the building’s specifications, including electrified hardware and unusual opening requirements.

LaForce provided extensive expertise when it came to the hospital’s electrified openings. The owner and contractor knew what kind of functionality the doors needed, but depended on LaForce to put together an exact description of door operations and wiring diagrams. In addition, the hospital needed lead-lined, access controlled doors between the pre-operation and operation rooms. LaForce provided the doors and hardware necessary to fulfill this unique request. Finally, our Security Integration team provided technical support during the final product installation.

A full slideshow of pictures can be found at this link.

Keep an eye on LaForce’s projects in this 12-week series! More information on our company and services can be found on our website.

Customized Security System for the National Shrine of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

LaForce provided technical expertise and products for the National Shrine of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini in Chicago, IL. We worked closely with the architects to develop a customized solution that fulfilled security requirements while preserving historical beauty. Our Architectural Services, Security Integration, and Building Products teams all contributed to this renovation project.

To discover what makes this project special and to view more pictures, click below:

LaForce Case Study: Customized Security System for Chapel in Chicago

LaForce Inc Cabrini Chapel Case Study

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This case study was originally published on June 7, 2013. It was updated and re-posted on March 16, 2017.

Road Trip 2017: LaForce Projects Across the Country

Road Trip 2017, Stop 4: Tempe Preparatory Academy in Arizona

LaForce handles construction projects across the country!
In this special series, we’re exploring 12 such projects.

LaForce at Tempe Preparatory Academy before and after

Tempe Preparatory Academy in Tempe, AZ is a public charter school that provides a liberal arts education to junior high and high school students. The academy’s staff asked Bill Clements, LaForce’s Building Product Consultant in Phoenix, to replace one of its building entrances that leads into the school’s performing arts center.

As evidenced by the “Before” picture, the school faced several problems with its existing entrance, in both security and functionality.


The stained glass windows were beautiful, but risked a break-in. The school needed the windows replaced with metal panels to best protect students and property. The stained glass will be re-purposed elsewhere in the building.


The handles were simply wooden broomsticks that the school occasionally replaced. To update the hardware, LaForce supplied new locks, panic devices, door closures, and weatherstripping. In addition, the school required an entrance that could be widened for moving large items in and out. LaForce provided a removeable mullion (center post) that can be unlocked and removed as needed.


Thanks for following our 12-week series! Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter for more project news and updates.

Airport Facility Construction: Special Considerations

LaForce has assisted with many airport construction projects. We are very familiar with the special considerations that must be taken in regards to building an airport facility – particularly when it comes to security components. Take a look at some recent examples!

LaForce Inc Airport Facility Construction Special Security ConsiderationsSan Antonio International Airport: San Antonio, TX

The San Antonio International Airport is currently building a Consolidated Rental Car Facility (ConRAC) to contain rental car offices and counters, parking, and offices. Lucas Meneghini, LaForce’s Austin Office Manager, is working with Turner Construction on this project. LaForce is supplying doors, frames, and hardware for over 240 openings in the ConRAC building . In addition, most of the doors will be supplied with pre-installed hardware.

Airport facilities are unique because they require additional security restrictions (background checks, badges, etc.) on all on-site construction personnel (project managers, workers, etc.). To alleviate the hassle of these restrictions, LaForce can supply doors with pre-installed hardware – meaning the hinges, door closers, exit devices, locks, electrified hardware, and flat goods are installed onto the doors prior to shipping to the jobsite. Pre-installation can save the customer time and money – for example, materials can be delivered “just in time” versus creating a need for jobsite storage. We can also recycle packaging at our shop, which saves jobsite waste. A video about LaForce’s pre-installation services can be found here.

Sky Harbor Airport: Phoenix, AZ

Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, AZ is currently undergoing several phases of terminal modernizations, with a goal to improve passenger experience. Hugo Salvateirra from LaForce’s Phoenix Office sales team is working closely with the City of Phoenix and Hunt/Austin Joint Venture to provide products for this project, including doors, frames, and hardware.

In addition, the airport requires double authentication for some personnel to gain access through some doors, to protect against threats. This means that some entrances require personnel to present credentials via both an access card and a pin number. When LaForce’s installation staff installs the electrified hardware, they will work closely with the city’s security team to troubleshoot and ensure proper functionality. A video covering the project can be found here.

LaCrosse Regional Airport: LaCrosse, WI

The LaCrosse Regional Airport is finishing a terminal rehabilitation project with Immel Construction that completely revamps building functionality and layout. Casey Williamson, the Security Integration Project Manager from LaForce’s Madison Office, worked with LaForce Project Manager Matt Gunn to provide intelligent access control hardware for the airport. These locks integrate with the airport’s credentialing system and offer enhanced security through encryption and mutual authentication.


More information about LaForce’s recent projects can be found in our new blog series.

Road Trip 2017: LaForce Projects Across the Country

Road Trip 2017, Stop 3: Anagen 11 Salon in Wisconsin

LaForce handles construction projects across the country!
In this special series, we’re exploring 12 such projects.

Anagen 11 Salon’s owners sought a unique, industrial “look” for their new space in Appleton, WI, so they chose to build the new salon out of recycled shipping containers. This is a unique architectural proposal for the Wisconsin market – and the first commercial building in the Fox Valley to utilize shipping containers in this way – but LaForce’s Clay Hoerauf was up to the challenge!

Clay worked with Tom Hoffman (Greenwood Project Management) and Bruce Hietpas (Hietpas Welding Inc.) to measure and plan the openings after the shipping containers arrived. Once the design was solidified, LaForce supplied hollow metal frames, wood doors, and hardware for the project.

Check out the finished pictures of Anagen 11 Salon, below!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss another update in this 12-week series.