Code Alert! Fire Rated Doors and Signage

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 4.1.4.1)

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 4.1.4.2.1)
  • Use of screws or nails is not be permitted (see 4.1.4.2.2)
  • Signs cannot be installed in a manner which they impair or interfere with the proper operation of the door (see 4.1.4.4)

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 4.1.4.3)

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.

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