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Can Timber Be Used For Fire-Rated Door Frames?




If you're wondering if timber can be used for fire-rated door frames, the answer is yes. Timber door frames can be used in fire-rated doors, but they must meet specific requirements to ensure fire resistance and comply with necessary ratings. The fire rating depends on the type of timber, its thickness, and density. Proper treatment and coating with fire-resistant materials are essential for meeting fire rating standards.

Consider the overall fire resistance of the door, not just the frame. A fire-rated timber door must withstand fire for a specified time (e.g., 30, 60, or 90 minutes), as per building code requirements. The door frame must support the door's weight and maintain its fire rating during this period.


Understanding Fire-Rated Door Frames

Fire-rated door frames are crucial for any passive fire protection system, preventing the spread of fire and ensuring safe building evacuation. They come in various materials, including metal and timber. In Australia, the Building Code of Australia (BCA) regulates fire performance, setting minimum requirements for elements like fire doors and frames.


When it comes to timber fire-rated door frames, it is important to note that not all timber is suitable for fire resistance. Timber species, density, and thickness all play a role in determining the fire performance of a timber door frame. Therefore, it is crucial to select the right type of timber and ensure that it is treated with the appropriate fire retardant chemicals.


Correct installation is key for optimal fire performance. The door leaf must snugly fit the fire door frame, securely fixed to the wall, with gaps sealed using a fire-rated sealant. Any gaps or cracks must be sealed with fire-rated sealant to prevent the spread of fire and smoke.


Fire Safety Regulations and Standards

Meeting fire safety regulations involves considering building codes and Australian standards, especially concerning fire protection components like fire-rated door frames. According to Australian standards, these frames must withstand high temperatures for a specified duration. While steel door frames are common, timber can also meet these requirements.


Fire-rated door frames should have smoke seals, made from materials like intumescent or brush strips, to prevent smoke from spreading during a fire. Fire exits, following specific building code requirements, are crucial, dictating their number, placement, and construction materials.


A normal door doesn't require a fire rating unless part of a firewall or smoke barrier. Still, using materials meeting fire safety requirements for all doors in a building is essential.


Ensuring all building components meet fire safety standards is crucial for occupant protection and fire spread limitation. Adhering to building codes and Australian standards ensures your building is as safe as possible in a fire.





Time Factor in Fire Rating

In fire-rated door frames, the time factor is crucial for determining their fire resistance. Measured in Fire Resistance Level (FRL) ratings, these levels indicate how long the frame can withstand fire—commonly 30, 60, or 120 minutes.

For instance, a 60-minute FRL-rated door frame can endure fire exposure for up to 60 minutes without failing, as per Australian Standard AS 1530.4 testing. However, the time factor is just one aspect; the material, thickness, and presence of fire-resistant materials also influence fire resistance.


While timber door frames can be fire-rated, they may not always be the optimal choice. Glass fire doors, offering visibility, are often preferable in areas like stairwells. When considering fire-rated door frames, it's essential to weigh the time factor, FRL ratings, and other factors like material and thickness. Choosing the best option for your specific application is crucial.


Fire Door Installation and Maintenance

Ensuring the optimum of fire safety comes with first choosing the right fire door and frame. Fire door frames can be created with timber but they need to be treated with the appropriate fire-resistant coatings or intumescent paints to meet the necessary safety standards.


In the process of installing standard-sized, fire-rated doors, the frame needs to match the fire-rated criteria and meld with the door. Tuck it flush within thick, fire-resistant walls as this seamless fit helps to stop any potential gaps that might allow fire or smoke through.


For timber fire-rated frames, using a coating of intumescent seal around the edges causes the wood to expand in the face of heat, filling any gaps against the flames.


The key to long-lasting passive fire protection systems comes from regular maintenance. Getting a professional, like our team at Australian Fire Control, in to check for wear, damage and proper functioning can ensure that your passive fire protection systems remain effective and compliant with safety regulations. Our experienced team can provide the necessary maintenance to keep your fire protection systems in top condition, giving you peace of mind and ensuring the safety of your building and its occupants.


Go For Timber Frames With Australian Fire Control

Can fire-rated door frames be timber? With the right fit, pre-treatment and maintenance, yes, you can have timber fire-rated door frames. At Australian Fire Control, where we create passive fire protection systems, we can work with you to create the perfect timber-framed fire doors for your building with Australian Standards in mind. Contact us today for a comprehensive consultation and let us guide you through the process of enhancing the fire safety measures in your building with our expert solutions.

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