Door Smoke Seals
Are you aware that most of deaths caused by fire are not from burning, but from smoke inhalation? If you have invested in fire doors, you must also invest in smoke seals. The law often stipulates that many types of business and manufacturing concern must have fire-rated doors in strategic locations. However, many homeowners and condo owners also want the feeling of safety and security a fire rated door with a door smoke seal can provide. Door smoke seals are available in a variety of sealing capacities and should be combined with fire-rated doors of a similar capacity.
There are two notable types of door smoke seal, the brush smoke seal and the smoke seal with fins. Brush seals have been around longer, having been introduced in 1979. They are still effective smoke seals, but building regulations have become more stringent since they were introduced. Brush seals have disadvantages. For example, brushes are particularly poor at providing acoustic containment. The brush fibers allow air to pass straight through and are thus acoustically transparent. The brush type of smoke seal also increases friction, thus making the door difficult to open. This may violate accessibility requirements as stipulated by law.
Fin-style seals provide a much more up to date, comprehensive and even hygienic solution to the problem of door smoke seals. They have much better acoustic containment properties, especially if they are the kind of door smoke seals with dual fins. They also dramatically lower friction resistance, thus making the door easier to open and therefore accessible to all. The fin seal must, however, remain continuous around the door, for both acoustic containment and smoke containment purposes. A solution with offset dual fins provides the best low-friction acoustic, smoke and fire containment solution. Durability of the seal is vital, so make sure you buy from a reputable manufacturer who thoroughly tests their door smoke seals.
In addition to a seal around the top and sides of the door, your fire rated door may need a threshold seal. Normally a door with a gap of 3mm or greater requires a threshold seal. Generally you won't be able to tell until the door is installed. The threshold has traditionally been regarded as a low risk area. Current research, however, disproves this. An unsealed threshold is actually a significant cold smoke hazard. Threshold sealing is also essential for acoustic containment also. A threshold plate will ensure a good seal is maintained between the threshold seal and the door, by giving the seal a firm surface to rest against. If your floor is particularly liable to wear and tear the seal can help protect your floor around this high traffic area, the door threshold.
Do not paint over door smoke seals, as this will compromise their smoke containment performance. If smoke seal has already been painted over, even if it has only been partially painted over, you will need to replace it. As long as you have to replace the seal, you might as well choose one in a color you like.
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