We sat down with two of our certified fire protection specialists, Joshua Breese, CFPS, CFI, CFPE and Craig Stouffer, CFPS, CFI, CFPE to answer some popular questions regarding fire door inspections.

Q: If a door’s fire rating plate has been painted over, will this pass inspection or what needs to be done?

A: Code requires door and frame plates to be “legible” and often, upon inspection, these plates/labels are painted over. Each door must have a clearly identifiable label secured on the door’s top edge or hinge side. There are two types of industry-approved plates: 1) a Mylar sticker or 2) embossed metal tag with raised characters. The embossed metal labels are often legible even after being painted or may become legible again by using a wire brush to clear the paint. Mylar labels, on the other hand, become damaged when wire brushed and may need to be replaced. If you are unable to make the label legible, the label will need to be replaced by a qualified door labeling company.

Q:  Does every door hole require repair by using a “bumper?” Even if the hole does not go completely through the door? Will the newly added bumpers pass the fire testing, and where can I purchase bumpers?

A: Bumpers or silencers are installed in the door frame and silence the impact when the door makes contact with the frame. Holes in a door cannot be fixed with bumpers but can be repaired with approved caulk or through bolts, depending on size and location. Silencers or bumpers can be acquired through many commercial door repair vendors.

Q: Where do you obtain Life Safety Drawings if they cannot be located within my facility?

A:  Life Safety Drawings (LSD) are a valuable resource for your facility and may be required by your accrediting organization. LSD differ from construction drawings by clearly defining the function and location of your barriers, the location of your pull stations along with other vital information. Compliance One Group has a team of experts that specialize in Life Safety Drawings. Please contact us to discuss the needs of your facility.

Q: Can my organization perform its own inspection or do we need to contract a third party? The Fire Marshall recently visited and looked at our LSD. Does this suffice as our inspection?

A:  Listed fire doors are now required to be inspected annually by a qualified inspector. Yes, you can educate yourself and inspect your own doors by following the NFPA 80 requirements but please note this process requires very detailed record keeping. Any deficiency(ies) identified in your inspection need(s) to be clearly defined and any repair of the deficiency(ies) also need(s) to be both approved and documented in detail. Another common deficiency is doors are that under-rated for the wall type where they are installed/located. Compliance One Group Door Inspectors specialize in recognizing these dangers and are available to work with your team.

Q: Does every fire door have to be obviously labeled as such, or it is enough to have these designated as such in our Life Safety Drawings? Is there a proper way to attach the signage, i.e., are steel signs allowed to be screwed into wood doors?

A:  Fire doors do not have to be labeled as “Fire Doors,” however, we frequently see signage that identifies fire doors with instructions to keep these doors closed and unobstructed.

Any signage attached to a fire door:

  • Needs to be attached with adhesive
  • Cannot use screws as a means of attachment
  • Cannot be more than 5% of the door surface area
  • Cannot be attached to the glazing or window

Q: What types of damages constitute fire door replacement? What about scratches, dents, holes, etc.? What can be repaired or when do damages call for a total replacement?

A:  Two types of smaller hole repair approaches will pass code and include using either a specialized caulk or “through bolts.” Damage to steel doors including dents and scratches normally require no repair provided they do not interfere with the operation of the door. Damage to wood fire doors that include de-lamination or deep gouges that expose the core material often require replacement.

Q: What type of glazings are standard in a UL door? Is there a ‘short mix’ standard?

A: This is a complicated question and requires further specific information. Compliance One Group Door Inspectors are available to help you navigate these questions. For more general industry information, please consider: https://safti.com/articles/fire-rated-doors-standards-testing-and-glazing-requirements/

Q: Please explain what it means to “verify listing” on the Compliance One Group inspection sheets?

A:  Fire Door accessories such as latches, closers, and coordinators need to have been tested by a testing laboratory such as UL for use in fire doors. When our Door Inspectors review your facility for inspection, we look for the listing approval sticker or stamp on these accessories. Often the sticker has been removed or has fallen off over time and is no longer visible. “Verify Listing” requires you to locate the manufacturer and model of the accessory and verification for use has been approved for fire door locations. Typically, this information may be obtained by simply searching the manufacture website, plugging in the accessory specifications, printing the document, and adding it to your door report book will suffice.

Q: How can door hardware be verified as fire rated? Is there a way to identify if our current hardware is in compliance?

A: This can be accomplished quite easily by searching for the following details:

  • Locate the “F” stamp on the latch plate of latch hardware
  • Locate the “UL 10C or 10B” stamp or sticker on elements such as closers and coordinators
  • Locate UL stamps on continuous hinges