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is there any way to make original period doors fire-resistant?

(20 Posts)
beaglesaresweet Thu 20-Mar-14 17:57:00

Obviously in modern houses, or when extensions/full refurb is done on old houses, doors are changed as well.

But what if the doors are original victorian or even 30s - do you have to replace them, which is extremely expensive as the doorways need ripping off too - or are there measures like sprays or special paint that could at least increase fire-proofing? I'm talking about the hall facing doors which are required to be fire-resistant now.

OP’s posts: |
madamecake Thu 20-Mar-14 18:25:51

You can get special fire retardant paint, such as this. Not cheap but a lot cheaper than replacing doors and door frames.

InsertUsernameHere Thu 20-Mar-14 18:41:49

We got a quote for an enviro graph product from lifeline I think? You can upgrade however different councils have different views on whether they feel it fulfils their fire regulations. I presume you are looking at this because you are having a loft conversion or similar. I'd contact building control for advice.

PigletJohn Thu 20-Mar-14 19:32:27

there are two ways to do it, but as insert says, you will have to ask your BCO what they will accept. Intumescent paint would be the neater, cladding one or both sides would spoil the look. Some victorian doors in smaller houses are very flimsy.

BCO might require you to add intumescent strip to the frame, or different hinges or catches, or a deeper doorstop, or linked wired smoke detectors and alarms, as alternatives or combinations. They seem to have given up insisting on self-closing hinges now, as people just wedge them open.

FD30 doors and frames need not be that expensive if you are willing to paint them rather than looking for veneered doors. I like this sort which are substantial and solid, blot out noise, and have an Edwardian appearance. There are many other styles. Prices vary. The fake grained ones are revolting.

007licencetospill Thu 20-Mar-14 21:30:23

Any cottagey looking fire proof doors around?

PigletJohn Thu 20-Mar-14 21:35:49

what does a cottage door look like?


beaglesaresweet Thu 20-Mar-14 22:55:24

thanks, mademe, for the link. Does the paint finish look good - or not the same as normal paint. Has it got some horrid gloss to it? Also I wonder how effective is it? to they give time frame of how long can the painted door withstand the fire for?

No, I'm not doing a conversion, just want to improve fire safety. So far have lived in places with the fire doors even though also Victorian places. I am concerned about fire easily spreading to the hall, which is indeed the main element of modern regulations, so far I lived in flats so being on the same level it's quite easy to exit, but with the houses I think it's sensible to have at least the hall protected.

The problem is not so much the cost of doors - but thanks, PJ for the link, will keep for fututre ref, but the fact (as surveyor also said) that all the door frames need changing, and the whole lot of room redecorated - what a hassle and expense. I like the decor and not planning to change it.
If there were such doors but fitting into old frames - fine of course.

OP’s posts: |
InsertUsernameHere Fri 21-Mar-14 00:04:57

What are your current doors made of? If they are fairly solid they will have good fire delaying properties already. The product we looked at was wood veneers for the panels and then a clear paint for the doors with intumescent strips. The key thing in your situation is probably behaviour rather than doors. Do you shut your doors at night? Do you have working and regularly tested smoke alarms? Do you turn off everything possible at night? Every time I attend a fire lecture at work I remember how important it is to make sure there are no obvious sources of fire and close doors!

beaglesaresweet Fri 21-Mar-14 00:14:03

thanks, Insert. Do you mean you've attached panels to the old doors?

I'm not living in that house yet - the doors are original so made of wood which looks quite soft (victorian) and unpainted. I wouldn't know how to tell whether they are thick enough to be good or how 'solid' - they ar nothing like solid front doors.
I suppose I'm quite careful generally, but say if there boiler/electric fault there is a risk - also it's a semi so potentially depends on next-door's too.

OP’s posts: |
InsertUsernameHere Sat 22-Mar-14 09:31:27

Hi OP. We haven't gone ahead yet. Our doors are victorian (ish) panelled doors. The rails - the thick bit round the edge and between the panels are thick enough and just need a coat of clear fireproofing paint/varnish. The panel are thinner and need a bit of extra do a thin fire resistant piece is put directly on the panels. They should look very similar to original ones

beaglesaresweet Sat 22-Mar-14 22:13:33

thanks for the link, Insert! it sound fiddly but I'm very glad tere is a solution.
How do they estimate the time it would resist fire, do you know?

OP’s posts: |
InsertUsernameHere Sat 22-Mar-14 22:38:03

I presume it is fr

InsertUsernameHere Sat 22-Mar-14 22:40:27

I presume it is from testing them (eg setting them on fire). To get either FD30 or FD60 standard there will be rigourous testing procedures. If you are interested I'm sure they could let you know.

beaglesaresweet Sat 22-Mar-14 22:53:14

sorry I phrased it badly - I meant how long would these doors resist fire for? is it as long as modern ones (30min) ? of course even 20min would be fine.

OP’s posts: |
InsertUsernameHere Sun 23-Mar-14 08:35:26

Ah I see! I understand that it is to get them to them modern fd30 rating which is 30mins. Doors are generally upgraded because they are required to be fd30 compliant for gilding regs. As long as they aren't of unusual construction or very poorly fitted a standard victorian door should give you significant protection already as long as it is shut.

mothersdaughter Sun 23-Mar-14 13:23:16

When we did our loft conversion we were able to keep all the original doors, but had to put a smoke detector in every room.

Would this be an option?

PigletJohn Sun 23-Mar-14 16:45:38

linked, wired smoke detectors will give you early warning, and intumescent furry pile smoke strip round the doors or frames will prevent toxic smoke spreading round the house until the door gives way. The strip is not very expensive, and the fur means it draughtproofs as well.

You will of course need to habitually keep the doors shut, and possibly change the latches if yours are plastic or too weak to hold a door shut when it starts to warp from the heat. I have heard a person say they leave all their doors open because they have a cat.

I believe an ordinary wooden door will hold back fire for a while, though many cheap modern doors are made of air wrapped in hardboard.

You might get better advice from your fire service. I only have experience of heavy fire doors with strip, rated hinges, and protected locks.

TalkinPeace Sun 23-Mar-14 18:03:14

I'm talking about the hall facing doors which are required to be fire-resistant now.
its all a load of CRAP

a door is ONLY fire retardant when closed
there is no requirement in ANY of the regs to close doors
we keep all of our doors ajar (cat household)

have therefore (like 1/3 of houses in this city) refused to get building regs sign off until the building regs get real

allthatglittersisnotgold Mon 24-Mar-14 09:26:10

This is interesting. We are in middle of a loft conversion and are not keen at all to change all the doors in the rest of the flat. We have a few mains fitted smoke alarms, in hall, kitchen etc. It's looking like our only option is to have further mains alarms in EVERY other room. Utterly ridiculous. I know councils differ, but that was our alternative option, to get aroudn changing doors.

Did you consider just installing those?

TalkinPeace Mon 24-Mar-14 11:10:51

we have interlinked smoke alarms and escape windows
they were obsessed with doors
we sent them away

they still increased our council tax band despite not signing the work off

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