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Article: Are all Steel Doors Fire Rated?

Are all Steel Doors Fire Rated?

Did you know steel doors are among the strongest available door options? Steel-framed doors last longer and do not require as many repairs as other doors would.

Also, black steel doors are known for their elegance and power. For this reason, it is no surprise that these doors have gained immense popularity in several architectural use cases due to their versatility, durability, and security.

However, longevity is not the only reason to choose one steel door over another. When choosing a steel door, one important factor is its fire rating. One big question that comes to mind when considering the kind of steel door to use is, “Are all steel doors fire rated?”

Another question that comes to mind is, “Are all fire rated steel doors built the same?”

In this article, we answer these questions and a few more.

What Are Steel Doors?

Steel doors are typically made from steel as their primary material combined with various other materials, such as honeycomb or polyurethane, which helps to improve insulation, strength, and durability.

It is common to see steel doors being used as the entry point for commercial centers, security doors, and the entrance to contemporary homes.

There are several standards of steel doors which are selected depending on factors such as:

  • The frequency of usage
  • Level of subjection to possible abuse
  • Conformance with local building codes and fire regulations
  • Sound and insulation requirements
  • Architectural style and design

Standard steel doors are classified into four (4) different levels, namely:

  • Level 1 Standard Duty Steel Door – 1-3/4” and 1-3/8”
  • Level 2 Heavy Duty Steel Door – 1-3/4”
  • Level 3 Extra Heavy Duty Steel Door – 1-3/4”
  • Level 4 Maximum Duty Steel Door – 1-3/4” and 1-3/8”

These different levels of standard steel doors are selected based on the construction models and design they offer to meet various architectural requirements for preference and appearance.

Fire Rated Metal Door vs Non-Fire Rated Steel Door

A typical steel door is either fire rated or non-fire rated.

Non-Fire Rated Steel Doors

Non-fire rated steel doors are standard steel doors that are designed for regular use cases such as standard entrances where fire protection is not a major factor.

Non-fire rated steel doors are typically found in homes, offices, and other structures that require security and privacy but not necessarily fire protection.

A typical non-fire rated steel door may look like a fire rated steel door on the surface, but it may not have undergone any strict testing for fire resistance, as well as other Australian Standards for fire safety.

A non-fire rated door offers little protection for your property in a fire.

Fire Rated Steel Doors

Fire rated steel doors are built to resist flames for a certain amount of time. The amount of time that a typical fire rated steel door can resist flame and fire exposure is determined through testing. This rating is called the fire resistance level of FRL.

The FRL of a fire-resistant door is provided in three categories and typically looks like this: 30/60/120.

  • The first category is structural adequacy—how long in minutes the door will remain vertical in case of a fire.
  • The second category is integrity—how long in minutes the door will block the flames from passing through.
  • The third category is insulation—how long in minutes the door will provide insulation from heat, smoke, and fire, ensuring that the room on the other side of the door does not increase in temperature.

Therefore, a fire rated steel door rating like this 30/60/120 means it has an adequacy of 30 minutes, an integrity of 60 minutes, and provides insulation for 120 minutes.

Note: if the first category is left with a dash (-), the door is not load-bearing but provides integrity and insulation.

Fire Ratings for Steel Doors

Most steel doors provide fire protection for up to four hours compared to the typical 30 to 60 minutes provided by doors made from non-metal materials. The typical standards used to test for the fire rating of a steel door are the Australian Standards AS1530 and AS1905.

The fire ratings of steel doors are usually determined by standardized and recognized testing authorities such as the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) in the United States, the National Association of Testing Authorities in Australia, and British Standards (BS) in the UK.

Typically, 30-minute fire rated steel doors are more suitable for small buildings in residential areas. Larger commercial buildings usually require steel-rated doors with fire ratings of 60 minutes or more.

Factors Affecting Fire Ratings

Other factors may affect the fire rating of your steel door apart from the steel material itself. The three major factors to consider are:

The Core Material

The most important factor affecting a steel door's fire rating is the core materials used to manufacture the door. The most common materials include vermiculite boards, ceramic materials, and fire-resistant mineral cores.

The Door Frame and Seals

Apart from the materials used to make the steel door, the door frame and seal used during the installation process of the door can affect the fire resistance as well.
Proper intumescent seals will expand when exposed to heat, creating a fire-proof barrier that prevents smoke and flames from spreading around the edges of the door.

The Installation Hardware

Other installation hardware, such as the hinges, latches, and locks used during the installation of your fire rated steel door, can also affect the fire rating.

Ensure that any hardware used during the installation of your fire rated steel door is also rated to withstand high temperatures and maintain the integrity of your door in case of a fire outbreak.


Fire rated steel doors can be life-saving for your home, office, or factory. While non-fire rated steel doors offer a certain level of protection against burglary and don’t require as much maintenance as other doors, they don’t offer any protection against fire.

Fire rated steel doors are specifically designed and tested to withstand heat and flames from a fire outbreak while contributing to the safety of its occupants.

You can easily tell if a steel door is fire rated by looking at the fire-rating specification on the chassis of the door. Or you can simply ask your supplier for specific fire rated steel doors according to your desired standards.

Black Badge is a luxury steel metal frame glass door and windows manufacturer in the United States.

Visit our website today to obtain non-fire rated steel metal frame glass doors and windows for areas in your home and office that do not require fire rated steel doors.

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