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Understanding the Difference Between Fire Doors and Fire Exit Doors

April 25, 2023

Understanding the Difference Between Fire Doors and Fire Exit Doors

We often hear the terms ‘Fire Doors’ and ‘Fire Exits’, but do you know what the difference between these two doorsets are? This article provides an insight into the terminology, differences and similarities.
Internal fire doors

Fire doors are a critical part of a building’s passive fire safety strategy. They are as important as testing the battery on a smoke alarm, or checking the pressure of a fire extinguisher.

Internal fire doors are typically installed internally and serve as a barrier against fire and smoke, separating different compartments of a building to provide a secure escape route for occupants. Certified fire doors are specifically designed to resist fire and smoke when closed, according to their FD rating, for a minimum specified amount of time.

Our M2MFD doorsets provide internal fire resistance of up to 240 minutes integrity (FD240), and are certified to BS EN 1634-1:2000 or BS 476: Part 22: 1987.


Fire door testing

Fire doors are tested as a complete assembly, including the frame, leaves and associated hardware, where required. Our doors are tested and approved by Exova Warringtonfire, under the CERTIFIRE scheme.

Certifire is an independent, third-party certification that is recognised as the mark of fire safety across the UK. The government recommends that companies invest in third-party accredited fire safety materials in their Approved Fire Safety Document B for maximum safety, and a product with a Certifire mark guarantees that it will hold its integrity for the noted amount of time in the event of a fire.

In order to earn a Certifire rating, fire doors are subjected to a furnace test in which they have to endure temperatures of up to 1,100°C for the designated time. The test ends when the doors are compromised and a flame for longer than 10 seconds – or a gap – appears, or after 240 minutes.

The Certifire rating of a door is represented by FD and then a number (30, 60, 120, or 240). This number represents the total number of minutes a door maintains its structural integrity in the event of a fire.

Fire exit doors

Typically, a fire exit door is the last point of exit from a building. In case of an emergency, these doors can be quickly and effortlessly opened from the inside using a panic bar or push pad.

Unlike fire doors, there is no requirement for fire exit doors to be fire rated as they’re not designed to stop the spread of fire.

It is crucial that fire exits are well maintained to remain strong and sturdy, as they can be targeted by intruders as a mode of entry. As a precaution, fire exit doors should only be able to be opened from the inside to prevent unauthorised access.


Which solution is right for you?

Fire exit doors are designed to provide a quick and efficient escape during a fire or emergency situation. While some fire exit doors can also prevent the spread of fire, this is not their primary function. On the other hand, fire doors are specifically designed to hinder or delay the spread of fire from one room to another.

Due to their distinct functions, the two door types often situated in different areas of a building. A fire exit door is usually situated on the exterior of a building and marks the final door of an escape route. In contrast, fire doors are typically found internally, such as on stairwells or between rooms.



Compulsory CE certification on external fire doors came into effect on 1st November 2019.

All external fire rated doors must now be CE Marked to harmonised standards EN 16034 and BS EN 14351-1, both of which our M2M+ steel doors have successfully achieved. We are a proud Door and Hardware Federation member, giving you complete peace of mind that our M2M+ doorsets meet the stringent dhf Quality Assured Standards.

Several factors are tested to ensure doorsets meet compliance standards. These include air leakage, water tightness, resistance to wind load, thermal transmittance, acoustic performance, impact resistance (for doorsets with glazing), and ability for exit devices on emergency escape doors to release.

In addition, BS EN 1435-1 permits tests for voluntary door characteristics that exhibit additional performance features.


Maintaining your doors

Ensuring that both fire doors and fire exit doors are regularly maintained and tested is of the utmost importance to ensure compliance and negate risk.

Fully functioning fire doors help to prevent the spread of fires and provide people with a safe route to evacuate, while compartmentalisation helps to starve the fire of oxygen, eventually subduing it.

This should include checking for obstructions and damage to the doors, as well as ensuring that fire escape doors have a working push bar.

And when it comes to fire exit doors, it’s important that they are easily identifiable in case of an emergency.

Green signs are used to indicate the location of doors, exits, and emergency escape routes. To ensure visibility in low light conditions, some of these signs may be backlit, making it easier for people to locate escape routes in almost any situation.



For help with your next project, get in touch today.


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