Difference Between Fire-Rated Doors and Smoke-Rated Doors

Posted by Overhead Door Expert on March 11, 2021

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), every 24 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation. There is a way to help to reduce the loss of life and property in a residential or commercial setting: by installing fire-rated doors, smoke-rated doors, or smoke curtains.

Cornell Cookson - Fire Rated Door

Fire-Rated Door


Difference Between Fire Rated Doors and Smoke Rated Doors/Curtains


Fire Rated Doors

Smoke Rated Doors

Smoke Curtains

Fire doors are designed to stop the spread of both: flames and smoke.

Smoke doors are made to stop smoke from spreading

Smoke curtains are made to stop smoke from spreading


Fire-rated doors help slow or prevent the spread of both fire and smoke, but they are not designed to be completely fireproof. These doors will eventually burn through in a fire. However, they will slow the fire for a specified time period, which will provide additional time for anyone to exit the structure. Fire-rated doors usually have an additional latch to keep the door from opening under the pressure generated by the high temperatures of the flames.

Fire Rated Counter Door 660 Wide

The term fire-rated means that the door, when installed properly, is not supposed to combust during a certain time frame in the average fire. While time ratings vary, standard ratings include 20 to 90-minute fire-rated doors.

A smoke door and a smoke curtain are made to stop smoke from spreading into fire escape routes, providing occupants with a clear, non-toxic route to exit the building. Smoke doors can also be made of several different materials, however, if you ever need to identify what a door specifically protects against, a certified fire door or certified smoke door will always be clearly labeled with respect to its purpose. Fire doors can have a wide variety of finishes, they very often primarily consist of steel.

Many modern smoke doors are designed in a manner that allows them to sync with smoke detectors. When the smoke detectors are activated, the corresponding smoke doors should close.

Automatic sectional smoke curtain (UL 1784)

Smoke curtains in malls

Fire Door & Smoke Door Preventive Maintenance

Fire and smoke doors should be inspected and maintained at least once a year to make sure that they’re working properly. Any damage to the hardware should be reported to the manufacturer or to a local fire professional.

Our certified personnel can help you create a preventive maintenance plan.

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What are Fire Door Drop Tests and Fire Door Annual Inspections?

NFPA standards require building owners and managers to have their fire-rated doors inspected and tested annually and to maintain written documentation of such inspections. Keep your garage door in compliance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) by contacting us. Loading Dock, Inc. offers fire doors annual inspections and fire doors drop tests to ensure all requirements are properly met.

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If you're interested in installing a fire-rated door, a smoke door, or a smoke curtain in your facility, call our experts. They will be more than happy to assist you. T. 973-471-4060 or email info@loadingdock.com. 24/7 Emergency repairs are available at 973-471-4060.

Remember: we sell, install, repair, and maintain commercial doors, industrial doors, and loading dock equipment.

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