Fire-rated steel-look windows and doors are often needed internally and sometimes externally. Usually, there are requirements under Building Regulations for fire safety and you should always seek professional advice.
With steel-look glazing being sought-after inside and outside the home, we explain more about fire-resistant products in this popular style.
Understanding fire-rated steel-look windows and doors
It’s important to know that aluminium has no fire rating. Some also assume that simply glazing a product with fire-resistant glass is enough. This is both dangerous and not fit for purpose where a fire protection requirement exists.
Even more important is the make-up, manufacture, materials and installation needed for a screen or doorway. Every component and fitting come together providing the correct fire protection and a product that must do its job should a fire break out.
There are also several reasons why fire-rated steel-look windows and doors are specified. Reasons include providing escape routes from the home or preventing the spread of fire into neighbouring rooms and inside the home generally. It’s also important on three-storey properties. These are just some of many crucial reasons for Building Regulations and why they’re relevant in construction and renovation work.
Therefore, if there’s a requirement for fire protection in the home with glazing, seek the services of a professional supplier and installer. The products available are certified, come with the correct components, seals and glass. These products must be either steel or steel-clad aluminium. There are also fire-rated aluminium doors, windows and screens using specific fire insulation components inserted or mounted in the internal chambers of the aluminium profiles. As well as this, intumescent seals, strips and tapes are used for smoke and fire protection.
In every case, they’re certified and compliant with suitable regulations and British standards, such as BS476 Part 22 or European Standards (EN 1634:1 –2000).
Design and construction of fire-rated steel-look windows and doors
When speaking to a good installer about buying steel look windows, you rely on them for the right products and advice. With fire rated products it’s a little different.
The fire-rating requirement, its resistance to heat or preventing the progress of the fire is down to Building Regulations. Building Control stipulates the requirement. Once you have this, a specialist fire-rated steel-look doors and windows supplier provides the solution. They are not there to determine the level of protection you need. Instead, these specialist installers and products provide a suitable fire-rated product once you know what’s required.
The difference between fire-rated and non fire-rated
Crucially, don’t let basic products with fire-rated glass mislead you. These are standard door sets, aluminium or steel merely fitted with fire-rated glass. They don’t come with certification either.
A correctly designed fire-rated product is one of superb engineering and comes with a lot of work behind it designed for protection and your safety.
Aside from glass, profiles are strengthened and sometimes come with internal reinforcement profiles. As well as this much of the product comes welded not mechanically joined, like aluminium.
Then there is the work done on the hardware. In addition to specialist fire-resistant seals, tapes and brushes, handles and locks may come with extra reinforcement and steel plates. Even the glazing beads holding the glass in place use fire-resistant studs or other fixings. Aluminium beads just clip on! Expanding seals and tapes do so when heated further assisting the protection of the overall screen.
Even the fixings, sealants and accessories used are different from regular doors, usually carried out by expert installers.
You’ll also find stamps and identification throughout the product and especially on the glass panes. In many cases, this is also a Building Regulations requirement.
The difference between fire integrity and fire insulation
European and British Standards classify fire ratings. They usually fall under Fire Integrity and Fire Insulation.
Fire Integrity provides a physical barrer restricting the progress of a fire. This also includes smoke and gasses. Overall fire integrity is there preventing the building from even greater damage.
The requirement for Fire Insulation is there to limit heat transfer from one side of the glazed screen, door or partition to the other. The rationale is also the prevention of fire on the other side of the screen.
These ratings of course, help people escape from a fire and protection the building. In commercial buildings, schools, hospitals, apartment blocks etc, corridors or common areas will have fire-rated product. In many cases doors often have smoke or fire control devices as well as door closing devices.
The product you find come classified with a rating for integrity and insulation, one or both. Numbers then denote how many minutes protection the product comes certified with.
30/0 or E30 = 30 minutes of fire integrity only.
30/30 or EI30 = 30 mixtures of fire integrity and insulation
60/0 or E60 = 60 minutes of fire integrity only.
60/60 or EI60 = 60 mixtures of fire integrity and insulation
Glass used in fire-rated steel-look windows and doors
Pyroguard, Pyrobel, Pyrobelite, Pyrodur and Pyrostop arę just some of the fire-restant glass you’ll find in certified products. Some come mainly as single glass in various thicknesses up to sealed units.
The level of protection also varies by glass type as does its suitability for the product. So it’s not unusual to find glass designed for steel, steel-based or timber products providing fire protection. A professional installer will advise on the right type for your project and to meet Building Control requirements.
Some Suggested Suppliers of fire-rated steel-look windows and doors
There are, of course many suppliers of steel-look fire-rated doors and glazing, but we’ve compiled a list of some of the better known.
It’s also a suggestion that you get in touch with the Steel Windows Association, providing excellent advice on buying steel glazing systems generally.
A well known provider of steel systems, Clement Windows also provides fire-rated doors and screens, they’ve tested and featuring slimline profiles and a modern look.
The best and most luxurious, Crittall® provides Innervision FR bespoke steel glazing systems providing 30 mixtures integrity. These steel systems don’t need the word ‘look’. They are the original and the best in this desirable style. Genuine steel with the most authentic details and flawless construction, not to mention the slimmest sightlines. As well as doors there are fixed screens and made-to-order products.
Crittall® products are available through an approved specialist network.
With a high end product range and a stunning showroom, IQ Glass provides Mondrian Steel Fire-Rated Doors.
These are available as framed or slimline framed products of excellent quality all achieving good levels of fire integrity and insulation. And even better is the option of a thermally insulated product helping to lower energy bills. As well as interior doors, IQ Glass provides a range of exterior fire doors for public buildings, apartment blocks and commercial developments. You’ll also find frameless fire-rated doors.
Symphony Services, trading as ISteel, provide FIRAS certified fire-rated steel-look windows and doorsdoors and windows in the classic style. It’s their own system available with a fire-rated and in multiple styles, colours and designs.
The Janisol range of fire-rated steel-look windows and doors from Schuco brings together two great brands and providing a range of steel look systems. You’ll find windows, doors, facades and products suitable for interior or exterior use.
Based in Luton, Secure House provides a range of contemporary glazing systems. They also provide steel-inspired fire-rated steel-look windows and doors or screens, available with a fire rating of up to 30 minutes.
How much do fire-rated steel-look windows and doors cost?
You can expect to pay substantially more for steel fire-rated internal products than aluminium.
Prices start from around £5500 for a standard size single door and upwards of £7500 for a set of double doors. Doors with sidelights start at around £9000. Aluminium costs less but you’re not comparing a like-for-like product.
More information about fire-rated steel-look windows and doors
Despite this being an aluminium website, it’s clear steel provides the best solution where you require fire-protection inside the home. Choose well, seek advice and you’ll get the protection required with the iconic look of steel, art-deco and heritage designs.
Therefore, the general advice for fire-rated steel look windows and doors that you’ll need steel and a fully certified product. Beware of aluminium products marketed as such unless you can verify their credentials.
Above all, always seek professional advice, use a suitable product and installer and work within the requirements of Building Control.