What Are the Best Fire-Rated Windows and Doors?
Fires can ravage entire swaths of land in a matter of hours. In recent years, the Western portion of the United States has fallen victim to wildfires that consumed entire neighborhoods without slowing down. That’s why homeowners are wising up to Mother Nature and becoming more and more prepared in any efforts to fire-proof certain home features. Here are the best fire-rated windows and doors.
There’s more science behind having double-pane windows line your house than you’d think, and it might make you reconsider getting them despite their extra cost. Yes, double-pane windows are more expensive than their single-pane counterpart, as you are paying for that extra layer of glass, but it’s well worth it. While these windows aren’t designed to be fireproof, they can tremendously aid in slowing down a fire.
California is no stranger to wildfires, so when the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection recommends double-pane windows, it’s worth looking into. The outer layer will typically break when there’s a fire, but the inner layer will remain unscathed. Two panes can mean that the glass heats up evenly, as the heat is better distributed with the inner layer slow to heat up than the outer layer of glass, which helps it resist cracking.
If you’re looking for windows that are fire-rated, start with the glass panes. Specifically, the single-pane brand Pyrostop, sold by dealers like Pilkington. These panes are rated to withstand a fire for up to two hours of constant burning.
Thanks to its intelligently engineered design, the glass transforms when subjected to intense heat, to what’s described as a “hard foam structure.” In short, the science behind this almost magical transformation is its heat-absorbing material that’s joined overtop the pane. It’s a clear layer, so it doesn’t obstruct your pane’s crystal-clear view, either.
If you want the aesthetics of a wood door and need something that’s fire-rated, you’re in luck. JELD-WEN makes a 20-minute fire-rated wood door. Now you can have the natural beauty of wood without worrying about its susceptibility to catching fire and spreading flames. JELD-WEN’s wood doors are constructed with a thick fire-resistant core, so you can still enjoy the natural wood and have your fire-rating, too.
Steel Garage Door
Fire-rated windows and doors don’t just stop on the interior of your home, you also need to pause a minute and weigh your options for your entry doors and garage doors. Your garage door is significant because of its sheer size and how much you depend on its movable features to protect the vulnerable opening of your home.
Steel is a fire-rated material that makes for an excellent, durable garage door. Not only is steel a more protective and longer-lasting material for your garage door, but specially designed steel garage doors can be fire-resistant for certain lengths of time.
Heat-resistant material bonds the steel outer panels together, like for Wayne-Dalton’s 9000 series steel garage doors, whose polyurethane insulation prevents the spread of flames and reduces billowing smoke.
Steel Entry Doors
Speaking of steel, if you’re after fire-rated doors throughout your home, try to use steel in as many places as possible. Just as fire protection experts—steel is the most effective material against fires, even beating out other durable materials like wood or fiberglass. ThermaTru Doors makes a steel entry door that’s rated for 90-minutes of fire protection, which can allow you ample time to escape your home if there’s ever a worst-case scenario.
When shopping for fire-rated windows and doors, you’ll come across similar materials: steel, timber, aluminum, glass are among the most commonly used combination of resources for fire-resistance. When in doubt, make sure to ask the manufacturer about the specifics of how your product was tested to earn its fire-rating and they should provide you with detailed certifications.
For a fire-rated door to earn its rating, the slab and the door frame must both meet the requirements. And the fire-rating is more than the door itself, it also expands to the seals and door’s hardware. The strip and door’s gaskets must be able to prevent the passage of smoke or expand when exposed to heat, and the hardware must have automatic closing, gas and smoke seals, and positive latching mechanisms.
Windows must be tested to meet their fire-ratings, and most manufacturers will conduct a heat test where the product is exposed to high temperatures. Some fire-rated windows even undergo tests to ensure they can withstand extreme changes in temperature. Ask your manufacturer about the tests your new fire-rated windows have performed.
Better Safe than Sorry
If you live in an area prone to rapidly spreading wildfires, consider getting fire-rated windows and doors. A fire can destroy a home within minutes, but a few preventative measures can mean precious time in a dire situation that demands it.
Buy Fire-Rated Windows and Doors
For quality windows and doors, Feldco has helped over 400,000 homeowners across the Midwest. Don’t settle for second best, choose Feldco as the #1 window and door company in the Midwest. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote online today.