Wednesday, 25 January 2017

What is Intumescent Material and Why is it used for Fire Doors?

So what is intumescent material?

An intumescent is a material that expands when heated. It is a poor conductor of heat, so it is ideal for fire-proofing applications, including doors. 

In doors these are special strips that are inserted into rebated grooves in the frame. When the fire causes the strip to expand, it essentially glues the door in position around the edges of the frame to stop it distorting and the fire getting through the edges. So this is the key. Fire doors don’t work by the fire literally burning through the door, they will basically fail if the door distorts and bends, letting the fire get through by going around the edges.

The intumescent is nearly always in the frame. The only time you will see it on a door is in a set of double-doors, where the intumescent strips are rebated into the meeting stiles.  If the strips are not put into the frames then you may have no choice but to put them all around the door.

An intumescent strip.

Smoke Seals

Intumescent strips may also come with small brushes sticking out of them. The brushes act as fire door smoke seals. This is for the prevention of smoke passing through the door until the intumescent strip has reached the temperature to be activated. Again these are commonly found in the middle of double-doors, or a garage (because in many parts of the UK, law dictates a garage must be smoke proof straight away. It would help keep out car fumes too)

UK Law regarding Fire Doors

We supply a high percentage of fire doors often up to a bespoke size of 2.4 metres and even 2.7 metres tall, click here to view the doors. Fire doors in a residential scenario are often required for buildings with a adjoining garage door. When the dwelling exceeds two floors either on a new build or even a refurbishment (a loft or basement would count as a floor), then fire doors are required to protect the means of escape. Basically this is to prevent the spread of fire from a room to the stairway. So you would expect most of the bedrooms of the landings and the room around the hallway on the ground floor to be fire doors, normally FD30.

Many years ago most fire doors needed to be self closing, this however was changed in 2007.  This still exists in the regulations in commercial premises and in most apartment entrance doors and communal areas but has been more or less eliminated in the residential market. The only door that may need to be self closing is possible the door to the garage if it adjoins the main house

Lastly comes the burning question excuse the pun: Should fire doors be left open? Obviously not as an open fire door would not be very efficient of containing the fire.

Fire regulations in UK can vary from other areas. Some areas are more strict than others. Our advice is if you are in any double as to what you need to do, you should consult your building control officer or the person responsible for signing off the building

Diagram showing intumescent strip inside a fire door. 

So what does FD30 mean?

Well simply this is that if a fire breaks out in a room the FD30 door on that room is meant to halt the spread of fire from that room for 30 minutes.  Our fire doors have been tested in laboratories to make sure that under a controlled fire test that they withstand the fire breaking through for a least 30 minutes. 

This requires the fire door in conjunction with the correct fire tested hinges, locks, frames and stops made from appropriate material and intumescent material are all arranged in the correct way so the door will hold up to the fire. 

In other words just having a fire door itself is not enough, you will need all these other components to make sure it works. Below is a video showing what happens when intumescent material is reaches the temperate in which it is activated (usually around 170 degrees celsius)

Video from

What are fire doors made of?

Most modern fire doors including outs are made from fire tested solid core material with solid wood lippings. They are made this way as the construction is very stable and wont easily distort in a fire. So can fire doors be made of solid wood? Well I guess no is the answer, as solid wood when put under very high heat situation will distort too much even for the intumescent material to do its job. Most external doors we make are made from a high percentage of solid wood but front doors are never required to be fire rated. Solid wood used in this instance can handle the moisture and external conditions better then a solid-core fire door.

Hinges and hardware

It is also important when hanging the fire door leafs that you are using fire tested hinges and locks - if these fail then the fire will break through. Fire door regulations are set so that  they should have at least three hinges. Taller than standard doors often need four hinges. On the taller doors this has something to do with holding the weight of the doors that are often over 80KG. With standard fire doors that weigh around 60Kg, two fire hinges would carry the load but three are required mainly to prevent the door from distorting or bowing in the middle. In most fire tests usually the hinges have intumescent pads behind them and so do the locks and latches.

With our pre-hung door sets you don’t have to worry about this as all the correct intumescent material has been put into the frames and around the locks and behind the hinges already.

Monday, 12 December 2016

High Security Doors

What makes a door 'high security' and why would I ever need one? Although all external doors supplied by SolidWoodenDoors are 'Secure By Design' as standard, employing security hinges quality locks, clients may opt to take their security several notches higher. A High Security Door is usually a combination of materials and parts not normally found in a standard front door: typically a metal core and striking bolts that secure into the frame. It is important to have some level of security to your entrance door, since they are a burglar's first choice for a point of entry during a break-in. It is surprisingly easy to simply wedge a crowbar into the lock of a cheap door, generating enough force to either bow the frame or push the strike-plate through the wood.

Windows are also another favourite amongst criminals, especially during the summer when people leave them open. The advantages of your home having a security door can be let down by a cheap window frame.

That being said, in the UK 73% of burglars will go through the door, which is left open in 3% of cases. A burglar will search the vicinity for possible spare keys hidden somewhere, then proceed to force their way through the door. 

A burglar doesn't want to draw much attention, so a well-protected door can be enough to deter them away. There have been instances of High Security doors and 'Secure by Design' doors in the past with extensive damage caused by a would-be burglar, but evidently given up after taking too long and making too much noise presumably. Breaking a window as well could be a choice of getting caught or not!

At, we take pride in offering the highest possible standards in both aesthetics and functionality. It makes insurers particularly happy to hear that secure locks have been included into a house, bringing down the costs of premiums. High security door supplied by us may also come with some advanced features such as fingerprint scanners, motorised locks and remote controls. 

SolidWoodenDoors provides European Standard ENV 1627 Level 2, 3 and 4 doors which can resist attacks from today's most persistent criminals. Our security doors are the result of numerous tests conducted at the famous IFT Rosenheim testing laboratories in Germany. For any further information, please get in touch with one of our showrooms. Further information may also be found at:

Friday, 28 October 2016

Solid Wood vs Solid Core

It wasn't too long ago that all doors were made from pieces of wood. Times have since changed, and in recent years many doors are now supplied veneered with various types of composite cores. SolidWoodenDoors began life selling hardwood doors only, but have since shifted away from this method of construction; all of our internal doors are now veneered or MDF facing. There are two main reasons for this: consumer demand and fire regulations:

Consumer Demand

We have entered an era where many people see doors as contemporary pieces of furniture. For example, demand for completely flush doors has risen over the years recently. Pictured below is our model L505, and simply is not possible to make a door like this from a single piece of wood, because simply aren't big enough!

To get a mirror-like glossy finish, a door would ideally have to be quite stable. Warping would cause the beautiful gloss-coating to crack, which would be an awful shame!

Traditional hardwood doors would almost always fall victim to warping over time, making it a nuisance to close doors that had misaligned themselves over the years. 

It's also worth noting that some people want a painted door with a perfectly smooth finish (no wood grain). MDF is perfect for this.

Our model L505 

Pictured is a piece of painted hardwood, with the glossy paint having cracked over time.

Fire Regulations

Most homes across the country now require fire doors if there are three floors or more (but this does depend on your local authority). For example, a basement, ground floor and first floor would probably need fire doors in ares where the fire could spread, i.e. hallways. 

Funnily enough, a solid timber door simply cannot withstand a fire long enough, being made of wood and all. However, a veneered door with a specialist type of chipboard mixed with chemicals may be fire rated over 30 or 60 minutes depending on the thickness. 45mm would last a minimum of 30 minutes and a 55mm door would survive longer than 60. 


Solid core doors really are the way forward, the plethora of advantages they offer have rendered timber doors obsolete. An walnut-veneered door will look identical to a timber equivalent. Solid wood hasn't been ditched altogether though, our doors typically have 20-25mm thick lippings all around, which is a bit more generous than most other doors in the current market. This is important for screwing in locks and hinges, as chipboard is not ideal for this.

Despite all this, our external doors are still made from solid wood and always will be! The joints and general construction of our front doors allow for movement, which is simply unavoidable, especially in the Great British weather!

Friday, 23 September 2016

Bi-Folding and Sliding Doors

Bi-Folding and Sliding Doors are both aesthetically pleasing and also serve specific purposes. 

Sliding Doors

Sometimes an entrance has to be placed in a somewhat awkward position in a home, where a hinged door being opened could cause obstruction, or just use up precious space. However, many of our clients like to be creative and specify sliding doors simply for the looks. 

The picture below demonstrates this, as a sliding door matches perfectly the modern decor. Please excuse the exposed timber, the plasterer had yet to come when the photos were taken! 

Bi-Folding Doors

Sometimes an extra large opening is required, where it'd be impossible to make a door that wide! Well, even if someone did make a door that wide, it'd be hugely impractical trying to open and close it. This is where bi-folding doors come in handy. Although technically pictured below is a "tri-folding" door, the term "bi" is almost always colloquially used. 

SolidWoodenDoors supplied and fitted these folding doors for a basement games/ cinema room. The doors would ensure the room doesn't allow any light to pass through for movie experiences, but having them completely opened would create the illusion of there being much more space for casual events or parties. 

If you'd like to discuss possibly installing sliding or folding doors into your home, please get in touch and we'll be more than happy to assist you.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Leather Panelled Doors

Leather Panelled Doors

Leather panelled doors are a somewhat unique feature that has been cropping up in homes lately, supplied and fitted by SolidWoodenDoors. 

Although upon first hearing the term 'leather panelled', one would instantly assume a classic door, perhaps Georgian with leather in each panel. This would rather strange, as usually the only doors to make use of this feature are the ones with a single column of panels stacked on top of each other, just like in the example pictures below.

All of our leather panels are hand-made in the UK, if you'd like to find out more or see some examples in person, please get in touch and SWD will be happy to talk you through the various options! All of our doors may be fire-rated to FD30.

R108 High Gloss Walnut

Click here to view case study
Click here to view door model
Pictured here is 'distressed leather', which gives an aged look. Combined with the high-gloss finish on walnut, this door perhaps gives a mixture of modern and classic elements. Although, having a lever on a square back-plate would make one be more inclined to call this a modern door overall. 

R108 Dark Stained Oak

Case study coming soon
Another contemporary leather panelled door. 

R109 Crocodile Skin

Click here to view door model
Click here to view case study
Although crocodile skin was banned many years ago, it is still possible to achieve the effect, creating quite a realistic imitation. 

Friday, 9 September 2016

The Importance of Fitting Fire Doors Correctly

Fire doors are engineered to withstand fires for a certain period. In the UK, many houses now require fire-rated doors, usually any doors that lead to the hallway (where a fire can spread). The minimum period of time the doors must withstand fires is usually 30 minutes, which translates to the code 'FD30'. In some cases, 'FD60' may be specified, which would last 60 minutes.

Any door with an FD30 rating would be typically 45mm in thickness. Usually these doors would be identical to their non fire-rated counterparts, but some slight differences can be noticed. This is usually to do with panels, as they have to be a certain thickness in order to keep the rating.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that getting the doors with an FD30 rating is only half of the bigger picture. Installing these doors correctly is an absolute must - otherwise the effectiveness of withstanding a fire could be dramatically reduced.

The video below (courtesy of the British Woodworking Federation) demonstrates exactly this point. Three fire doors are being burned, but only one of them was fitted correctly.

Although all the doors are fitted with the correct gap (no more than 3mm), the video demonstrates that overlooking any other minor details can have significant consequences.

Solid Wooden Doors are able to supply and correctly install fire doors, whether it's part of a refurbishment or a new build. Using the link below, you may see our range of various designs, with each product able to have an FD30 rating where specified.

You may browse our full range using the link below:

Monday, 15 August 2016

Doors that look Royale in any property

Theres a whole host of white primed doors one can choose for a house or development and one that is popular is the Royale (N311 with SWD) range. Pictured below is the Royale with silver ironmongery:

Royale door range

Stylish in its look yet perfectly modern, the Royale is a great choice in a new build or more traditional property.

Royale double doors