Smoke gaskets or smoke seals are designed to fill the gaps between a door’s leaf and frame and expand under heat. This gasket system prevents smoke and fire from getting to other parts of your building through infiltration.
They offer a lot to the safety of your building’s design, but are they required? In some situations and types of buildings, gaskets are almost always required. Preventing the passage of smoke and fire to other parts of your building is crucial, and in some cases, life-saving.
Why Smoke Seals Matter
Fire-rated doors are usually required in commercial buildings to meet local building codes. These doors provide protection to building occupants and can offer the safety that’s needed in a fire emergency.
But not all fire doors have the same components, and each part of the assembly — the door, frame, hardware and glazing — needs to be tested to meet fire requirements in local jurisdictions. “These components are not typically required to be supplied by the same manufacturer—in most cases, they can be separate products which are listed, labeled, or classified for use in a fire door assembly,” writes Lori Green for Construction Specifier.
Each component of a fire door is important when it comes to building code, especially when it comes to preventing the infiltration of smoke. “For fire doors and smoke doors in certain locations, the limit for air infiltration is 0.02 m3/(s • m2) or less as tested at a pressure of 0.02 kPa … for most door sizes, this cannot be achieved without smoke gasketing,” explains Green.
Smoke gaskets or seals in a fire door design will help to meet these requirements, but the benefits of a well-sealed fire safety system go beyond meeting building code.
Benefits of Smoke Seals
Fire doors are among several solutions that provide the gasket system needed to meet building code for air infiltration. Doors can help manage the flow of traffic in a building and provide emergency teams with an exit route.
But sometimes fire doors aren’t an option in your design. There are alternate fire and smoke protection products that offer protection from smoke and air infiltration throughout different parts of a building.
Each of these products has different code requirements. Green explains further: “The requirements for smoke doors and fire doors depend on where they are used. For example, smoke barriers, smoke partitions, exit enclosures, and corridors all have varying requirements for smoke and fire resistance, and the applicable code sections must be consulted to see if a limit on air infiltration is established.”
Fire-rated elevator doors offer large commercial buildings an evacuation option during an emergency, and when combined with deployable smoke and fire curtains, offer additional protection from smoke. These curtains can be designed to hide in elevator ceiling frames until they’re deployed, which makes them easier to work with in your design.
Using smoke-rated curtains isn’t just a streamlined solution, they prevent smoke from traveling up through elevator shafts and onto higher building floors. The gasket used on Smoke Guard elevator curtains is made of reinforced, transparent film and creates an airtight seal for the ultimate elevator smoke protection.
In California, architects and building owners are challenged with more stringent life and fire safety requirements for their building designs, especially in multi-family residential and commercial buildings. These high-traffic spaces need ample smoke and fire protection because of the number of building occupants there at any given time.
SG Specialties worked with the homeowners association and the architect of The Ocean Towers project. This high-rise, luxury apartment community needed fire and smoke protection for the existing elevator door jambs.
The magnetic gasket system in the curtain was designed to unfurl onto the elevator frame for an airtight seal. The curtain also eliminated the need for auxiliary rails, met local building code requirements and the existing design of the elevators wasn’t compromised.
Don’t Second Guess Your Building’s Safety
SG Specialties offers architects and building owners fire and smoke curtains that use smoke gasket systems for enhanced safety in your building design. We’ll work closely with your team to build the right fire and smoke safety system, depending on your design needs.
The SG Architectural Specialties team works with customers to design and install Smoke Guard products to ensure the success of your design. We provide in-person maintenance and consultations and offer documentation and maintenance manuals to support your project further.
Reach out today to start on your project!