We get asked from time to time; what is the difference between smoke seals and intumescent strips? Here we will provide you with some clarification on the differences as well as where and how to use them appropriately.
An Intumescent Strip
How it works: An intumescent strip is chemically designed to expand when exposed to extreme heat. This strip is usually placed around door frames. Once a fire breaks out in a room, the heat causes the strip to expand and seal the gap around the frame in order to contain the fire-giving you enough time to escape and call your nearest fire department.
Why it’s important: Not only does an intumescent strip protect you from a fire, but it also minimises damage to the building. It does this by containing the fire to one area-preventing it from spreading.
How it differs from a smoke seal: Whereas a smoke seal is for blocking smoke, an intumescent strip swells up when exposed to heat.
A Smoke Seal
How it works: Smoke seals are placed between the door frame and the door on all sides. These seals will stop smoke passing through the gaps so that the rest of the building is not affected by heavy smoke.
Why it’s important: Smoke inhalation kills more people than fires do. This is an effective means of preventing this from happening.
How it differs from an intumescent strip: A smoke seal is placed in the same places as an intumescent strip, but it is always visible. While the intumescent strip blocks off the fire itself, the smoke seal is designed to only block smoke-protecting you from smoke inhalation.
Can The Two Work Together?
Smoke seals and intumescent strips can indeed work well together. Certain variations of intumescent strips include smoke seals as part of their makeup:
- Standard intumescent strip and smoke seal: A regular fire and smoke seal will be fitted to a fire door. This will prevent both fire and smoke from seeping through the sides or bottom of the door. These seals come in various colours so as to match the colour of the door you have, hiding the seals as best possible.
- Hygienic fire and smoke seal: This seal is popular for its easy-to-clean benefits. A simple wipe with a wet cloth will remove any dirt or dust and keep the seals looking like new. A great choice for hospitals, schools, and businesses.
- Fire, smoke and draught seal: This seal is designed differently to the standard fire and smoke seals. Instead of a nylon brush, a single or double blade is in place to add a draught-blocking benefit to your door.
Containing a fire to one room reduces the risk to life and damage to property, allowing plenty of time for people to evacuate safely and fire the fire service to arrive to handle the threat. Lots of products go into maintaining this compartmentalisation, but doors are often the weak link.
With a closed fire door, you can still manage to maintain normal access between rooms in your premises, and intumescent strips seal the gap between the door and frame in the event of a fire.