Architects often ask us if they can affix something to a fire rated door and maintain the rating.
- Can we add a protection plate?
- Can we add wood veneer?
- Can we clad it with material to match the wall?
Per NFPA 80, protection plates are allowed as long as they are installed in accordance with the listing. Labeling is not required where the top of the protection plate is not more than 16” above the bottom of the door. Plates above this height could affect the fire performance of the door but are permitted if tested and approved.
Wood veneers are only permissible on fire rated doors when specified within the door assembly’s product certification listing. Veneers of non-combustible materials are more common for hollow metal doors, but must also be specified within the product certification listing.
The easiest way to determine if a veneer or other surface-applied material is acceptable is to check the online product directory of the listing agency (e.g. Intertek [Warnock Hersey], UL, etc.) If you’re not sure who the listing agency is, take a look at the fire door label on the hinge edge of the door.
Don’t risk negating a fire rating. Unless a modification is clearly allowed in NFPA 80, always check with the listing agency before affixing something to a fire rated door.