Builder made fire door suggestions...?

I ran into an improvised metal clad door, seperating the garage from the living areas. The owner said, ‘it was like that when they bought the house.’ This was 25 years ago. Since my home inspections aren’t code inspections, is there a safety concern or helpful avice with a door like this? Or leave it alone?




I’d write it as unorthodox fire separation door.
Unable to determine burn thru rating.

If it is “field engineered” and not officially UL Listed or Rated then it will provide a false sense of security. I’d definitely write that up as being deficient.

I’ve seen that on older homes with wood doors before Tom , but never on the inside…just outside only…would make you at least want to write something about a truly ugly door in Laundry area…jim

Thx Jim. FYI, this photo was taken from the garage side.


Other than the metal side visible in the picture, were there any other visible materials for the door (wood for example)? If the metal is covering wood it becomes a conductor of heat and may cause combustion to occur in the living area of the home through conduction in the event of a fire in the garage.

What is the door frame made of? Even if the door were a labeled fire rated door, if the door frame is made of non fire resistive material, it has compromised the fire rating of the door assembly and basically nullified any fire resistive protection that the door would have provided.

Finally, any self-closing devices in the door assembly? Without self closing devices the door may be accidentally left open allow fire and the products of combustion (smoke, carbon monoxide, and so on) to migrate into the home unhampered.

IMO, if any of the above were observed I would write it as a safety concern where the door and its associated components may not provide for adequate protection from fire and the products of combustion. I would recommend repair or replacement with an appropriate fire rated door and door assembly.

From my experiece in north california this is common installation thru the 60’s. The only requirement was a 26 gauge metal sheet over the entire door. I always recommend upgrade with weatherstripping and self-closing hinges.

Mark Thorman
Mark Thorman Home inspections

I commented, that the inspector could not evaluate the effectiveness of the field engineered door, and recommended further evaluation by a qualified contractor. Something like that.

Thanks everyone… I was concerned I was splitting hairs.


Tom, It might be fine but without NRTL marking or a standard allowing this construction, what good is it. Good call.

well that at least makes a lot more sense…thanks…jim

1927 building code requires self-closing, metal clad (26 gauge) at garage dooto living space.

Mark Thorman
Mark Thorman Home Inspections

I see these often as well. Generally it’s a solid wood door with a sheet metal cover. No problem.

As far as I can determine only the doors that are not solid wood 1 /38 in. min. or metal clad are required to be fire-rated.

Mark Thorman Home Inspections

If the frame is wood how is the door Protecting the rest of the house.? Self closing is a must have. I would recomend a metal frame with a fire rated self closing door. Good call I beleive that this type of door fosters a false feeling of safety.

Patrick:roll: :roll:

In 80 years of building codes no mention is made of the requirement for the door jamb other than tight fitting. To recommend beyond that is your choice but it is not the industry standard.

That depends on the local AHJ.

My understanding of the firewall and door to dwelling rules are they are in place to buy time. The firewall is one hour and the door to dwelling is 20 min. I’m going to defer to the code guys to determine what is needed to achieve those goals. In 5000 inspections I have seen a handful of metal jambs. Unless I can change the standards I’m sticking to them.