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Condo Attic Firewall

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Waterbury, CT
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[#1] Posted: 12/10/2007 - 11:37:43 AM
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I don't inspect a lot of condos, but this morning I did one. In tha attic, there were firewalls between the units. I did find a hole punched in the drywall, that I believe goes through to the next unit. I believe this is a breech in the firewall, and should be repaired. I guess I'm just looking for confirmation. I don't want to be making mountains out of molehills.
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Condo Attic Firewall
[#2] Posted: 12/10/2007 - 11:58:32 AM
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Hi,

Yes, it should be repaired. A couple of pieces of tape and one swipe with some mud and it's done.

Don't ever second guess yourself and start worrying about whether you're making mountains out of molehills. Just tell the truth.

I've seen folks come on here and say that their ultimate obligation is the to the client - others have come on here and said that their ultimate obligation is to the house, of all things (They get that ridiculous notion from the Carson Dunlop texts). I think that our ultimate obligation is to the truth and nothing else. I won't twist the truth to give the buyer more to use against the seller, and I won't modify the truth to make life easier for the seller or in order for the realtor to sell the home more quickly. If they (buyers, sellers, or reel-tours) want to consider it a mountain made from a molehill I couldn't care less. If I write it, in my mind it's a valid deficiency that needs correcting regardless of how small it is.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Condo Attic Firewall
[#3] Posted: 12/10/2007 - 12:00:13 PM
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A lot of the newer condos here do not have a demising wall. A while back I called the building department, of one municipality, and they said that as long as the ceiling is 5/8 drywall there is no need for a demised wall. With out a demising wall I could pop up into the attic, walk over to the neighbors condo and drop in for a spot of tea. Imagine their surprise.

With regards to the hole in the picture, IMO it's a molehill. I'd mention it but typically there are bigger fish to fry.

Terry



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Waterbury, CT
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Condo Attic Firewall
[#4] Posted: 12/10/2007 - 12:01:26 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by hausdok

Hi,

Yes, it should be repaired. A couple of pieces of tape and one swipe with some mud and it's done.

Don't ever second guess yourself and start worrying about whether you're making mountains out of molehills. Just tell the truth.

I've seen folks come on here and say that their ultimate obligation is the to the client - others have come on here and said that their ultimate obligation is to the house, of all things (They get that ridiculous notion from the Carson Dunlop texts). I think that our ultimate obligation is to the truth and nothing else. I won't twist the truth to give the buyer more to use against the seller, and I won't modify the truth to make life easier for the seller or in order for the realtor to sell the home more quickly. If they (buyers, sellers, or reel-tours) want to consider it a mountain made from a molehill I couldn't care less. If I write it, in my mind it's a valid deficiency that needs correcting regardless of how small it is.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Thanks. I guess I just needed the encouragment today

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Waterbury, CT
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Condo Attic Firewall
[#5] Posted: 12/10/2007 - 12:04:26 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by Terence McCann

A lot of the newer condos here do not have a demising wall. A while back I called the building department, of one municipality, and they said that as long as the ceiling is 5/8 drywall there is no need for a demised wall. With out a demising wall I could pop up into the attic, walk over to the neighbors condo and drop in for a spot of tea. Imagine their surprise.

With regards to the hole in the picture, IMO it's a molehill. I'd mention it but typically there are bigger fish to fry.

Acually, this condo ia about 10 ears old, with really no major problems other than some issues with the furnace and dryer vent. I just believe that the firewall is a pretty important component ( besides for neighbors problem with it)
but I agree with you that it's not a major issue. I wasn't going to tell them to get it taken care of before they take posession. I just wasn't sure how much of an issue it really is.
Thanks, though, for your opinion

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Condo Attic Firewall
[#6] Posted: 12/11/2007 - 07:58:49 AM
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IMO - The hole in the fire wall is not right - so, it is wrong. If you tell them about it, you are doing the right thing. They can decide whether it is important to them or not - you are just the messenger. Reporting it to them is better than the alternative - not reporting it and wishing you did.
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Condo Attic Firewall
[#7] Posted: 12/11/2007 - 10:54:30 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by ctgo4it

I don't inspect a lot of condos, but this morning I did one. In tha attic, there were firewalls between the units. I did find a hole punched in the drywall, that I believe goes through to the next unit. I believe this is a breech in the firewall, and should be repaired. I guess I'm just looking for confirmation. I don't want to be making mountains out of molehills.
Thanks


It's a molehill. Just report it as a molehill and you'll be fine. After all, it's a ten-minute fix.

If anyone argues, I'd ask them to produce a copy of the architect's plans that shows a small circle drawn on the firewall with the accompanying note, "Strike here with hammer to create a 1" hole in the firewall."

BTW, since Walter has been lax, I'm compelled to point out that the word you want is "breach" not "breech." (Unless you're concerned about someone passing butt-first through the hole.)

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Jim Katen, Oregon
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[#8] Posted: 12/11/2007 - 1:22:32 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by Jim Katen

[quote]

BTW, since Walter has been lax, I'm compelled to point out that the word you want is "breach" not "breech." (Unless you're concerned about someone passing butt-first through the hole.)

- Jim Katen, Oregon



I've been sick. Sick over guys -- or is it just one guy -- in another thread repeatedly calling lath "lathe."

Which is meaner: Correcting spelling that's so bad that it would make an educated reader laugh out loud, or ignoring such mistakes and letting the writer look foolish to the customers?

It's always something,
WJ

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Condo Attic Firewall
[#9] Posted: 12/11/2007 - 2:52:57 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by SonOfSwamp

Quote: Originally posted by Jim Katen

[quote]

BTW, since Walter has been lax, I'm compelled to point out that the word you want is "breach" not "breech."

- Jim Katen, Oregon



I've been sick. Sick over guys -- or is it just one guy -- in another thread repeatedly calling lath "lathe."



It's always something,
WJ


At least you weren't being "lacks".

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Elizabethtown, PA
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Condo Attic Firewall
[#10] Posted: 12/21/2007 - 2:25:02 PM
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I saw a very similar scenario yesterday. It was a 4 plex condo and when I went up in the attic, there was 1/2" drywall but no tape/mud at any of the joints. I could see into the adjacent unit's attic through one of the joints. I said to myself 'didn't I just read about this somewhere?'.
Matthew Steger
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Condo Attic Firewall
[#11] Posted: 03/24/2014 - 3:05:51 PM
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Any help would be appreciated...
I'm just a 'laymen'/seller,
our inspector reported a hole in our condo fire wall, square, approx. 24" x24".

It would be a lot easier to fix if it was just drywall, but it's wood! (maybe never intended to be a firewall??)

Built in 1987, City of Phoenix, Arizona.

I tried to access Building Codes but I ran into a lot of 'walls', ha ha.
Any suggestions?
Should I just glue & nail a square of board over it?

Thanks,
Sarah

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Condo Attic Firewall
[#12] Posted: 03/25/2014 - 06:42:08 AM
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Hello Sarah. Since nobody has come on with an answer, I will try. The purpose of the wall is to slow the spread of fire thru the attic.
I think you could use plywood or drywall, since drywall is less flammable than wood. The only limitation I can see is that the piece needs to fit up thru the attic hatch. It should be sealed so air can't easily blow thru the cracks.

The hole was in all likelihood cut by a trades person for access, pulling wire or something like that.
Check with your strata association before doing anything they may find to be in the common area.

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Condo Attic Firewall
[#13] Posted: 03/26/2014 - 10:28:58 AM
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John,

Thank you very much for your response. The more responses that I receive, the more comfortable I am just "repairing/patching" the hole, like my inspector suggested.

It just really surprised me that a firewall would have been made out of wood. In this case, the hole was cut into a 4' x 8' sheet of OSB. So now I'm just deciding whether I am more comfortable/experienced to screw a 30" x 30" patch of OSB or 5/8" gypsum over the hole. It wouldn't be practical to tape and mud the gypsum onto OSB, so I will probably just go with the OSB.

Also, thank you for pointing out that the "patch" will need to fit thru the attic access/opening! Good point! I guess you've ridden in this rodeo before!

Thanks again,
Sarah

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Springfield, NJ
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Condo Attic Firewall
[#14] Posted: 03/26/2014 - 10:54:53 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by SonOfSwamp

<div style="stylequote" id="quoteN">Quote: Originally posted by Jim Katen

[quote]

BTW, since Walter has been lax, I'm compelled to point out that the word you want is "breach" not "breech." (Unless you're concerned about someone passing butt-first through the hole.)

- Jim Katen, Oregon

</div id="quoteN">

I've been sick. Sick over guys -- or is it just one guy -- in another thread repeatedly calling lath "lathe."

Which is meaner: Correcting spelling that's so bad that it would make an educated reader laugh out loud, or ignoring such mistakes and letting the writer look foolish to the customers?

It's always something,
WJ



Hi Walter. Nice to see you are still lurking on this forum.

Steven C. Hockstein, AIA
www.AHMArchitects.com
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Condo Attic Firewall
[#15] Posted: 03/26/2014 - 8:04:23 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by Sarah22

John,

Thank you very much for your response. The more responses that I receive, the more comfortable I am just "repairing/patching" the hole, like my inspector suggested.

It just really surprised me that a firewall would have been made out of wood. In this case, the hole was cut into a 4' x 8' sheet of OSB. So now I'm just deciding whether I am more comfortable/experienced to screw a 30" x 30" patch of OSB or 5/8" gypsum over the hole. It wouldn't be practical to tape and mud the gypsum onto OSB, so I will probably just go with the OSB.

Also, thank you for pointing out that the "patch" will need to fit thru the attic access/opening! Good point! I guess you've ridden in this rodeo before!

Thanks again,
Sarah


If the wall is only made from OSB, it's not a firewall.


Jim Katen, Oregon
www.amipdx.com
   
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