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Fire wall separation.


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This was a first for me. The bottom of the barrel builder only puts sheetrock on the wall between the garage and home. Everything else is left open, including the ceiling that leads into the attic of the home.

The only thing I've been able to find in the IRC is the requirement between the garage and home. I couldn't really find anything else that said they couldn't have this type of set up. Is there someplace in the IRC that I'm overlooking? How about another "industry standard"? I'm calling it out as a fire hazard anyway but I'd like some reference to back me up.

BTW, there are no AHJ's in our counties, so this builder is doing just about anything he wishes.


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Check the International Residential Building Code-2000. (I have the NJ Edition so it may be a little different).

Section R309-Garages and Carports.

R309.2 Separation

(below is paraphrased)

A 1-hour rated fire separation is required between attached garage and living areas if there is living space above. At the minimum, the garage needs to be completely separated with 1/2 inch Gypsum board or equivilant applied on the garage side between the garage and adjacent interior and attic spaces.

Hope this helps

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Thanks everyone,

I think I found what I was needing. I've been looking right past it for a while.

R309.2 Separation required.

The garage shall be separated from the residence and its attic area by not less than 1/2-inch (12.7 mm) gypsum board applied to the garage side. Where the separation is a floor-ceiling assembly, the structure supporting

the separation shall also be protected by not less than 1/2-inch (12.7 mm) gypsum board or equivalent.

This was a cheap ass built home. The 2x6 #3 grade SYP rafters spanned 14 feet in a couple places. This builder left out as much as he could. Sadly, in this part of the county, his business is booming. He finances his own homes with a ridiculous interest rate. He has his own "in house" appraiser and his company guarantees the homes appraises for 10k less than the selling price.

My clients were a young couple who could not make the insepction, so they asked their mom and dad to show up. I simply stated to them that for the asking price (87,000 for 1300sf) their kids could find a helluva lot better built used home in the area.

I simply do not understand the need to have a "new" home no matter the quality. People in this area are paying 20 grand on up for a new home because they get a few more square feet. Example, last week I inspected a 3200 sf home built in 1973. The home was in an older neighborhood and for its age, it really wasn't in bad shape. It had some really nice custom cabinets and wood flooring plus all the cool trim work. Asking price of 169k. The next day, I did a brand new "starter" home of 4200 sf. A piece of junk from its single 5 ton A/C to its damaged trusses and the leaking plumbing on the linoleum floors. These homes will be rental units in 15 years or less.

Okay, I'm off my soap box now.


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Keep in mind the garage and the house need to be completely seperated and this is not only true in new construction but also in older homes. A often missed issue is the garage connected by a screened in breezeway. And this is sometimes an add on issue. A detached garage that has been connected by a breezeway

does need to be protected up to the underside of the roof decking. To be safe the breezeway should be blocked at each end and not just at the house connection point but always where the breezeway connects to the garage.

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  • 7 months later...
  • 1 year later...

Is it true that the drywall joints (seperating garage and living area) must be taped and mudded to keep vapors from going from garage to living and it also aids in slowing down the rate the fire spreads? Twice this week I have inspected garages that have firerated drywall hung, but the joints are unfinished. I've recommend taping/muding the walls, but don't have a reference to fall back on. Thoughts anyone...

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