View Full Version : Fire proofing a garage

06-12-2008, 02:18 PM
Inspected a house today that the owner had taken a third of the garage and enclosed it making it an utility room that now encloses the washer and dryer, wash basin and hot water heater. Actually the hot water heater was sitting on a stand in the original garage but did not have a pan under it which was not necessary since it was in the garage. Now he has it in a enclosed cabinet still on the stand but still without the pan. The door to the garage which now becomes too small for a car unless it is a smart car is a wooden interior door. The walls of the garage are lined with OSB board. Isn't this a fire code violation even if a car cannot be parked in it?


Jim Murphy

Antebellum Home Inspection

Scott Patterson
06-12-2008, 03:25 PM
Any pictures?

Regardless if the WH is in a garage or not it should be in a pan and that pan should have a proper drain so that the items in the garage do not become wet when it fails.

As for the wooden door. If is a solid core 1 3/8" thick or the door is listed as with a 20 min burn time it is OK. If not then it is wrong.

The wall that is common to the home needs to have a min 1/2" gypboard and for the ceiling it needs 5/8" Type X gypboard. Walls that support the ceiling that is common to the home need to be covered with 1/2" gypboard.

06-13-2008, 05:14 AM
Thanks Scott, that is what I thought!

Jim Murphy

Jerry Peck
06-13-2008, 05:47 AM
The wall that is common to the home needs to have a min 1/2" gypboard

Which 'could be' behind the OSB ... however unlikely that is.

and for the ceiling it needs 5/8" Type X gypboard.

Only if there is habitable space above, otherwise it only need 1/2" gypsum board on the ceiling (if the garage / house wall does not continue to the roof deck - which is seldom, if ever, done).

Bob Lynett
06-13-2008, 10:45 AM
So if there is OSB covering the walls to the interior and you can't see the gypsum behind it what do you write it up as, just that you can't determine if it is ther or not?

Jerry Peck
06-13-2008, 11:03 AM
If there are any receptacles or switches in that room, remove a cover plate - you will readily see what was installed. The boxes are required to be flush to, or extend beyond, the surface of the combustible OSB, there are "goof rings" which are approved for being inserted around the receptacle or switch which 'brings the box out' to the surface of the wall.

With gypsum board, the box is allowed to be recessed back no further than 1/4" from the surface of the wall.

That will answer how to address it.

If you did not do that, are still are not sure, state that 'the presence of minimum 1/2" gypsum board behind the OSB board needs to be confirmed, otherwise, install at least 1/2" gypsum board over the OSB and bring all electrical boxes out flush to the surface of the newly installed gypsum board', or wording to that effect.

Steve Frederickson
06-13-2008, 06:59 PM
I would argue that if you really can't park a car in it, then it's not a garage. It's a storage area and could be treated the same as a cellar (no fire-separation requirement). If there's any chance that it could be used as a garage, then it needs to be fire separated from the habitable areas. I don't believe that the code defines what dimensions constitute a garage.