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  1. #1
    brianmiller's Avatar
    brianmiller Guest

    Default Attic areas , garage vs living/condition space

    Is it required for the garage area in the attic to be separated from the conditioned, living space? The photos are from me standing at the garage attic access looking into the upper levels, which is over the living space areas.

    thanks

    b

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Attic areas , garage vs living/condition space

    Quote Originally Posted by brianmiller View Post
    Is it required for the garage area in the attic to be separated from the conditioned, living space?
    Yes ... ... but it is not required to be separated from the attic over the conditioned, living space ... ... provided that there is at least 1/2" drywall on the garage side of the garage ceiling. There should also be at least 1/2" drywall on the garage side of the wall separating the garage from the living space.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
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    Safety Harbor, FL
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    Default Re: Attic areas , garage vs living/condition space

    I run across this quite a bit, no ceiling in the garage with an exposed attic. I point it out to the client and write it up as a potential safety issue. The safety issue being; potential off gasses from autos entering the attic space and AC ducts if they are breached. Fruit rats love our AC ducts!


  4. #4
    Leo Wheeler's Avatar
    Leo Wheeler Guest

    Default Re: Attic areas , garage vs living/condition space

    This is a firewall issue and relates the the fire codes. All common walls between the garage and dwelling are required to have drywall installed from the foundation to the roof line. The exception to this is if the garage ceiling has drywall installed and it must be fire tapped.


  5. #5
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    St. George, UT
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    Default Re: Attic areas , garage vs living/condition space

    This is very common in my area. Almost all garages are finished and the fire wall separation is satisfied by having the garage ceiling drywalled and taped. Another thing that is very common is the attic access in the garage. Code reads this needs to be taped (sealed). This is not enforced by city code inspectors or some will allow the access to be weighted and or latched to keep the access cover in place. I have a canned answer and recommendation to address this because it applies to at least 80% of the homes I inspect.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Attic areas , garage vs living/condition space

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo Wheeler View Post
    This is a firewall issue and relates the the fire codes. All common walls between the garage and dwelling are required to have drywall installed from the foundation to the roof line. The exception to this is if the garage ceiling has drywall installed and it must be fire tapped.
    Not in most codes. It is not a "firewall" issue, it is a "separation" issue - there is a BIG DIFFERENCE between the two.

    There is also no requirement I can recall which states that the 'separation wall/ceiling' "must be fire tapped". This is because that wall is not in any way a "firewall".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
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    Marietta, Georgia
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    Default Re: Attic areas , garage vs living/condition space

    OKay. Well then, how about the attic access, scuttle or pull down stairs in a garage, they, too must meet the minimun separation requirements-right? So, if the garage ceiling is sheetrock, do the pull down stairs need to meet the same standards as the sheetrock through which it penetrates? I see this often, a fully sheetrocked garage except the pull down stairs are just thin plywood and the attic above communicates with the rest of the home's attic space. I call it out as needing similar protection.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Attic areas , garage vs living/condition space

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bronner View Post
    OKay. Well then, how about the attic access, scuttle or pull down stairs in a garage, they, too must meet the minimun separation requirements-right? So, if the garage ceiling is sheetrock, do the pull down stairs need to meet the same standards as the sheetrock through which it penetrates?
    Basically, you re correct in that the attic access needs to be the same minimum 1/2" drywall (5/8" type X when living space is above the garage). A pull down attic stair in the garage would indicate that there is no living space above the garage and thus covering the face of the pull down stair with 1/2" drywall would accomplish that, however, there are, I believe, 20-minute rated stairs which could be used and would not need the 1/2" drywall added to it - there would be ... should be ... a label on the pull down stair stating that it was 20 minute rated.

    Another option would to construct raised around the pull down stair, line that with 1/2" drywall, then install a 1/2" drywall cover over that raised area. If this is done (I have seen this done a few times), then a non-rated pull down stair needs nothing as the separation goes up, over, and around the pull down stair.

    Just a few of the options in addressing pull down stairs, I am sure there are more options than I mentioned.

    I see this often, a fully sheetrocked garage except the pull down stairs are just thin plywood and the attic above communicates with the rest of the home's attic space. I call it out as needing similar protection.
    Yep. Kinda like my house constructed around 1978 - thin paneling covers all the walls in the garage (sure looks nice), but there is no drywall behind that paneling, and the pull down stairs has a thin wood cover.

    I plan to ... eventually ... replace the pull down stair, I do not plan on removing the paneling and installing drywall. Yes, those items were on my inspection report, and yes, like most buyers do I did not do anything about it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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