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  1. #1
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    Default Fire separation wall In attic

    Does the sheetrock seams have to be taped and spackled for a fire separation wall in a condo attic ? Condo was built in 2006, most likely builder was going by the 2003 IRC at the time.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Fire separation wall In attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Morris View Post
    Does the sheetrock seams have to be taped and spackled for a fire separation wall in a condo attic ? Condo was built in 2006, most likely builder was going by the 2003 IRC at the time.
    First things first: "most likely builder was going by the 2003 IRC at the time."

    The IRC (Residential) does not apply to condos, the IBC (Building) applies to condos and apartments. The IRC only applies to a select number of buildings:
    From the IRC:
    - R101.1 Scope.
    - - The provisions of this code shall apply to the ... blah, blah, blah ... of detached one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses not more than three stories above grade ... blah, blah, blah ... and their accessory structures not more than three stories above grade plane in height.

    Now for the second thing: "Does the sheetrock seams have to be taped and spackled for a fire separation wall in a condo attic ?"

    In the IRC, that would be a non-rated separation wall.

    In the IBC, that would be ... "it depends" ...

    Possibly a rated assembly (a wall is a vertical assembly), likely a 1-hour rated wall (notice that I did not say "fire wall" as there are various types of 'walls' and that a "fire wall" is a specific type).

    And if a rated assembly, yes, rated walls are constructed in specific ways to attain the require fire-resistance rating, and the joints would need to be mudded and taped (albeit the work does not need to 'look pretty'). To know what is required, one would need to know what was specified at the time.

    As I recall, some only required unrated separation walls in the attic, in which case it would still have meant mudding and taping the joints, but an access door through the wall would not need to be a rated door (I ran into that several times, and with no rating, the door just had to be self-closing, self-latching, and tight fittings, which meant that 1/2" plywood could be used as the gypsum board was not Type X either).

    And the ceilings of the condo are also likely 1-hour rated assembly (a ceiling is a horizontal assembly). Ceiling are rated as 'floor-ceiling' or 'roof-ceiling' assemblies, and what is above is part of the rating of the assembly.

    My recollection is that each condo unit would have 1/2 hour rated walls assemblies (how is a 1/2 hour rated wall assembly constructed? the same way that a 1 hour rated wall assembly is constructed ... basically the only reason the 1/2 hour rating is that it allows 20-minute rated doors instead of 45-minute rated doors); and each condo would have a 1 hour rate horizontal assembly (floor-ceiling or roof-ceiling depending on it if was top floor or hand another unit above it); and, the condo attic is separated at every two condo units, or 2,000 sf feet (I forget the exact sf) which means that if a two condos exceed the sf area, then the attic separation is at each units walls. The wording is interesting, but it was at two units unless two units exceeded the sf, then at each unit.

    And, being a rated assembly means that the gypsum board is going to be 5/8" Type X, with higher rated assemblies requiring two or more layers to meet the fire-resistance rating.

    http://www.usg.com/content/dam/USG_M...g-en-SA100.pdf

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 03-02-2021 at 07:33 PM. Reason: Separated a long paragraph and clarified that the run-on wording was "it depends"
    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant - Retired
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Fire separation wall In attic

    Ahhh ... I remembered the term I was trying to think of yesterday for the attic area separation: "draftstops" ... instead of "separation walls".

    And the attic area is 3,000 sf instead of 2,000 sf.

    Draftstops do not have a fire-resistance rating.

    That said, there are also locations where the walls serve a purpose of more than just "drafstopping", the walls may also be fire-resistance rated walls.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant - Retired
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Fire separation wall In attic

    I'd guess that the higher ratings--maybe walls leading to exit corridors or stairs--also would require staggered seams in the multiple layers?


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Fire separation wall In attic

    Quote Originally Posted by david shapiro View Post
    I'd guess that the higher ratings--maybe walls leading to exit corridors or stairs--also would require staggered seams in the multiple layers?
    All depends on what the wall is, its purpose, and how it was supposed to have been made.

    If ... that big IF ... if it is a draftstop wall ... not a lot is required, but there is that big "IF", we just don't know what that wall is for.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant - Retired
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Fire separation wall In attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Morris View Post
    Does the sheetrock seams have to be taped and spackled for a fire separation wall in a condo attic ? Condo was built in 2006, most likely builder was going by the 2003 IRC at the time.

    I really like this site. I am trying to Break into this space with my new business Home Inspection Dayton Thank for sharing your knowledge with the group. I am hoping to learn a lot from the collective power of this group.


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