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  1. #1
    ken topka's Avatar
    ken topka Guest

    Default Fire Separation Wall

    Hello all, new to the forum. I have a general question about "fire walls" or separation walls. I have an attached two story garage, the inspector came about two weeks ago and pointed out some things the contractor already fixed. He also told me I needed to drywall the entire "common" wall between the house and the garage with standard 1/2" drywall, and install a fire rated door. All this has been done, by me. This is a new garage. The garage is "empty" the walls and ceilings are uninsulated, and the spare room above the garage is just for storage. So I hung all this drywall, all the way up to the peak of my Cape Cod style house, finished it with one coat, used intumescent caulk to seal all the penetrations, and installed a windowless, 1 3/8" thick steel honeycomb door from the garage into the kitchen. There is nothing else special about the wall. The old door had a window in it. The questions are, why did he tell me to use only 1/2" drywall? Everytime I'm in the store, I can't help but look at the 5/8" "fire rated" stuff and wonder if I misunderstood! That would be awful! Second question, the door. OK, or not OK? I saw other doors there that specified a 20 minute fire rating, but the one I chose did not. However I was under the impression it would be OK, due to no window, steel construction, and 1 3/8" thickness. Thanks in advance for any advice, I think I'm OK, just looking for a little confidence boost before I call him for another inspection!

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: Fire Separation Wall

    Here is the verbiage from the 2006 IRC that Jerry P. posted in a previous thread:

    - SECTION R309
    - - GARAGES AND CARPORTS

    - - - R309.1 Opening protection.

    Openings from a private garage directly into a room used for sleeping purposes shall not be permitted. Other openings between the garage and residence shall be equipped with solid wood doors not less than 13/8 inches (35 mm) in thickness, solid or honeycomb core steel doors not less than 13/8 inches (35 mm) thick, or 20-minute fire-rated doors.


    "Openings from a private garage directly into a room used for sleeping purposes shall not be permitted."
    There is EXTENSIVE discussion on this subject if you use the search feature, you can glean more information than you probably would ever want!

    Good luck!

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  3. #3
    ken topka's Avatar
    ken topka Guest

    Default Re: Fire Separation Wall

    Yes Jim, I have gleaned much information from the other posts, as you mentioned. It's how I found this informative site. I'm an engineer by trade, and we engineery types tend to be a bit redundant!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
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    Default Re: Fire Separation Wall

    Quote Originally Posted by ken topka View Post
    the inspector came about two weeks ago and pointed out some things the contractor already fixed. He also told me I needed to drywall the entire "common" wall between the house and the garage with standard 1/2" drywall, and install a fire rated door.
    I'm not sure what context you're speaking of the 'inspector' - if it's the local building authority then follow his direction as he's the one granting the pass/fail permit.

    If it's a general home inspector he's speaking way out of turn designing a fix such as this and is likely not long for this profession.

    Given your description of the door that was in place I'm guessing the house is older. If so, in most cases a HI's recommendations are just that, recommendations.... nothing 'required' - keeping in mind that the buyers of a house can ask for and you can agree to anything.

    So, if you agreed to provide a 'proper' firewall and the inspector told you how to do it and he was wrong (as it appears he may have been) - He's got some 'splainin to do


  5. #5
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Fire Separation Wall

    Quote Originally Posted by ken topka View Post
    Yes Jim, I have gleaned much information from the other posts, as you mentioned. It's how I found this informative site. I'm an engineer by trade, and we engineery types tend to be a bit redundant!
    He meant the threads and posts on this sight.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Fire Separation Wall

    Quote Originally Posted by ken topka View Post
    I have a general question about "fire walls" or separation walls.
    You say that as the two are one and the same, they are not.

    A fire-resistance rated assembly will require the use of 5/8" Type X gypsum board, maybe even more than one layer, depending on the fire rating of the assembly. "Fire walls" serve specific purposes, and that is not a "fire wall".

    "Separation", on the other hand, is not intended to give it a fire-resistive rating, only to create "separation" between the two different occupancies.

    Your use of 1/2" gypsum board for the "separation" wall is adequate to meet minimum code. If you had used 5/8" Type X, that would be even better, thought not required. That is, unless you had living space above the garage, then a different requirement comes into play, and that requirement does require 5/8" Type X gypsum board - but your description does not require that.

    and installed a windowless, 1 3/8" thick steel honeycomb door from the garage into the kitchen.
    Weather stripped, threshold, just like an exterior door, right? (Hopefully, yes, because that is required.)

    The questions are, why did he tell me to use only 1/2" drywall?
    Because that is all the code requires for a "separation" wall.

    I saw other doors there that specified a 20 minute fire rating, but the one I chose did not. However I was under the impression it would be OK, due to no window, steel construction, and 1 3/8" thickness.
    Correct, there are 3 choices: you get to pick option 1), *or* 2), *or* 3) ...

    1) a fire rated door

    2) a wood non-fire rated door

    3) a metal non-fire rated door.

    Then the code gives specifics on those options: again, the options are 1), *or* 2), *or* 3) ...

    1) a "20 minute" "fire rated door"

    2) a "1-3/8" solid" wood non-fire rated door

    3) a "1-3/8" solid or honeycomb" steel non-fire rated door

    From your description, it sounds like you "done good", however, ...

    ... if you are in a state which has contractor licensing, and, if your state's contractor licensing is similar to that of Florida, then - bad news - you are not allowed to do the work, you have to hire licensed contractors.

    The reason is this: As a homeowner, you have the right to work on *YOUR* house, and kill or injure *YOUR* family as you so wish, BUT, since your house was "for sale", it was no longer just "your house which *YOUR* family would be living in", but a house which someone else's family would be living in, and, unless you are licensed, you have no right to work on a house *MEANT* for someone else.

    In Florida, you, the homeowner, can do the work, as long as it meets code, and, *as long as*:

    1) it is not for sale

    2) it is nor for lease or rent

    3) it is not offered for sale within 1 full year from you doing the work

    4) it is not offered for lease or rent within 1 full year from you doing the work

    You do the work, historical failures indicates that the failure will occur within that first year, if the house survives your work for that first year, then (presuming permits were pulled, work was done in accordance with the code, inspections were made, etc.), it is presumed to 'be okay for another family to occupy' ... and you escape the "acting as an unlicensed contractor" problem.

    If the house is yours and you are "going to keep it", so be it.

    However, if you "are not going to keep it", it really is not just *your* life and the lives of *your* family being put at risk, and the state's job is to protect "the public", with your buyer being a member of "the public".

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

  7. #7
    ken topka's Avatar
    ken topka Guest

    Smile Re: Fire Separation Wall

    Jerry and all,

    Thanks for all the great information. Per your information, I have verified what I thought. I should be OK, the "MAN" is coming in two days. The house is not on the market, no future owners will be "destroyed" or "decimated" by my "shoddy" work....We are staying put, God willing. LOL I get where you are coming from man, thanks again for the great information!

    Last edited by ken topka; 09-15-2008 at 06:20 PM. Reason: Clarification

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