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  1. #1
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    Nov 2022
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    ga
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    Default insulation exposed in garage

    Viewed a nice rental home, however, the garage ceiling is missing sheetrock. I don't know a lot about these things, so I'm unaware if it has a sprinkler system. I can tell you that a room is above the garage. My concern and question; would it be unsafe to walk in and out of the garage or be in there for long periods with the insulation being exposed like it is. I've attached a photo link of what the garage looks like. I don't want to move into a home like this if it's unsafe for my family and I. I appreciate any and all help. Thank you

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/y7mMCMGqFTPTARRY8

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  2. #2
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    Mar 2007
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    Fletcher, NC
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    Default Re: insulation exposed in garage

    With insulation, it is the facing which, when left exposed is the fire hazard. In the photos, no facing was left exposed.

    Is this relatively new construction (within the last 20-30 years, or is the house older.

    The building code at the time of construction may have allowed what is shown, or may have required things to have been done differently than is shown (it looks 'newer' in the photos rather than 'older').

    I see other things, other than the insulation, which may not have been done to code ... depending on the code.

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: insulation exposed in garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    With insulation, it is the facing which, when left exposed is the fire hazard. In the photos, no facing was left exposed.

    Is this relatively new construction (within the last 20-30 years, or is the house older.

    The building code at the time of construction may have allowed what is shown, or may have required things to have been done differently than is shown (it looks 'newer' in the photos rather than 'older').

    I see other things, other than the insulation, which may not have been done to code ... depending on the code.

    The home was built 2021. If you don't mind me asking, what do you see that poses a possible code violation? Also, do you think it would be unsafe to be in the garage for long periods of time in terms of breathing in the air in that room with it being exposed?

    Thank you again

    Last edited by Ms Wilson; 11-09-2022 at 11:34 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: insulation exposed in garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Ms Wilson View Post
    The home was built 2021.
    From the Georgia Building Codes listed here: https://up.codes/viewer/georgia/irc-...ing-planning#3
    Georgia uses the 2018 International Residential Code (IRC), with Amendments. Note: I found Amendments to the Building Code and other codes, but not to the IRC, and, under special conditions, local amendments are allowed - check with the local Building Department to clarify what the Georgia Residential Code requirements are (Georgia Amendments and local amendments).

    The ducts in the garage loo like flexible ducts, not metal ducts:
    - R302.5.2 Duct Penetration
    - - Ducts in the garage and ducts penetrating the walls or ceilings separating the dwelling from the garage shall be constructed of a minimum No. 26 gage (0.48 mm) sheet steel or other approved material and shall not have openings into the garage.

    There is no drywall separating the garage from the dwelling (the living space). Is there living space above the garage? If so, the drywall between the garage and the living space above is specified as being a fire-resistant type (Type X) and the walls supporting that space above are also required to be protected by drywall (not are not required to have Type X for their protection.
    - R302.6 Dwelling-Garage Fire Separation
    - - The garage shall be separated as required by Table R302.6. Openings in garage walls shall comply with Section R302.5. Attachment of gypsum board shall comply with Table R702.3.5. The wall separation provisions of Table R302.6 shall not apply to garage walls that are perpendicular to the adjacent dwelling unit wall.
    - - TABLE R302.6
    - - - DWELLING-GARAGE SEPARATION
    - - - - From the residence and attics ...[by]... Not less than 1/2-inch gypsum board or equivalent applied to thegarage side
    - - - - From all habitable rooms above the garage ...[by]... Not less than 5/8-inch Type X gypsum board or equivalent
    - - - - Structure(s) supporting floor/ceiling assemblies used for separation required by this sectiona ...[by]... Not less than 1/2-inch gypsum board or equivalent

    (note a)
    a - Separation of floor/ceiling assemblies is not required in garages protected by an automatic sprinkler system that meets the following criteria:
    - 1 - The sprinkler system shall be connected to a reliable water supply system with or without an automatic operated pump.
    - 2 - A piping system serving both sprinkler and domestic needs shall be acceptable.
    - 3 - Ordinary-temperature-rated residential or quick response sprinklers (135?F to 170?F [57?C to 77?C]) with a 1/2-inch (13 mm) orifice shall be installed.
    - 4 - The minimum operating pressure of any residential or quick response sprinkler shall be 7 psi (0.5 bar).
    - 5 - Walls that resist the passage of smoke shall separate the sprinklered compartment from any other space(s). Openings in this wall shall be regulated by Section R302.5.
    - 6 - The maximum area protected by a single sprinkler head shall not exceed 144 ft2 (13.4 m2).
    - 7 - The maximum distance between sprinklers shall not exceed 12 feet (3.7 m).
    - 8 - The maximum distance to a wall or partition shall not exceed 6 feet (1.8 m).
    - 9 - The minimum distance between sprinklers within a compartment shall be 8 feet (2.4 m).
    - 10 - Pendent and upright sprinkler heads shall be positioned so that the deflectors are within 1 to 4 inches (25.4 to 102 mm) below framing.
    - 11 - Sprinkler heads shall be located on a looped piping configuration.
    - 12 - Minimum pipe size, including that for copper, listed chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), and polybutylene (PB) piping shall be 3/4-inch (19 mm).
    - 13 - Garage doors in the open position shall not interfere with the operation of a sprinkler head.
    - 14 - A smoke alarm detector shall be installed in accordance with Section R314.


    My recommendation is to take your photos and the above code sections, including where the code sections are from, to your local building department and ask the Building Official if there are Georgia and Local Amendments which apply to these items, and if what your photos show is code compliant construction.

    I am guessing that it is not (based on what I found), however, if they have adopted amendments (official, published, and state or locally adopted as law or ordinance), then those amendments would be applicable over what I found in the Georgia Residential Code.

    I doubt that there are amendments for such, but it is a possibility.

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: insulation exposed in garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    From the Georgia Building Codes listed here: https://up.codes/viewer/georgia/irc-...ing-planning#3
    Georgia uses the 2018 International Residential Code (IRC), with Amendments. Note: I found Amendments to the Building Code and other codes, but not to the IRC, and, under special conditions, local amendments are allowed - check with the local Building Department to clarify what the Georgia Residential Code requirements are (Georgia Amendments and local amendments).

    The ducts in the garage loo like flexible ducts, not metal ducts:
    - R302.5.2 Duct Penetration
    - - Ducts in the garage and ducts penetrating the walls or ceilings separating the dwelling from the garage shall be constructed of a minimum No. 26 gage (0.48 mm) sheet steel or other approved material and shall not have openings into the garage.

    There is no drywall separating the garage from the dwelling (the living space). Is there living space above the garage? If so, the drywall between the garage and the living space above is specified as being a fire-resistant type (Type X) and the walls supporting that space above are also required to be protected by drywall (not are not required to have Type X for their protection.
    - R302.6 Dwelling-Garage Fire Separation
    - - The garage shall be separated as required by Table R302.6. Openings in garage walls shall comply with Section R302.5. Attachment of gypsum board shall comply with Table R702.3.5. The wall separation provisions of Table R302.6 shall not apply to garage walls that are perpendicular to the adjacent dwelling unit wall.
    - - TABLE R302.6
    - - - DWELLING-GARAGE SEPARATION
    - - - - From the residence and attics ...[by]... Not less than 1/2-inch gypsum board or equivalent applied to thegarage side
    - - - - From all habitable rooms above the garage ...[by]... Not less than 5/8-inch Type X gypsum board or equivalent
    - - - - Structure(s) supporting floor/ceiling assemblies used for separation required by this sectiona ...[by]... Not less than 1/2-inch gypsum board or equivalent

    (note a)
    a - Separation of floor/ceiling assemblies is not required in garages protected by an automatic sprinkler system that meets the following criteria:
    - 1 - The sprinkler system shall be connected to a reliable water supply system with or without an automatic operated pump.
    - 2 - A piping system serving both sprinkler and domestic needs shall be acceptable.
    - 3 - Ordinary-temperature-rated residential or quick response sprinklers (135?F to 170?F [57?C to 77?C]) with a 1/2-inch (13 mm) orifice shall be installed.
    - 4 - The minimum operating pressure of any residential or quick response sprinkler shall be 7 psi (0.5 bar).
    - 5 - Walls that resist the passage of smoke shall separate the sprinklered compartment from any other space(s). Openings in this wall shall be regulated by Section R302.5.
    - 6 - The maximum area protected by a single sprinkler head shall not exceed 144 ft2 (13.4 m2).
    - 7 - The maximum distance between sprinklers shall not exceed 12 feet (3.7 m).
    - 8 - The maximum distance to a wall or partition shall not exceed 6 feet (1.8 m).
    - 9 - The minimum distance between sprinklers within a compartment shall be 8 feet (2.4 m).
    - 10 - Pendent and upright sprinkler heads shall be positioned so that the deflectors are within 1 to 4 inches (25.4 to 102 mm) below framing.
    - 11 - Sprinkler heads shall be located on a looped piping configuration.
    - 12 - Minimum pipe size, including that for copper, listed chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), and polybutylene (PB) piping shall be 3/4-inch (19 mm).
    - 13 - Garage doors in the open position shall not interfere with the operation of a sprinkler head.
    - 14 - A smoke alarm detector shall be installed in accordance with Section R314.


    My recommendation is to take your photos and the above code sections, including where the code sections are from, to your local building department and ask the Building Official if there are Georgia and Local Amendments which apply to these items, and if what your photos show is code compliant construction.

    I am guessing that it is not (based on what I found), however, if they have adopted amendments (official, published, and state or locally adopted as law or ordinance), then those amendments would be applicable over what I found in the Georgia Residential Code.

    I doubt that there are amendments for such, but it is a possibility.

    I'm so sorry, but I'm completely at a loss on what any of this means. It looks like foreign language to me. I think you were stating that there's an opening to the ducts and there should not be one and that you do not see drywall above the insulation? I'm sorry, I got loss. My main concern is, is the insulation unsafe to breathe in while you're in the garage for long periods of time?
    Thank you again


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fletcher, NC
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    Default Re: insulation exposed in garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Ms Wilson View Post
    My main concern is, is the insulation unsafe to breathe in while you're in the garage for long periods of time?
    My intent with the codes was to give you something to take to the Building Official.

    Regarding your stated concerns about the insulation, that was covered in the codes - the ceiling of the garage should have drywall covering the ceiling (which type of drywall depends on if there is, or is nor, living space above it). Again, for you to take to the Building Official with your question of 'is this allowed?'.

    The duct code specifies metal duct in the garage (some places also allow ductboard ducts in the garage) but I see ducts which appear to be neither. And which should have that question asked of the Building Official at the same time.

    Simple questions do not always have simple answers.

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

  7. #7
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    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fletcher, NC
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    Default Re: insulation exposed in garage

    There is one scenario in which that garage ceiling insulation may be allowed, but unless you were in the frozen north, I doubt you would find it: if the garage/house wall extends all the way up to, and tight to, the underside of the roof and no living space above the garage.

    But then why insulate the garage ceiling ... unless you were in the frozen north.

    The answer to your question is "was it even allowed to be left exposed?". If not, covering it with drywall answers your question ... because it would no longer be exposed.

    Should you breathe fiberglass insulation? No.

    Should you drink bleach? No.

    But most people on city/community water do drink bleach, albeit in very minor amounts.

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    3,098

    Default Re: insulation exposed in garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Ms Wilson View Post
    My main concern is, is the insulation unsafe to breathe in while you're in the garage for long periods of time?
    Thank you again
    Hi Ms Wilson,

    Jerry is trying to give you direction based on the knowledge of someone who knows buildings. it seems to me that you are asking a medical question. If it were me, I would want to talk to someone in the medical field who knows the risks of breathing glass particles from building insulation. It seems to me that a doctor (maybe even a pulminologist) would be better qualified to answer your questions than a home inspector.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia, electrical only
    Posts
    338

    Default Re: insulation exposed in garage

    Here's my take, at 80 degrees or so from what you've read so far.

    I have lots of N95s around. If you do, too, and if you know how to wear one properly, if you were a friend or relative I'd say hey, if it's just a garage garage, not a garage-workshop, wear your mask as you pass through and your lungs should be okay. And I'm not an industrial hygienist or pulmonologist, just someone who was careless enough to sustain some lung injury.

    I also would say look, what these serious mayvens are telling you is that it looks as though there's a fire hazard in the absence of--to keep it simple--5/8 inch thick sheetrock rated for fire protection serving as a barrier between the garage and living space above it.

    Adding that sheetrock is not about very gradual lung damage but about the possibility of your house burning up, with your family in it. (And I'm an electrician, not a home inspector.) I will add, though, that if the stuff about sprinklers etc was confusing, if your garage is an unconditioned space, exposed sprinklers would be extra-expensive anyway.


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