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  1. #1
    brianmiller's Avatar
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    Default stairway in garage

    Homeowner remodeled house to put an upstairs room over the garage. The interior stairway passes through the garage. The underside of the stairway is exposed in the garage.

    I'm trying to find good verbage for this: I was thining somethink like:

    Underside of stairway which passes through the garage does not have a properly rated covering to provide the proper separation/fire rating between garage and living space.



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  2. #2
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    Default Re: stairway in garage

    I would just say, "Stairway may lack required fire separation - check with AHJ" since it sounds like they should of had permits.

    The way you have it worded sounds like you have the answer when they ask you, "What is the proper fire rating?" putting you in the position of Code Officer or Designer.



  3. #3
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: stairway in garage

    Quote Originally Posted by brianmiller View Post
    Homeowner remodeled house to put an upstairs room over the garage. The interior stairway passes through the garage. The underside of the stairway is exposed in the garage.
    Is the stairway open to the garage too?

    If the stairway is enclosed (separated from the garage by at least 1/2{ gypsum board) then the stairway structure AND the walls AND the ceiling/floor of the garage/upstairs room IS REQUIRED to be protected by: at least 1/2" gypsum for the walls; at least 5/8" type x for the ceiling of the garage (which would also include the underside of the stairs as the underside of the stair would be 'ceiling').

    The simplest way is to address the addition like this: Document that any additions, including the addition over the garage, were permitted, inspected, and received final approval and inspections. If the AHJ permitted it, inspected and, and approved it, then the presumption would be that it is in accordance with the code applicable within that AHJ.

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

  4. #4
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    Default Re: stairway in garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Is the stairway open to the garage too?

    If the stairway is enclosed (separated from the garage by at least 1/2{ gypsum board) then the stairway structure AND the walls AND the ceiling/floor of the garage/upstairs room IS REQUIRED to be protected by: at least 1/2" gypsum for the walls; at least 5/8" type x for the ceiling of the garage (which would also include the underside of the stairs as the underside of the stair would be 'ceiling').

    The simplest way is to address the addition like this: Document that any additions, including the addition over the garage, were permitted, inspected, and received final approval and inspections. If the AHJ permitted it, inspected and, and approved it, then the presumption would be that it is in accordance with the code applicable within that AHJ.
    The stairway is open to the garage, no gypsum, etc...here's a photo.

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: stairway in garage

    Quote Originally Posted by brianmiller View Post
    The stairway is open to the garage, no gypsum, etc...here's a photo.
    Then there is no primary egress as one is not allowed to have primary egress through a garage ... except, as I recall, California adopted an amendment to the IRC specifically allowing such egress through a garage, but I am referring to 'normal' places ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  6. #6
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: stairway in garage

    Quote Originally Posted by brianmiller View Post
    Homeowner remodeled house to put an upstairs room over the garage. The interior stairway passes through the garage. The underside of the stairway is exposed in the garage.

    I'm trying to find good verbage for this: I was thinking something like:

    Underside of stairway which passes through the garage does not have a properly rated covering to provide the proper separation/fire rating between garage and living space.

    Is there a door at the top of the stairs that is insulated, weather stripped, good enough to be a separation from the garage, enclosed framimg of the walls and ceilings in the garage

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
    www.inspectmycastle.com
    Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Plano, Flower Mound, DFW, TX

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    Default Re: stairway in garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Is there a door at the top of the stairs that is insulated, weather stripped, good enough to be a separation from the garage, enclosed framimg of the walls and ceilings in the garage
    the access doors are on the interior of the home; the bottom of the stairs is in the living room . The top of the stairs goes to the added on bedroom. The stairway is in an enclosed hallway with the bottom of the stairway /treads are exposed in the garage.


  8. #8
    don agel's Avatar
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    Default Re: stairway in garage

    The underside of the staircase which is exposed in the garage would need to be covered with 5/8 inch type x sheetrock and properly taped/finished/sealed to provide a small window of time for egress in the event of a garage initiated fire. Properly sealed as well to reduce the chance of vehicle exhaust/fuel vapors from entering the home. Not to forget the need to be properly insulated now that this is an area between heated and non heated space and condensation formation can occur as well as a loss to the thermal envelope of the building. Jerry Peck nailed it with the 5/8 inch type x on the ceiling also as now there is a bedroom above. Now, also mentioned by another was an egress. Being that the bedroom is on the second level now another means of egress is needed via window/second stairs at exterior, etc.. Local code enforcement is not always up to par on this and even in major cities this requirement has been overlooked countless times. Good catch for your client....well worth the price of the inspection!!!!


  9. #9
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: stairway in garage

    The entire staircase needs to be enclosed.

    What is the upstairs room used for (not that it matters)?

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

  10. #10
    don agel's Avatar
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    Default Re: stairway in garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The entire staircase needs to be enclosed.

    What is the upstairs room used for (not that it matters)?

    LOL Guess I should have stated that clearer. TY Jerry, shows someone could have taken that differently than intended.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: stairway in garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The entire staircase needs to be enclosed.

    What is the upstairs room used for (not that it matters)?
    Its a bedroom/bathroom.....with the balcony shown from my other post regarding EERO. The bedroom, bathroom, and stairway from the living room to the bedroom are not conditioned space. They have a window a/c in the upstairs bedroom. (POS home). what else should I expect? I live in the armpit of America...


  12. #12
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    Default Re: stairway in garage

    Staircase is open to garage.

    Staircase leads to bedroom.

    Bedroom (obviously) opens to staircase.

    Bedroom (not so obviously, but I'm sure you got it) opens to garage ... and a bedroom is not allowed to open to a garage without an intervening space which separates (with doors) the bedroom and the garage - but you knew that, I was just connecting the dots for anyone who had not done so yet.

    That is in addition to the fact that an egress path is not allowed to go through a garage (except in California, as I recall).

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

  13. #13
    don agel's Avatar
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    Default Re: stairway in garage

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Staircase is open to garage.

    Staircase leads to bedroom.

    Bedroom (obviously) opens to staircase.

    Bedroom (not so obviously, but I'm sure you got it) opens to garage ... and a bedroom is not allowed to open to a garage without an intervening space which separates (with doors) the bedroom and the garage - but you knew that, I was just connecting the dots for anyone who had not done so yet.

    That is in addition to the fact that an egress path is not allowed to go through a garage (except in California, as I recall).
    Jerry, I think he was saying that just the framing of the stairs was exposed in the garage. Perhaps I misread somewhere. Wouldn't be the first time it happened and sure not to be the last time. With age come wisdom......wisdom to recognize our own flaws which increase with age. lol


  14. #14
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    Default Re: stairway in garage

    Quote Originally Posted by don agel View Post
    Jerry, I think he was saying that just the framing of the stairs was exposed in the garage. Perhaps I misread somewhere. Wouldn't be the first time it happened and sure not to be the last time. With age come wisdom......wisdom to recognize our own flaws which increase with age. lol
    Quote from above

    "the access doors are on the interior of the home; the bottom of the stairs is in the living room"

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
    www.inspectmycastle.com
    Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Plano, Flower Mound, DFW, TX

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    Default Re: stairway in garage

    Stairway to heaven if not gas/fire proofed.


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