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  1. #1
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    Default WINDOW ON GARAGE FIRWALL

    HEY ALL

    had a house today that added an enclosed florida room along side one car garage--and there was a fixed window between garage and florida room. florida room was called great room and was open to interior of house. does this violate the fire wall barrier? sorry picture did not come out and will add on sunday when i retrieve radon test.

    thanks

    cvf

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: WINDOW ON GARAGE FIREWALL

    First, that wall between the garage and the living space is not a fire wall, it is a separation wall.

    Second, yes, that window is not allowed in that separation wall.

    Now, if that Florida Room was not open to the inside of the house and was actually a porch, then that window in the wall would be allowed as the wall would not be call a separation wall at that point - both the garage and the porch would be 'outside'.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: WINDOW ON GARAGE FIRWALL

    THANKS JP

    the glass between the walls is block glass which i think has a 60 second fire gaurd--does that make a difference--will have pictures later today

    thanks

    cvf


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    Default Re: WINDOW ON GARAGE FIRWALL

    jp

    sorry meant minutes--and i found out pittsburgh glass makes them. they are approved in fire seperation walls. so i guess it is alright. will need to call city of denver tomorrow and get the ok

    thanks

    cvf


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    Default Re: WINDOW ON GARAGE FIRWALL

    Jerry,

    Is this the reference that disallows windows on separation walls? I was trying to make sure I had the distinction proper between openings, penetrations.

    R302.5.1 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.

    Bruce

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: WINDOW ON GARAGE FIRWALL

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    Jerry,

    Is this the reference that disallows windows on separation walls? I was trying to make sure I had the distinction proper between openings, penetrations.

    R302.5.1 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.

    Bruce
    Bruce,

    What if the window was a "fixed' (non-operable) window?

    That section is one which would address openings, and would also address operable windows, but the main requirement is that the wall be 1/2" gypsum board on the garage side (or an equivalent). A window is not equivalent to 1/2" gypsum board so the opening in the wall where the window is would need to be covered with 1/2" gypsum board (I don't have the code with me, but it is in that same section as I recall).

    If the window was operable, then you would use both sections as the section you posted does not allow for a window in a door, and in this case the window would be replacing the 'door' (all window, no door).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: WINDOW ON GARAGE FIRWALL

    In this particular home, which was inspected by the city inspector this year, there is an operable window in the utility room which is on the same interior wall as the garage. I can't believe he didn't say anything about it.

    By the way, the code reference was from 2009 as that is what I have loaded my computer. Was there any substantive change in this section in 2012?

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    Default Re: WINDOW ON GARAGE FIReWALL

    There is no reference to "windows" in this code section, only "openings" or "penetrations". The Building Official may have ruled that the glass block was equivalent to a 20 minute protected opening, which is not unreasonable. Is the utility room part of the living space of the house? Is there an unprotected opening from the utility room to the living space? A "no" to both or either of these questions would suggest a code compliant condition.

    Thom Huggett, PE, SE, CBO

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    Default Re: WINDOW ON GARAGE FIReWALL

    Quote Originally Posted by Thom Huggett View Post
    There is no reference to "windows" in this code section, only "openings" or "penetrations".
    A "window" is an "opening" in the wall.

    The Building Official may have ruled that the glass block was equivalent to a 20 minute protected opening, which is not unreasonable.
    That window in the photo is not glass block.

    Is the utility room part of the living space of the house? Is there an unprotected opening from the utility room to the living space? A "no" to both or either of these questions would suggest a code compliant condition.
    The utility room is typically considered to be part of the garage if there is no intervening door which is sealed off with weather stripping and threshold and/or which is at the same level as the garage.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: WINDOW ON GARAGE FIReWALL

    Quote Originally Posted by Thom Huggett View Post
    There is no reference to "windows" in this code section, only "openings" or "penetrations". The Building Official may have ruled that the glass block was equivalent to a 20 minute protected opening, which is not unreasonable. Is the utility room part of the living space of the house? Is there an unprotected opening from the utility room to the living space? A "no" to both or either of these questions would suggest a code compliant condition.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Wood View Post
    He probably did not say anything because it posses no smoke and CO threat which is the main reason for a fire wall. That glass window will last well over 20 minutes. You also can buy Fire Resistant Glass Windows but mainly they are used in commercial to provide a path of escape.
    With all due respect, a window is an opening and while smoke and CO are threats, so is fire impingement. This particular window had a vinyl frame - so it will not last very long in a fire. As JP said, it's not glass block. It is just a regular window which is not code-compliant.

    I'll probably call the city and ask them what's their thought

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
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    Default Re: WINDOW ON GARAGE FIReWALL

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    A "window" is an "opening" in the wall.



    That window in the photo is not glass block.



    The utility room is typically considered to be part of the garage if there is no intervening door which is sealed off with weather stripping and threshold and/or which is at the same level as the garage.
    Point 1. Correct, my point was that the word "window" was being used in the discussions when the code is silent about windows in this section and only talks about openings and penetrations. Windows are not specifically allowed or prohibited, but they are openings which must be appropriately addressed.

    Point 2. Apparently 2 different situations were being discussed in this thread, one originally brought up by Charlie and the other by JB. I mistakenly thought they were one in the same. Charlie's situation apparently regards a glass block filled opening, whereas JB's involves a picture of regular glass window. That is unless I am completely misinterpreting this whole discussion.

    Point 3. A floor plan would be necessary to fully answer JB's situation. If the utility room is open to the garage and the window opens into the living space there is a code violation. In California you don't find the situation of a laundry/utility room between the house and garage in new construction much anymore.

    Thom Huggett, PE, SE, CBO

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    Default Re: WINDOW ON GARAGE FIRWALL

    I apologize. Yes, I hijacked the thread b/c of the similar content and the fact that Jerry posted.

    The utility room is part of the home. You could walk from the garage, through the utility and into the kitchen... and other than the solid garage door there are just regular hollow-core doors in between.

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
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    Default Re: WINDOW ON GARAGE FIReWALL

    Quote Originally Posted by Thom Huggett View Post
    Point 1. Correct, my point was that the word "window" was being used in the discussions when the code is silent about windows in this section and only talks about openings and penetrations. Windows are not specifically allowed or prohibited, but they are openings which must be appropriately addressed.
    Actually, the code is not silent about windows, the code simply does not use the "term" "windows" in that section, but instead uses the overall applicable term of "openings".

    The code then goes on and specifically addresses "doors" and what type of "doors" are allowed, while acknowledging that "doors" is one type of "opening".

    Here is another code reference to "openings", but this time the code is specifically addressing "windows", which does not mean that "doors" are not "openings": (bold and underlining are mine)
    - R301.2.1.2 Protection of openings. Windows in buildings located in windborne debris regions shall have glazed openings protected from windborne debris. Glazed opening protection for windborne debris shall meet the requirements of the Large Missile Test of an approved impact resisting standard orASTME 1996 and ASTM E 1886 referenced therein.
    - - Exception: (blah, blah, blah - not applicable to this discussion)

    When you have a door with a window in it, i.e., with a "glazed opening" you now have an added item to consider with the above section regarding "glazed openings".

    And, to be correct, both "windows" and doors with "glazing" are listed as:
    - FENESTRATION. Skylights, roof windows, vertical windows (whether fixed or moveable); opaque doors; glazed doors; glass block; and combination opaque/glazed doors.

    Point 2. Apparently 2 different situations were being discussed in this thread, one originally brought up by Charlie and the other by JB. I mistakenly thought they were one in the same. Charlie's situation apparently regards a glass block filled opening, whereas JB's involves a picture of regular glass window. That is unless I am completely misinterpreting this whole discussion.
    No problem, and remember that "glass block" is:
    - FENESTRATION. Skylights, roof windows, vertical windows (whether fixed or moveable); opaque doors; glazed doors; glass block; and combination opaque/glazed doors.

    Also, keep in mind that glass block is:
    - SECTION R610
    - - GLASS UNIT MASONRY
    - - - R610.1 General. Panels of glass unit masonry located in load-bearing and nonload-bearing exterior and interior walls shall be constructed in accordance with this section.

    Point 3. A floor plan would be necessary to fully answer JB's situation. If the utility room is open to the garage and the window opens into the living space there is a code violation. In California you don't find the situation of a laundry/utility room between the house and garage in new construction much anymore.
    Correct - we need additional information, which is why I said: "if" and then stated the condition I was asking/checking on ... i.e., "if" 'A' exists, do 'AA, however, if 'B' exists, do 'BB'.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: WINDOW ON GARAGE FIRWALL

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    The utility room is part of the home. You could walk from the garage, through the utility and into the kitchen... and other than the solid garage door there are just regular hollow-core doors in between.
    a) The door from the utility room to the garage is a solid door which meets the requirements for that door, including weather stripping, etc.?

    b) The door from the utility room to the living space is a hollow-core door?

    If a), then the outside of the utility room, on the garage side, would need to be at least 1/2" gypsum board.

    Nonetheless, though, why would you want an interior window to the laundry room?

    That window makes me thing the garage and the laundry room were additions to the house, that there was like either nothing there before, or, there was a carport there before.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: WINDOW ON GARAGE FIRWALL

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    a) The door from the utility room to the garage is a solid door which meets the requirements for that door, including weather stripping, etc.?

    b) The door from the utility room to the living space is a hollow-core door?

    If a), then the outside of the utility room, on the garage side, would need to be at least 1/2" gypsum board.

    Nonetheless, though, why would you want an interior window to the laundry room?

    That window makes me thing the garage and the laundry room were additions to the house, that there was like either nothing there before, or, there was a carport there before.
    Brand new spec home - never been lived in....actually vacant since January. My client was 1st buyer and didn't get to make any of the selections in the home.

    I believe it was designed that way or someone at the last minute said, "I'd like a window here please."

    I agree. Why a window over a laundry sink looking out over the cars?

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
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    Default Re: WINDOW ON GARAGE FIRWALL

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    Why a window over a laundry sink looking out over the cars?
    WHOA! TIME OUT!

    All things just changed!

    If you can look out and see the cars, then the window is not where we have been discussing it to have been.

    The only way you could look out and see the cars is if the window is in the laundry room wall to the garage, not the laundry room wall to the house - unless there are *two* windows????

    No way would that be acceptable as you have just now described the location of the window (given the locations of the solid/hollow doors as I asked above).

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    Default Re: WINDOW ON GARAGE FIRWALL

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    Jerry,

    Is this the reference that disallows windows on separation walls? I was trying to make sure I had the distinction proper between openings, penetrations.

    R302.5.1 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.

    Bruce
    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    In this particular home, which was inspected by the city inspector this year, there is an operable window in the utility room which is on the same interior wall as the garage. I can't believe he didn't say anything about it.
    Not sure that we've been talking about anything different. I thought we were discussing the same thing....and it's only one window.

    Only one window on a separation wall between a garage and the home (it just happens to be a utility room/mud room) If it had been a sleeping room I wouldn't have posted

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
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    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

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    Default Re: WINDOW ON GARAGE FIRWALL

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    Not sure that we've been talking about anything different. I thought we were discussing the same thing....and it's only one window.

    Only one window on a separation wall between a garage and the home (it just happens to be a utility room/mud room) If it had been a sleeping room I wouldn't have posted
    Bruce,

    I guess it came down to what was read and understood by the reader, in my case that would be me - I read it and understood it to be that the window was in the interior wall between the living space and the utility room and not in the separation wall between the utility room and the garage.

    I guess that is because I don't consider the separation wall as an "interior" wall as that wall is effectively 'like' an exterior wall in that it is the thermal envelope of the living space, the door is 'like' an exterior door, etc., however, that separation wall is 'not like' an exterior wall in relation to having to withstand the same live loads (wind loads, etc.) as an exterior wall.

    Some parts of some of my other posts were seeking clarification on what I was envisioning to clear up any misunderstanding - if there was a misunderstanding of something - and there was a major misunderstanding on my part of the location of the wall you referred to as an "interior wall".

    Now that I am on the same page as you (there is a hollow core door between the living space and the utility room, a solid door between the utility room and the garage which is also sealed and weather stripped, and there is drywall on the utility room side of the living space wall, and the window is in the separation wall between the garage and the utility room) ...

    *IF* the solid core door was between the living space and the utility room, that could make that wall between those two the separation wall - is that wall complete and does it meet the requirements of a separation wall.

    *IF* the window was removed and that opening closed up with drywall, and the wall insulated as required, then that wall could be the separation wall.

    Does that make sense now that I know the window is in the utility room to garage wall?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: WINDOW ON GARAGE FIRWALL

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Bruce,

    I guess it came down to what was read and understood by the reader, in my case that would be me - I read it and understood it to be that the window was in the interior wall between the living space and the utility room and not in the separation wall between the utility room and the garage.

    I guess that is because I don't consider the separation wall as an "interior" wall as that wall is effectively 'like' an exterior wall in that it is the thermal envelope of the living space, the door is 'like' an exterior door, etc., however, that separation wall is 'not like' an exterior wall in relation to having to withstand the same live loads (wind loads, etc.) as an exterior wall.

    Some parts of some of my other posts were seeking clarification on what I was envisioning to clear up any misunderstanding - if there was a misunderstanding of something - and there was a major misunderstanding on my part of the location of the wall you referred to as an "interior wall".

    Now that I am on the same page as you (there is a hollow core door between the living space and the utility room, a solid door between the utility room and the garage which is also sealed and weather stripped, and there is drywall on the utility room side of the living space wall, and the window is in the separation wall between the garage and the utility room) ...

    *IF* the solid core door was between the living space and the utility room, that could make that wall between those two the separation wall - is that wall complete and does it meet the requirements of a separation wall.

    *IF* the window was removed and that opening closed up with drywall, and the wall insulated as required, then that wall could be the separation wall.

    Does that make sense now that I know the window is in the utility room to garage wall?
    LOL

    Yes, I understand the *IF* statements above, but neither was true at this inspection.

    I knew the window was not appropriate and wanted your opinion on the proper code (not that I was going to throw code at them). But I thought the word "window" was used when discussing separation walls and garages, but it merely said "openings". I may have read that in an earlier IRC.

    ....and to add insult to injury....today's inspection found a central air conditioning duct in the garage! I explained the no-no to the buyer and he was visibly disappointed b/c the garage was about 76 degrees! The garage was insulated all around and the overhead doors were insulated as well. I think by the end of the walk-through I convinced him to have it removed and repaired.

    My apologies to other post-ers for my lack of clarity in my earlier posts!

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

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