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  1. #1
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    Default Non-fire rated material on garage walls

    I know the firewall requirements for garage walls that adjoin the house, but what about the non-adjoining walls? Typically these are unfinished, with exposed studs and bare sheathing.

    Does it violate fire code if paper-faced fiberglass insulation is installed on walls (that do not adjoin the house)?
    There is a manufacturer's warning printed on the faces side of the insulation, "Warning: This facing will burn. No not leave exposed. Cover with approved building material in contact with facing. . . etc. . ."

    Makes common sense, but does leaving it exposed violate any fire code?
    If it does, how is this material different [code-wise] than the wood studs or sheathing that is also flamable? (yeah, it probably burns easier and spreads faster)

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Non-fire rated material on garage walls

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Beck View Post
    IThere is a manufacturer's warning printed on the faces side of the insulation, "Warning: This facing will burn. No not leave exposed. Cover with approved building material in contact with facing. . . etc. . ."

    If you can read that warning, it's wrong ... because you can see it exposed, and it is not allowed to be left exposed.

    Regarding the other walls, the only wall which is required to have at least 1/2" gypsum board is that which has living space on the other side of it.

    The insulation had nothing to do with the separation, it is a fire hazard regardless where the facing is left exposed.

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Non-fire rated material on garage walls

    Jerry,
    I understand the obvious point about the manufacturer's warning. It makes common sense.

    My question though, is a builder or home seller *required* to remove or cover it? Is there some fire code? (all I have handy is the IRC, and that doesn't say anything about this).

    What about all the other flamable junk that people put up on their garage walls? Besides the exposed wood studs, sheathing - i.e. peg boards, fiberboard, etc? Again, is just a common sense issue? Does the faced insulation need to be removed based soley on manufacturer's warning?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Non-fire rated material on garage walls

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Beck View Post
    My question though, is a builder or home seller *required* to remove or cover it? Is there some fire code? (all I have handy is the IRC, and that doesn't say anything about this).
    It's code by reference because it is required to be installed in accordance with the manufacturer's installation instructions.

    Yes, it needs to be covered, preferably with 1/2" gypsum board (that's typically what it also says on that warning label).

    Does the faced insulation need to be removed based soley on manufacturer's warning?
    That's one way to remove the problem, however, what would then hold the insulation in place? Yes, they could remove the paper then install furring strips every foot or so (I don't know what the required distance would be) to hold the insulation vertically in the stud cavities.

    I would not suggest that, though, as the full effect of the insulation is that there is something against it to stop air flow through the insulation. If unfaced insulation were placed between to wall surfaces, the air permeability would be much lower, and the insulation much more effective than if the insulation were held up with like a blanket hanging from above and there was nothing on either side to restrict the movement of air through the insulation other than the insulation itself. Remove one side and it does not do what it is supposed to do either.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Non-fire rated material on garage walls

    I just had to say something. You cant have an all Terry Beck----Jerry Peck thread. What are the odds?

    Paul Kondzich
    Ft. Myers, FL.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Non-fire rated material on garage walls

    In some areas the code requires 5/8 sheetrock on firewalls. Check local rules.
    My question always is this on the insulation. Would you rather risk the fire with the paper side out or the breathing in of the fiber glass particles if installed properly.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Non-fire rated material on garage walls

    I'm going to go off on a limb here. I guess I don't understand why so many o f these posts are code related. According to NAHI or ASHI, inspectors do not perform code inspections nor are older homes required to be code complient at the time of sale. However, I will say if something crosses over to a safety concern then it's probably a good idea to fix it.

    RJDalga
    http://homeanalysts.com
    Kalamazoo, MI

  8. #8
    Jon Randolph's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-fire rated material on garage walls

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Dalga View Post
    I'm going to go off on a limb here. I guess I don't understand why so many o f these posts are code related. According to NAHI or ASHI, inspectors do not perform code inspections nor are older homes required to be code complient at the time of sale. However, I will say if something crosses over to a safety concern then it's probably a good idea to fix it.
    We are not "code inspectors" per say, but everything that we do is derived from either code, safety factors, manufacturers instructions or common sense. I used to say the same, but was shone the light but others.

    Older homes shold be code compliant to the date that they were built or modified, but codes are so minimum. I do not go through the home and quote code, because unless it is new it would be an unreasonable expectation for me to be able to know what code appiled for each item at the time that it was built/ugraded/added on. I inspect all homes according to current code.

    Would a 80 year old home require grounded outlets throughout the home and GFCI's in the kitchen, garage, bath and exterior, NO. But they are safety upgrades so I recommend them for improvement because they will be safer.

    Would an 6" spacing in a 2nd floor railing be meet code in an 80 year old home, maybe, probably so. But I recommend that they be spaced no more than 4", not because it will comply with current code but because it is safer and makes sense.

    MOST of the codes are either derived from safety factors or better building/construction practices. We don't have to quote code to recommend that an item be brought up to or made better the current code. If it makes sense, recommend it as an improvement if nothing else.


    However, this thread was started about exposed vapor barrier on insulation. It states right on the barrier that it will catch fire and that it can not be left exposed. Doesn't matter if it in in the garage, attic, crawl space, basement or in the exterior walls. It has to be covered just to comply with the manufacturers installation instructions, which will trump code every time.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Non-fire rated material on garage walls

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    In some areas the code requires 5/8 sheetrock on firewalls. Check local rules.
    Firewalls always require 5/8" Type X gypsum board, however, separation walls do not.

    My question always is this on the insulation. Would you rather risk the fire with the paper side out or the breathing in of the fiber glass particles if installed properly.
    Ah ... the old "if installed properly" ... that gets to the fact that it should not be left exposed, it needs something on that side, as I tried (unsuccessfully apparently) to explain in my previous post.

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

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Non-fire rated material on garage walls

    With insulation the paper or whatever the insulation's covering goes towards the conditioned side of the framed wall or ceiling. That said I don't understand why someone would insulate the inside of a garage's exterior wall without covering it with something? But there is much I don't understand no matter how hard I try.
    BTW, as I've repeated argumentum ad nauseam home inspectors perform code inspections every time they inspect! Yah, I know, we don't admit to that fact nor would it be wise to.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  11. #11
    Travis Grubbs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non-fire rated material on garage walls

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    With insulation the paper or whatever the insulation's covering goes towards the conditioned side of the framed wall or ceiling. That said I don't understand why someone would insulate the inside of a garage's exterior wall without covering it with something?
    Because it is cheaper to leave it exposed than to properly cover it. Some folks just gotta save a buck.

    5/8" Type X Gypsum is also required on garage ceilings under an upstairs living space (in Georgia). I check for this in my jurisdiction when I am doing the insulation inspection. On a few occassions I have found that the gypsum board stored in the garage is 1/2", with a living space above. I then contact the builder and ask him about the 5/8" Type X. I hold up the installation of the sheetrock until the 5/8" Type X is on site.

    Travis


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Non-fire rated material on garage walls

    Terry,

    If there is living space above the garage, then ANY wall that is a supporting wall of the space above needs to have the same 'rating' as the structure it's supporting.

    In other words, if the ceiling has 5/8 drywall because a room is above, the supporting wall cannot be left exposed; it needs at least 5/8 drywall.

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
    'Whizzing & pasting & pooting through the day (Ronnie helping Kenny helping burn his poots away!) (FZ)

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