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Old 06-29-2011, 10:52 AM   #1
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Attached garage, fire codes violation?


I have a house with rough cut cedar siding. At some point a garage was added on, with no changes to the house itself, so there are two windows (bedroom and bathroom) that open into the garage. My inspector (who I thought was good and thorough) told me the windows were a violation. Not really a problem, I'm new to home repair, but I figured I could handle taking out a window and filling in the hole. But now, after ripping out one window, I read online it sounds like all the cedar siding that still covers the separation wall would also be a code violation.
I have no idea when the garage was added on, probably not long after the house was built, 30 years ago. My question is, in 37 parts, first, am I correct about the violation; was the siding likely grandfathered in before fire codes changed or has this always been taboo and the owner just didn't do it right; if it's grandfathered, do I have to rip off all that siding, or can I just fill in the windows like I planned?
I think getting that siding off and drywalled is probably inevitable, but it's a little bigger job than I was ready to do right now, but I now have that hole in my wall that I kind of have to deal with right away.
My original question, that led to the search that discovered the code, has to do with the bathroom, which is wallpapered. I really didn't want to have to repaper the whole bathroom, so I had the idea to fill in the hole with some recessed shelves. And I was wondering about how much structure should go behind the shelves to allow as much recess as possible. (Like maybe drywall, half inch plywood, and another sheet of drywall? Or do I need a full-blown wall with 2x4s, insulation...)

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Old 06-29-2011, 11:11 AM   #2
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Attached garage, fire codes violation?


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Originally Posted by Grymph View Post
I have a house with rough cut cedar siding. At some point a garage was added on, with no changes to the house itself, so there are two windows (bedroom and bathroom) that open into the garage. My inspector (who I thought was good and thorough) told me the windows were a violation. Not really a problem, I'm new to home repair, but I figured I could handle taking out a window and filling in the hole. But now, after ripping out one window, I read online it sounds like all the cedar siding that still covers the separation wall would also be a code violation.
I have no idea when the garage was added on, probably not long after the house was built, 30 years ago. My question is, in 37 parts, first, am I correct about the violation; was the siding likely grandfathered in before fire codes changed or has this always been taboo and the owner just didn't do it right; if it's grandfathered, do I have to rip off all that siding, or can I just fill in the windows like I planned?
I think getting that siding off and drywalled is probably inevitable, but it's a little bigger job than I was ready to do right now, but I now have that hole in my wall that I kind of have to deal with right away.
My original question, that led to the search that discovered the code, has to do with the bathroom, which is wallpapered. I really didn't want to have to repaper the whole bathroom, so I had the idea to fill in the hole with some recessed shelves. And I was wondering about how much structure should go behind the shelves to allow as much recess as possible. (Like maybe drywall, half inch plywood, and another sheet of drywall? Or do I need a full-blown wall with 2x4s, insulation...)
Call your building inspector and ask him/her.

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Old 06-29-2011, 02:26 PM   #3
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Attached garage, fire codes violation?


I have a house with rough cut cedar siding. At some point a garage was added on, with no changes to the house itself, so there are two windows (bedroom and bathroom) that open into the garage. My inspector (who I thought was good and thorough) told me the windows were a violation. Not really a problem, I'm new to home repair, but I figured I could handle taking out a window and filling in the hole. But now, after ripping out one window, I read online it sounds like all the cedar siding that still covers the separation wall would also be a code violation.
..........
Yes, no windows allowed inside garage. Think in terms of carbon monoxide from auto, lawn mower, etc. creeping into the home.
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Old 06-29-2011, 02:48 PM   #4
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Attached garage, fire codes violation?


The windows are not the question. It's the cedar siding that is still on the wall separating house from garage, and the secondary question of what the separation should be if I'd like to use the space as a recessed shelf.
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:09 PM   #5
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Attached garage, fire codes violation?


I can't quote any codes, but I'm pretty-sure any wall of the garage that has living space (house) on the other side of it is supposed to have sheetrock on it, for fire prevention.
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Old 06-29-2011, 04:20 PM   #6
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Attached garage, fire codes violation?


The problem would be the cedar siding that is in the garage now. The siding needs to be taken off and a fire resistant wall board needs to be put in its place. That rough cut cedar siding is a serious fire hazard as are those windows from the house to the garage. The same with a door going from the house to the garage. It needs to be a fire door. It can't be just any door. So, take the cedar siding off the wall in the garage and then remove and properly cover up the window openings. Then put up some fire resistant sheetrock on the wall of the house.

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Old 06-29-2011, 05:23 PM   #7
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Attached garage, fire codes violation?


Most codes require a fire resistant wall of some sort (usully 5/8" drywall) between the house and the garage.

Just because the house was there and compying by itself, there was no problem until you adding on the garage that increased the problems/hazards, which require modifications to make it safe. I don't think that cedar has been accepte as being a suitable material to surface a wall to get appropriate fire resistance.

I hope the new garage is built at an acceptible elevation since some codes require the garage floor to be below the home floor level.

Last edited by concretemasonry; 07-03-2011 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:21 PM   #8
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Attached garage, fire codes violation?


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The windows are not the question. It's the cedar siding that is still on the wall separating house from garage, and the secondary question of what the separation should be if I'd like to use the space as a recessed shelf.
Again,call your building inspector and ask him/her. Can you answer why you haven't?
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:41 PM   #9
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Attached garage, fire codes violation?


Check which codes govern your area and if you town has any supplemental code requirements. Below is an excerpt from my governing code.

2003 International Residential Code:

R309.1 Opening Protection. Openings from a private garage direclty 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 1-3/8 inches in thickness, solid or honeycomb core steel doors not less than 1-3/8 inches thick, or 20-minute fire-rated doors.

R309.2 Separation required. The garage shall be separated from the residence and its attic area by not less than 1/2-inch gyspum board applied to the garage side. Garages beneath habitable rooms shall be separated from all habitable rooms above by not less than 5/8-inch type x gypsum wall board or equivalent. Where the separation is a floor-ceiling assembly, the structure supporting the separation shall also be protected by not less than 1/2-inch gypsum board or equivalent.
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:58 PM   #10
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Attached garage, fire codes violation?


Actually, I'm taking the advice I've gotten here. I've already ripped off two thirds of the siding, and I'm just waiting for the sheetrock to be delivered (It just arrived as I was typing this). I don't have anybody to help me at this time, so trying to handle those big sheets by myself was something I would rather have avoided if I could.
As for calling the inspector, I wasn't sure if you meant the one I hired (I bought the house several years ago, and I didn't feel like digging through all my files looking for the name), or the city inspector (I preferred to keep things unofficial for now; who knows, he might have fined me or told my I can't live in the house until the job is done or some other unpleasantness).
Thanks to all for your help
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Old 07-01-2011, 03:41 PM   #11
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Attached garage, fire codes violation?


Grymph -

You can certainly live in the house until you sell it, unless a neighbor calls in and an inspector shows up later and you may have to tear down something to show what is there and what you did. Life and fire safty are areas you want to avoid problems on.

When you go to sell, the buyers inspector can spot what he has be trained to look for (not difficult) and you could end up with negotiating a new price reflecting problems/violations discovered.

It is usually much easier and cheaper to ask the inspector what you should do and then everything is approved and you can prove it in black and white.

Dick
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:46 PM   #12
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Attached garage, fire codes violation?


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or the city inspector (I preferred to keep things unofficial for now;
Another ignorant poster who wants to do the wrong thing and is helped by forum members.
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Old 07-03-2011, 05:10 PM   #13
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Attached garage, fire codes violation?


Some things need to be left to professionals, this would be one. When you are asking what to do with a fire wall where you have openings along with siding means call the pro. There is more to a Fire Wall then just putting drywall on, don't forget most fires start in the garage, without a proper 1 hour wall then the house could burn quickly.
Those 5/8" sheets are real heavy and hard to handle when you don't install all the time, I guess you already found that out.
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Old 07-03-2011, 06:35 PM   #14
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Attached garage, fire codes violation?


Sheet rock?

hope your just misnaming gypsum board, as sheet rock/drywall won't be approved.
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Old 07-03-2011, 08:56 PM   #15
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Attached garage, fire codes violation?


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Sheet rock?

hope your just misnaming gypsum board, as sheet rock/drywall won't be approved.
Please explain

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