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Old 10-03-2013, 11:31 AM   #1
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Install (attic) door to access space above garage ?


We have a bedroom above the garage. There's a 32" clearance between the garage ceiling and the bottom of the floor joists of the bedroom floor.

This space has HVAC ducts and electrical wires. I'm currently running some wires and access to this space could be useful again in the future. I was thinking about installing an attic door to access that space.

I'm currently waiting for a response from the city to see if this would pass the local building code. But in the meantime, I was wondering if it's a good idea. I would need to seal and insulate the attic. Any pros and cons ?

Here a quick diagram to demonstrate the plan:



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Old 10-03-2013, 11:36 AM   #2
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Install (attic) door to access space above garage ?


Anything to make it easier and safer is good...

Assuming they let you....I would highly suggest using the type of ladder that is telescoping....not the fold down type. The money difference is not worth the PIA the fold downs are...

While your at it...run yourself a GCI outlet and a light...on a timer......

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Old 10-03-2013, 11:53 AM   #3
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Install (attic) door to access space above garage ?


There may be some fire safety problems since it is a living area over a garage with an opening that may have to have a fire resistance rating. - Similar to the need for a rated door between and garage and a living area,

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Old 10-03-2013, 11:59 AM   #4
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Install (attic) door to access space above garage ?


Curious. What's holding up the garage ceiling sheetrock? Joists or basic 2X4 soffit framing? Your diagram doesn't cover that important detail. I'm assuming the latter. If so, then that area was probably not designed to support a person. If you put an attic door there, then that invites someone to get up there and crawl around. Bad idea. But maybe I'm missing something.
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Old 10-03-2013, 12:09 PM   #5
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Install (attic) door to access space above garage ?


Good point. I expect the city will probably ask for a fire rated & self closing access door.


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Originally Posted by concretemasonry View Post
There may be some fire safety problems since it is a living area over a garage with an opening that may have to have a fire resistance rating. - Similar to the need for a rated door between and garage and a living area,

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Old 10-03-2013, 12:15 PM   #6
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Install (attic) door to access space above garage ?


You're right. The sheetrock is supported by 2" x 4" framing (12' wide span / which has been nailed on the exterior walls 2" x 6" framing). It's strong enough to support one person but it will be complicated to crawl up there (insulation, HVAC pipes etc...). This access would be mainly intended to run electrical wires or potentially fix an HVAC/insulation issue.

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Curious. What's holding up the garage ceiling sheetrock? Joists or basic 2X4 soffit framing? Your diagram doesn't cover that important detail. I'm assuming the latter. If so, then that area was probably not designed to support a person. If you put an attic door there, then that invites someone to get up there and crawl around. Bad idea. But maybe I'm missing something.
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Old 10-03-2013, 12:28 PM   #7
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Install (attic) door to access space above garage ?


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It's strong enough to support one person
Hm. I think that's highly debatable. It may appear so, and it may be holding up your weight, but that doesn't mean it was designed to support a person's weight and that means it may not reliably do so. If and when it doesn't, someone could get hurt.

Code is mostly about safety. My bet is that the city will say no, based on the hazard it creates. Now, if you wanted to create access doors at various points across that soffit, the city would probably not care about that. The access doors will not invite someone to climb up *into* the area, whereas attic doors definitely do. A subtle distinction but an important one, IMO. But, that's just my guess.
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:05 PM   #8
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Install (attic) door to access space above garage ?


I totally agree with you. I'm just guessing that the framing can support one person but from an engineering standpoint, I could be wrong.

Installing one of two small fire rated access doors could be an option. This could be enough to run wires without the need to cut the drywall.

Thanks again. Much appreciated.

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Hm. I think that's highly debatable. It may appear so, and it may be holding up your weight, but that doesn't mean it was designed to support a person's weight and that means it may not reliably do so. If and when it doesn't, someone could get hurt.

Code is mostly about safety. My bet is that the city will say no, based on the hazard it creates. Now, if you wanted to create access doors at various points across that soffit, the city would probably not care about that. The access doors will not invite someone to climb up *into* the area, whereas attic doors definitely do. A subtle distinction but an important one, IMO. But, that's just my guess.

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