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...)