Garage attic ladder

Just curious what others are doing when you have an attic ladder set-up in the garage and the paneling for the ladder is just a thin piece of wood and not the needed drywall to help maintain the needed fire separation, since almost every home I have come across is like this just wondering what narrative you use in your report or how you report it?

If the firewall between the garage and living space goes all the way to the roof line, the ceiling doesn’t need to be fire rated. The separation is the continuous wall.

Steven, did you happen to look and see if the ladder had a sticker indicating fire retardant or rating? Sometimes the material is but, the only way for us to know is with a label or a sticker on the product. Here’s an example…


Fire Retardant Label.jpg

No sticker. Even my house built in 05 is like this with no sticker. And I run into this all the time yet the home passes the code inspection when new.

Most like!y due to the fire wall separation already in place. The problem is usually when there is an older home and no fire wall separation between then garage and home and they then install one of these stairs for access into the garage ceiling.


Remember in many AHJ’s free standing residences in Florida a fire rating is not required only multi-family dwellings. We should and I do look for vapor resistance and comment on that deficiency if present.

William is correct, there is no real fire rating through the attic on single family detached homes, think about it. Whats the difference if it’s a thin piece of wood on an attic ladder, or the mdf or pine trim around the drywall lift panel opening with no staircase, no fire rating on that.

There is most definitely a fire rating of both walls and Ceilings seperating a garage from the rest of the house in any single family residence in Florida! It is covered in the Florida Building Code under R302.5

Let me rephrase my statement, there is fire rating, but where in the code does it mention the cutout for the attic, I’ve never seen it. I just inspected new construction today, 1/2" drywall supported by pine casing trim. That can’t be fire rated. So what happens then, the pine trim burns in an instant, attic drywall falls to the floor, giant opening? And to another point, if the air handler is in the garage with the plenum into the attic and yellow spray foam used to seal the crack, do you call it out for not being orange fire foam? Because it should be, but never is.

If the ceiling is your fire wall, it can’t have a non-rated (attic access) penetration.

It doesn’t even come close. I gave you the code. It covers all penetrations. Yes, absolutely, if it is an obvious defect such as using sealer, I call it out. In My area (S. Fl) the City inspector would laugh at the installation you described, and red tag the job! Every penetration through the firewall has to be finished with fire caulk, even if it is just a 1/2" copper line.

You can document the hazard and make them aware of the hazard. Do not see many homes new and old where this would not be an issue.
Nobody is going to show up after I cut a hole in my ceiling and red tag me. My biggest concern is fire prevention not the effects.

Wayne, try and keep up with the conversation! Glenn was talking about new construction that he inspected. Obviously no one is going to come out and inspect what you do in your own home. But as this is a site for inspectors, we are talking about homes we inspect. So it would probably be a good idea to inform your customer of existing hazards. (although if you wish to give them a lecture on fire prevention i am sure they would appreciate it!:D).

Your the one that needs to keep up, I did address the new homes and informing the clients as to the hazards in any home I inspect.

Read R302.6 FBC 2010
Should be noted that all AHJ’s may not have adopted the latest FBC.
Which FBC edition are you quoting please?

I didn’t quote any edition, that is the general reference to the section in each edition of the code. the wording may change slightly from one to another, but the reference will stay the same. I don’t think AHJ’s get a choice in that, once the code is adopted by the state, everyone must adopt it. They used to get some say, but not anymore (at least as far as i am aware).

Pretty sure the only FL jurisdictions that don’t have to follow the current FBC are Indian Reservations. That was the whole purpose of implementing the FBC in 2002…to get everybody following the same standard. Local AHJ’s may add more stringent addendums and certain grandfathering exceptions.