garage firewalls - lack of


A lot of older houses with garages in the basements don’t have firewalls/ceilings. In fact they are usually just open framing. Maybe not so common in the North where I am moving, but very common here in the South.

Is it a “reasonable” recommendation (obviously a good idea) to bring it up to modern standards and sheet rock (fire rated) the ceilings and walls to interior spaces?

That could get pretty expensive for a 3 car garage…:ack:



If that’s the case ,better your client understand before they close escrow than after. :wink:

I don’t think it’s a reasonable thing to do, but I recommend it in my reports nonetheless. I always tell my clients that the best defense against fire is a working smoke alarm.

I’d prefer a fire extinguisher for defense. ;-):stuck_out_tongue:

Drywall is very inexpensive, and you don’t have to finish it to perfection for a garage.

Great, thanks for the input.


I note in my reports whenever I see the following in Garages…

  1. Open gaps (larger than the thickness of a dime) that is not backed with at least 3/4" plywood or a stud
  2. Skuttle holes that are not properly sealed (using the same criteria) or have vertical doors that are not self-closing
  3. Ceilings that are not at least 5/8" thick sheetrock or if the ceiling is open framed there is not a continuous wall that separates the garage from the dwelling space continuing to the roof line.
  4. Walls adjacent to the dwelling space that are not coverd with sheetrock
  5. Any ventialtion penetrations into the attached garage especially if there are not back-draft dampers

I hope this helps!

In my previous occupation, I have hung and finished hundreds of firewalls. the only one that didn’t pass in inspection is when an electrician cut a 6x6 in chunk out to run his wire. Pass on to your client, that if they ever want to properly finish the garage drywall, to tell their contractor they want a good job. I have seen so may fire tapes that were so bad, I had to remove the tape and refinish it, it is commonplace to “slap it up quick Joe, its just a fire tape”

Hope this helped someone.

Along those same lines - how can you ID fire rated sheet rock without a visible label? What about tape?


I don’t. If it’s 5/8 thic type X then that satisfies the one-sided application (ceilings). If it’s 1/2 thick then that satisfies the two-sided application. Sometimes you can see some ID if there is a scuttle in the garage with no insulation. Tape isn’t necessary if the gap in the seams does not exceed 0.01" (about the thickness of a US dime) or it’s backed by solid wood or other drywall material as long as the joints are staggered.