Question about pull down attic stairs

I understand that an attic access in a garage needs to be fire rated, usually 5/8" drywall.

But what about pull down attic stairs?

I’ve only seen the ones with plywood on the bottom.

Do they make them with a fire rated bottom?

Are the plywood ones only for interior use? (not the garage)

What do you guys say, or recommend, when you come across this?

Is there an acceptable fix for this situation?

I hate to criticize something without offering a recommendation.

Pull down stairs are generally not fire rated and should be called out.
Many times where there is a warning where the stairs attach to use NAILS there are no nails.

Thanks Brian. Is there any other other material, other than 5/8" drywall, that is fire rated?

Sheet metal. :smiley:

Needs nails here.

Brian have you not seen sheet metal burn I set a large air handler on fire once with a torch, the galvanized made the darnest bunch of white smoke you ever dreamed of evacuated the whole research and development building:shock: I think that effected my next pay raise:roll:

Georgia has added this exception to the section in the IRC pertaining to Garage separation (R309.2):



I found a company (in Mississipi or Alabama, I believe) in a web search last year that claims to make pull-downs that meet the referenced thermal barrier test. I don’t remember the name, but I’ll try to find it again.

Saw one of these once - very nice:

AW, come on Brian be fair, at least that label is properly affixed :mrgreen:


Maybe not. There is only one screw securing the label and it it crooked.:roll:
Also, the screw is slightly stripped. Might make it difficult to remove the label for repairs.

Memphis Folding Stairs, Inc. used to sell a unit with Fire Retardant applied to the 1/4" plywood door I contacted them for documentation and they never responded.

X indicates recommended location of nails or screws


Note: Due to different display options and printer setups, actual size may not be represented

Thanks, Barry.

Memphis is the company I was thinking about.

Your photo jarred my memory. I remember it from a thread on another forum from last year.

Memphis still offers the Fire Guard retardent treated units on four of their five pull-down products.

The describe it thus:

but they don’t give any more information anywhere on their site.

Have only seen one so far. this house was a joy to inspect the builder was great too.
And yes it was put in with nails


Fire Retardant Label.jpg

If the garage pull-down stairs are not fire rated then you can always recommended this fire rated pull-down.

Nice Dave and I agree that is what should be installed, but how many developers and Contractors or Homeowners will go for that expense?

They will do like all of them and buy the $125 one from Home Depot.
And the AHJ will not even notice it. ha. ha.

It will give us something to write in our reports though, right? :slight_smile: :smiley:



As I said, it’s simply a recommendation to upgrade if your client was interested in a fire rated pull-down. Other than that, it’s good ole’ 5/8" fire rated drywall.

As you stated, many builders will install the cheapest version of pull-downs in order to recoup their costs and make profits at the same time.

Well if it is in the garage, and if there is a fire wall separation between the garage attic area and the living space attic area then no problem.

This is what I was looking for. I hate to criticize something without giving a possible solution.

I called Memphis Stairs again and they sent out 18 pages about their products built with Dricon Fire Retardant Treated wood

Problem is, most I’ve seen DON’T have a fire wall between garage attic and house.