How solid is firewall between houses??

Hi,
I live in a twin which is two houses, side by side. It's basicly row homes, in groups of twos. I work hard to insulate and maintain my house, but the neighbors rent and don't upkeep at all.
Our house has a finished basement and the neighbors is still a garage. The garage door is broken and lets all the cold air into their garage and is making it into our basement. If I pull off the tiles to my drop ceiling, I see the old ceiling to what was once a garage. If I poke a hole up into that ceiling, I feel tons of cold air.
How can I insulate between the houses? Anywhere in my house that is close to their open garage, I can feel the cold air coming in.
Thanks,
Al
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Well any wall between a garage and a living area should have been insulated under most codes. It also requires a fire wall, but that does not mean insulation.
However it appears you are talking about the wall between two garages. That would not have normally been insulated and I don't know about a fire wall, but would hope it had one. If not I suggest adding it.
As for suggestions, it is difficult to say. What walls or floor/ceiling surfaces separate living areas in your home and the neighbors garage? What is the construction of these surfaces? How well air sealed are they? If they are stick construction, do you know if there is any insulation in them?
If you share a wall, I would guess you have some sort of agreement relating to the maintenance of that common wall. I suggest you consult that agreement before beginning any correction.
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Joseph E. Meehan

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al koz wrote:

Another issue which needs to be addressed is the potential for Carbon Monoxide from the adjacent garage entering your residence. Stuffing insulation in there isn't going to solve that one.
I think you need to step back and investigate all the structural aspects of this problem.
Jim
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Indeed. By current codes there MUST be firewall rated walls between garages and living space, secondly they're a lot more anal about below-grade garages and vapor problems (gasoline, propane, CO fumes etc). And that's just for single unit dwellings. Multiple-unit are considered "semi commercial" and have stricter rules.
These firewall rules have been in force here (in Canada) for at least 20-30 years. Ie: it's been difficult to get permission just to have doors between garages and living space for quite some time.
In Canada, I believe current code (10 years or more) states that you must have concrete/masonry walls between units in "multiple unit dwellings", up to and including concrete/firewalling common attics.
While that doesn't necessarily mean that the wall has to be insulated, very cold air above the drop ceiling indicates that there probably is no firewall, let alone a barrier to fumes. And that's a _very_ serious problem.
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umm I don't think so, we once lived in a townhouse complex the code was to have fire rated drywall between units to a certain burn rating/time frame. ( in our case 30min burn through)
every 4th unit had a fire wall (brick from basement to roof truss)
trust me I called everyone I could, building inspectors , fire marshal, etc...
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Thanks for the replies. I think I need to clarify. Originally, both houses had a small basement with an attached garage. The two garages are side by side. Before we moved in, the basement was refinished. I pulled off some of the panelling and can feel cold air from behind the insulation. It's got to be coming from the garage next door, since the door to that garage is basicly open to the outside.
I guess the only real way to see what's going on is to pull off some panelling, insulation, and drop ceiling.
We did have a problem with fumes a few weeks ago. The renter has a large pickup that he had warming up outside of his garage. Even though the garage door was shut and he was outside, the fumes went right through the broken panels into his garage, then into our basement. I had a talk with him and he happily agreed to not run it.
thanks, Al
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Agreed. I live in Canada where the code USED TO BE solid masonry firewalls from the basement to the underside of the roof sheathing. Like many building regs. the building companies have lobbied to have them softened. I have seen townhouses being built with double wood stud walls with drywall between them separate two dwellings. A batch under costruction less than a mile from my house has masonry firewalls up to the top of the top floor ceiling and drywall on two sides of a truss to separate the attics.
When I built my house (30 years ago) the garage is separated by a masonry firewall up to the underside of the roof sheathing, plus exterior grade drywall on outside of stud wall behind the masonry, with interior drywall on inside of the stud wall.
I would NEVER buy a semi or townhouse unless I had proof of a masonry firewall from bottom to the extreme top. I have seen too many smokers or careless cooks burn themselves out of their home and take their neighbors along with them.

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