Can I add a second attic access scuttle in my garage ceiling? Present
scuttle is in the MBR closet for mechanical access.
1758 sq ft, single story home.
Attic with plumbing for NG furnace, electrical, etc.
Two ridge vents, plus soffit vents.
Split garages, single and double - attached.
I would like to add an attic scuttle in the two car garage. This
garage has the breaker panel, gas water heater, softener, tools,
The County Web site gets me this far*
R807.1 Attic Access
Section R807.1 is amended to read:
R807.1 Attic Access. In buildings with combustible ceiling or roof
construction which have electrical, plumbing or mechanical fixtures or
equipment installed within the attic space, an attic access opening
shall be provided to attic areas that exceed 30 square feet (2.8 m2)
and have a vertical height of 30 inches (762 mm) or greater
The rough- framed opening shall not be less than 22 inches by 30
inches (559 mm by 762 mm) and shall be located in a hallway or other
readily accessible location. A 30-inch (762 mm) minimum unobstructed
headroom in the attic space shall be provided at some point above the
access opening. See Uniform Mechanical Code for access requirements
where mechanical equipment is located in
International Residential Code 2006 (2003 version has similar
R309.2: The garage shall be separated from the residence and its attic
area by not less than 1/2 inch gypsum board applied to the garage
R309.1.1 duct penetrations. Ducts in the garage and ducts penetrating
the walls or ceilings separating the dwelling from the garage shall be
constructed of a minimum 26 gage sheet steel or other approved
material and shall have no openings into the garage.
R309.1.2 Other Penetrations. Penetrations through the separation
required in 309.2 shall be protected by filling the openings around
the penetrating item with approved material to resist the free passage
of flame and products of combustion.
I think the intent is to separate the garage from the residence.
Therefore, if you put a hatch in the ceiling of the garage, a
partition continuous from slab to roof has to be placed between garage
and dwelling and any penetrations need to be treated in accordance
with the code.
Not exactly. A scuttle hole in the garage will not require a fire rated
wall between the garage and the house. Use a piece of drywall for the
scuttle hole cover and you are fine. I have never had a problem even
with pull down stairs (which are not fire rated). The attic access is
usually in the garage, and is usually a pull down stair. Provides
access to the entire attic. This is true for all of central Texas.
I was in my attic recently troubleshooting the furnace, before I
called the service guy and had it fixed. (found original furnace
documents in plastic sleeve :))
Looked towards the garage area; where I want the next scuttle, I
observed two things:
- there was what I considered a fire block extending from the ceiling
top plate to the roof. Not certain of full extent and how it was/is
- through this apparent fire block, there was a hole large enough for
any person. In fact an electrician had mentioned this to me a few
That hole through the ply (3/4"?) would seem it would allow fire into
the rest of the attic. It *appears* to be centered over the hallway
and not a bedroom.
I will put in the scuttle in. My garage is finished with 5/8"
sheetrock on both ceiling and walls. Off to misplace the honey doo
If the "firewall" is plywood, then it is not a fire wall. Sounds more
like a shear wall or shear truss. Although a fire wall may have plywood
on it, it must be a non combustible material (drywall) on the surface to
qualify as a firewall. According to code, a fire wall must be two
layers of 5/8" drywall, firetaped and firecaulked. A draft stop must be
one layer of drywall, firetaped and caulked.
Sounds VERY much like my attic. Garage was an add-on, and the divider
between the attics was just original house gable skinned in celotex, not
a firewall. Guys that blew in 6 more inches of insulation decided to do
it all from the garage scuttle, and ripped down one panel. Garage does
have a (badly done) ceiling and walls of 5/8 fire-rated rock, but they
didn't block the old basement windows on that end, or some other
penetrations, so it isn't (yet) a code-compliant fire break. I keep a
chunk of plywood over the scuttle hole- I'll make a proper lid one of
these days, around the same time I make a fire-rated bottom lid for the
bumpouts that extend into the garage space. (I'm thinking do it like a
drawer- ply and rock riding in L-shaped rails, so it can easily be
opened to get to the plumbing trapped in there.)
Have I mentioned on here before that my addition was done 'good old boy'
style, apparently without plans, and every time I open something up, I
find something else Stupid previous owner did? I mean, the studs are
every 16", and everything is pretty square, but the design is sadly
lacking- that bathroom bumpout was obviously a last second addition, and
robs 2 feet of parking space, etc.
Good thing code in this township is mainly theoretical.
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