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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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,
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.
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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