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A bad Idea

Home Inspector with Pillar To Post Home Inspection

In the last year I have seen more and more storm or screen doors on the entrance to the home from an attached garage. This is very dangerous. They compromise the gas and fire barrier and the end result can lead to your home being burned down or /and death.

Most people don’t realize that before the 1960’s most garages were detached from the home. This was done for good reason. The garage is where gas, oil and many other combustible products were kept. The possibility of your garage catching fire was many times greater than your home. If a fire started in your garage you would not want it to spread to your home. Thus the detached garage.

Your fuel burning engines such as your automobile, lawn mower and snow blower are also kept in the garage and can release the deadly carbon monoxide gas.

So why are garages attached now? The use of fire resistant drywall is the answer. Drywall will not stop a fire from spreading into your home but will slow it down. 1/2 inch gypsum board retards a fire approximately 15 minutes and 5/8” thick gypsum board about 20 minutes.The reasoning is that if a fire starts in the garage the fire department will have enough time to arrive and knock the fire out before it enters the home.

Back to the storm or screen door.The door from the garage into the house must resist the spread of fire. The door must have a 20 minute burn rating or, if it is not specifically rated, it must be a solid door 1 3/8 inch thick. It must not open into an area used for sleeping. It must stay closed not be left open with a storm or screen door.

Other concerns I see are attic entrance panels that are not drywall. Dryer vents and heat vents open into the garage. This can allow fire and carbon monoxide into the home.

Accidental CO poisoning is very common. People are not perfect and sometimes the car is started with the vehicle door closed. The car may be left idling in the garage while the driver is distracted by something in the house. There are many ways to make a mistake.


A storm or screen door is a bad idea and should be removed.

Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
850-476-4494 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

I did not know this, does the doors that come with home meet these standard and folks are replacing them, is that what you are saying.

Oct 20, 2011 06:50 AM
John Rocco
Pillar To Post Home Inspection - Milwaukee, WI

People are adding them.

Oct 20, 2011 07:00 AM
Bill Baptista
Columbus, OH

I never even considered these facts as I too have been contemplating putting in a screen door in to help circulation in the fall-springtime here in Florida! Thank you so much for bringing this important information to our attention!

Oct 20, 2011 08:01 AM
Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459
Coldwell Banker - Oconomowoc, WI
Waukesha County Realtor Real Estate agent. SOLD!

John Rocco

I never really thought about this but how absolutely correct about it being dangerous

Feb 11, 2015 08:12 AM