Garage to House Fire-Resistance (King of the House) Whatcom County Home Inspections

Home Inspector with King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. Home Inspector Lic #207

I find myself loosely using the term "firewall" on occasion when I am reporting on the garage at a house I am inspecting. I am working on breaking that bad habit since "firewall" is one of the most misused terms in construction.  I cannot even guess how many times I have heard someone, including we inspectors, reference that an attached garage at residential construction has a problem at the "firewall." The reality is that, in residential construction, a garage does not require a firewall. At a single family residence with an attached garage, the proper terminology is "limited resistance to the spread of a fire". Anyone who would like specific information on the finer details of the topic should seek out an IRC code book.

I have been doing this job for several years now in Bellingham, Whatcom county and the region. From my photo archives, I have put together this slide show on the topic of fire-resistance. A few of the pictures capture glaring problems with fire-resistance, usually as a result of homeowner modifications or repairs. The video, prepared for my clients, is public and it has been embedded below.

Posted by

Steven L. Smith

If you enjoy nostalgia and music of yesteryear, click on Elvis' gold record to visit This Day In History. To explore The Stories Behind The Music blog posts click on the electric guitar. 








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  1. Christine Farkas 04/24/2012 02:28 PM
ActiveRain Community
Washington Whatcom County Bellingham
Puget Sound - WA Real Estate
Home Inspectors across the country
king of the house
garage firewall
whatcom county real estate inspector
bellingham real estate inspector
fire resistance

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Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Steve, Nice Video. We have all seen many of those issues. I think I may have asked you t his before but what software do you use to make your videos? 

Mar 26, 2012 08:26 AM #1
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Nice job Steve---Nutsy is getting better and better at these videos.

Mar 26, 2012 09:17 AM #2
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Great slide show Mason!  Good of Gramps to lend you his (excellent) voice and photos!  You put together a very professional presentation there.  I liked it a lot.

Mar 26, 2012 09:49 PM #3
Stephen Stanczyk
Safe Haven Home Inspections - Puyallup, WA
Home Inspector - Puyallup WA

Hi Steve.  I would be interested to hear your opinion on the upscale doors from the garage into the home.  They are nice 8 or 10 panel wood doors.  The overall thickness of the door starts out at  1 3/8 inch as required.  The problem I see is all the doors are cut in on each side almost 3/8 inch in order to form the "panels".  This leaves a true thickness in a large portion of the door at less than an inch.  What do you think?

I am also finding more and more new construction where the builders are no longer installing the self closing hinges.  I always recommend them but the IRC does not require them.  Of course your local AHJ may have their own requirements.

Hope the weather in the North is treating you well.

Jun 18, 2012 04:10 PM #4
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Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspector
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