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Garage attic access panel and garage firewall separation

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K Poteracki
Submitted on 2011/04/30 at 11:44 pm
If an attic access panel frame in a garage made of wood is no good what should it be? I’m updating mine soon and would like to know.
asked in Car Garage by darekrudy (21,730 points)
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1 Answer

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Hi KP,
I think you’re talking about the trim that supports garage attic access panel. It doesn’t look like many building inspectors really care about it, that piece of trim is rarely well attached to the ceiling framing and even if it is, it will burn fast causing the garage access panel to drop. 
What I would suggest is to either drive a few nails around the frame the drywall sheet fits in so that square piece sits on the nails and the trim remains as a decoration not as an actual support. You could also use screws or L shaped brackets for this purpose. Look at the drawing below:
answered by darekrudy (21,730 points)


Submitted on 2011/05/16 at 7:07 pm | In reply to Dariusz Rudnicki.
Hi Dariusz,
Thanks for the info, this is a good idea. I have another question for you. My garage is attached to the side of my house, so how would I properly seal this access panel? Also, what should the attic shared wall in the garage be made of? Does it matter?


Hi KP,
It depends what is that house exterior / side wall made out of. If it’s masonry, just make sure that there’s no gaps in it / seal it with fire rated caulking or foam. If it is a frame, single family home, the attic firewall should be made out of 1/2? drywall (at least), taped / finished with joint compound.
However, if you have a properly sealed garage attic ceiling and attic access panel, which acts as a firewall separation, attic section of a garage – house common wall (depending on jurisdiction) may or may not require drywall.
Support the panel (tight fit, 5/8? thick, type X drywall would be perfect) with brackets or nails / screws, and make a solid wood trim around it (garage side). Since the trim wouldn’t support anything anymore, just make sure that it is tight against the panel’s drywall surface.
More about firewall in garage firewall separation


Thanks for all the info. I’m glad I found someone who can help answer my questions.