What is the difference between an attached and detached garage?

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The simple way to define an attached garage is that it shares a common wall with the living area of a house, but building officials usually consider that any structural attachment between garage and house—wall, roof, or beams—to mean the garage is attached. Electrical conduit, fencing, or any non-structural connections don't count. But it is ultimately up to the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction, which is the local building department official) to make the call. 

    The difference between an attached and detached garage is important because both the International Residential Code (IRC) and the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC) require an attached garage to have a fire-separation barrier between it and the house living area. To learn more about the requirements, see our blog post What are the code requirements for fire separation between an attached garage and the house?

    One of the unusual code mandates is that, even if the garage is detached, any garage walls within three feet of the house must have 1/2” drywall on the interior surface for fire separation. All of this is due to the high number of fires that start from flammables stored in the garage, which can move quickly into the living area of a home if there is no fire resistant barrier.

    Also, we suggest reading What is the difference between a carport and a garage? It’s not as simple as you might think.

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Here’s links to a collection of some of our other blog posts about GARAGES AND CARPORTS:  

What is the difference between a carport and a garage? 

Is an attached garage required to have a door to the house or exterior?

Why is my garage ceiling sagging? 

Why are there score line grooves in the concrete floor of the garage? 

What are the common problems when a homeowner converts a garage to conditioned living space, such as a family room?
 
 • What are the code requirements for fire separation between an attached garage and the house?

Can a bedroom door open into the garage?

Does an attached garage that is only used for storage or as a workshop, and not for parking a car, still have to comply with building code requirements for a garage?

How far apart should electric receptacle outlets be placed in a garage? 

Why if the garage door track a white tube?

 
What is the raised metal plate on the floor under the garage door?

 Why do I have to hold down the button to close the garage door? 

How can I check my garage door to make sure it is safe?  

What does a home inspector check on an electric garage door? 

• Can the a garage door header bracket and torsion springs be mounted through drywall? 

How can I tell if cracks in the garage floor are a problem or not? 

Is tempered/safety glass required by the building code for windows and doors? 

 Why can't I use my home's central air conditioning system to cool the garage? 

 What is the unusual garage door opener mounted on the wall above the door and marked "Wayne Dalton”?

When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required in the garage?

• Why are most pull-down attic ladders not approved by building code for installation in a garage? 

• Is the wood anchor pad for a garage door rail and torsion spring supposed to be nailed or bolted to the wall? 

Is a ceiling receptacle outlet for a garage door opener required to be GFCI protected? 

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