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