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What are the minimum code requirements for a residential garage?
Sunday, March 20, 2022
Here are the minimum code requirements for a residential garage:
• An attached roofed area for vehicle storage must be open on a least two sides to be defined as a carport. If it is enclosed on three sides, even if there is no garage door on the fourth side, it must comply with code requirements for a garage.
• Garage floor surface must be approved non-combustible material (IRC R309.1)
• A garage floor must be sloped toward the vehicle entry door to facilitate the drainage of liquids (IRC R309.1).
• An automatic garage door opener is not required. But, if installed, must be listed and labeled for UL-325.
• A garage cannot be used as a path for emergency egress from a home, and a bedroom door cannot open onto a garage. (IRC R311.1 and R302.5.1)
• A garage must have at least one GFCI-protected receptacle outlet at each vehicle bay [NEC 211.10(C)(4)].
• The wall between an attached garage and the house living area is required to be minimum 1/2” drywall. Most garages have a ceiling secured to the bottom chord of the roof trusses or rafters, and that has to be 1/2” drywall also.
If there is no ceiling and the roof structure is exposed in the garage, then the wall separating the garage from the dwelling must extend up to the underside of the roof sheathing (IRC Table R302.6).
• If there are habitable rooms above the garage, then the garage ceiling covering must be minium 5/8” Type X drywall or equivalent (IRC Table R302.6).
• Door between garage and house must be solid wood. If not solid wood or steel/honeycomb and at least 1-3/8” thick, then it must have a 20-minute fire rating (IRC R302.5.1). Cutting a hole in the door to install a pet-door flap voids the 20-minute rating. Also, installing a steel door with a glass panel in it also voids the rating unless the glass is fire-rated too, which is obtainable but very expensive.
• Any heating/air conditioning ducts that serve the residence cannot also have registers (vents) in garage (IRC R302.5.2).
• For further details on required fire separation between garage and living area of home, see our article What are the code requirements for fire separation between an attached garage and the house?
These requirements are based on the International Residential Code (IRC), and similar National Electrical Code (NEC) standards. Other codes and local jurisdiction amendments may be different. Also see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Minimum Code Requirements
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