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Don’t pay more for garages than you have to!

This week, we’re going to correct a common myth – and maybe put some cash back in your wallet in the process.

Many people believe that if you have an attached garage on a home that you must install fire-rated drywall between the garage and the house.

Regular 1/2 drywall is about $13 retail, while fire-rated 1/2 drywall is $22. For 5/8 drywall, the difference is $20 for regular, $30 for fire-rated.

The National Building Code of Canada (2010 edition, as used in this province) says otherwise: there is an exemption for garages attached to houses when that house is used for a residential occupancy. That’s a fancy way of saying that as long as people are living in the house, no fire separation is required.

Given that fire-rated drywall is more expensive than the regular drywall (almost double for 1/2 drywall, 66 per cent increase for 5/8" material), that might add up to a decent saving.

Now, if you have an attached garage there are some details you need to tend to, such as

  • Doors leading from the garage to living areas (including basements) must have an air-tight seal/.
  • Doors leading to living areas must automatically close.
  • The garage must be sealed from the rest of the house with vapour barrier.

The requirement for fire-rated drywall remains for garages attached to homes or buildings used for other purposes, like a dentist’s office, hairdressing salon and the like.