How to Build a Fire Wall in a Garage

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According to a Sept. 14, 2009, press release from the National Fire Protection Association, there were 403,000 residential property fires in 2008, one every 78 seconds, with a cost of $8.6 billion. The association also stated that a civilian dies in residential fires every 2 hours and 38 minutes. Because most garages are extensions of homes and potential fire starters such as gasoline, paint thinner and other chemicals are stored in garages, adding a residential firewall is a good idea. It could contain a garage fire long enough for the family to get out of the house.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Ladder
  • 5/8-inch Type X or Type C sheet rock
  • Sheet rock screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Utility knife
  • Self-adhesive firewall tape
  • Plaster (optional)
  • Paint (optional)

Preparation

  • Measure the garage walls and ceiling twice. The measurements determine how much sheet rock is needed.

  • Remove existing sheet rock from the garage walls, exposing the walls to the framing.

  • Attach the new sheet rock to the garage wall framing with sheet rock screws. Start in one corner of the garage and work your way around the structure. Work from the top of a wall to its bottom and from side to side.

  • Cut sheet rock to size as needed. Measure the area to be covered and pencil a cutting line to that measurement on sheet rock. Cut the line twice with a utility knife. It's not necessary to cut all the way through the sheet rock. Turn the sheet rock over and bend it to a 90-degree angle. This breaks it. Cut through the paper, and it's ready to be installed.

  • Cut holes in sheet rock to expose electrical outlets and light switches.

  • Attach sheet rock to the ceiling. Start in a corner. Work from side to side and back to front.

  • Cut holes in ceiling sheet rock for lighting fixtures.

  • Cover all seams between sections of sheet rock with the self-adhesive firewall tape.

  • Plaster the sheet rock if desired.

  • Paint the sheet rock or plastered sheet rock if desired.

Tips & Warnings

  • The Home Safety Council recommends taking extra care of combustible chemicals typically stored in garages. Keep the chemical in the same container in which it was purchased. Not all containers are capable of holding certain chemical compounds. Close the container completely before storing, especially pool-cleaning chemicals. Keep chemicals separated to avoid explosive mixtures. If gasoline is stored, use only an approved gasoline container; close valves and openings as directed.
  • Sheet rock is heavy. For safety, complete this project with the help of a friend or two. According to USG, a leading building materials manufacturer, sheet rock weighs 2 2/10 pounds per square foot. So a 4-foot-by-8 foot-by-5/8-inch piece of sheet rock weighs 70 4/10 pounds, a 4-foot-by-10-foot-by-5/8-inch section weighs 88 pounds and a 4-foot-by-12 foot-by-5/8-inch piece weighs 105 6/10 pounds

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