I'm mounting a TV on the family room wall. On the other side of this wall is the garage, which is unfinished (and therefor easier to work on). There are no convenient outlets, so I'm considering punching a small from the family room to the garage to run Romex to a new outlet behind the TV.

I'm concerned about the fire rating and any firewall issues I need to be concerned with, but having a hard time finding relevant codes.

  • Yes, so clarify when you say "unfinished" do you mean no drywall at all? Bare studs? That would usually be a code violation. The International Building Code requires ⅝" drywall between an attached garage and the habitable portion of the house.
    – ArchonOSX
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 23:40

1 Answer 1


If you cut open the wall (remove some drywall) in the garage and do your wiring and then replace the drywall ( which should be 5/8 type X for fire code ) tape and mud the seams you should be back to code compliant. You do not want to make any permanent openings in the garage wall that fire can pass through into the living space.

When you cut out the drywall in the garage you want the vertical cut on the center of a stud so that you have structure to reattach to when you put the old/new piece back in. You can do it with a razor knife but i find an oscillating saw to may much quicker work of it. Find your studs ( since you garage is not finished you should be able to see the drywall nail/screw marks on the wall ) Use a level as a straight edge to mark the lines for you to cut out, When you cut your horizontal lines do not plunge the saw deep into the wall cavity as there may be wiring, pluming etc in the space, run your say at an angle so that just enough of the blade it in far enough to cut the backing paper of the drywall. On your vertical cuts your blade will bottom out on the stud but you may hit the drywall nail/screw heads, move over these and leave the drywall around them to be cleaned up with razor knife.

  • Another concern (covered by some building codes) is openings allowing CO infiltration from garage to living space...
    – DJohnM
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 21:46
  • The OP wrote "unfinished garage" which says to me that it doesn't have drywall, just bare studs with wiring/conduit exposed. Obviously, there is something behind the studs but he isn't going to be able to run cabling through and patch that.
    – DoxyLover
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 22:15
  • 1
    Unfinished does necessarily mean it does not have drywall. In the context of a garage it usually means that it has not been painted and or textured. If they are in any area that is subject to code then the walls will be covered with covering complaint with the fire code, ( type x 5/8 drywll ). If it is not dry-walled then being concerned with fire code by adding an outlet is irrelevant.
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 22:35

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