The family room, which used to be just a back porch, has one wall against the enclosed garage. This room only has wood paneling, with some kind of insulation behind it, followed by some kind of wood paneling/sheathing on the garage side.

I read that drywall on a garage wall is supposed to be fire rated but I can't tell if that means on the garage interior only or if it also needs to be on the family room interior wall attached to the garage.


The fire protection is for fire traveling from the garage to the living spaces, not vise versa.

The garage is to be separated from a living space with 1/2” gypsum board installed on the garage side and with a 1 3/8” min. solid core door. (See ICC R309.2)

In addition, if a living space is above a garage, then it needs to be separated with 5/8” Type X gypsum board AND no sleeping room can open directly into a garage.

Your existing wood paneling on the living side is acceptable, as is.

  • "Your existing wood paneling on the living side is acceptable, as is." Provided there is 5/8" drywall on the garage interior in that area. Some builders would go cheap and only sheetrock the part of the wall adjacent to living spaces, not the entire wall. So when you converted the porch, you may have to go back into the garage and rock the rest of that wall.
    – JRaef
    Jun 22 '20 at 19:18
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    @JRaef It’s 1/2” on garage side not 5/8”. Also, yes all walls adjacent to a living space requires 1/2” on garage side...not just at the new enclosed porch area.
    – Lee Sam
    Jun 22 '20 at 19:27
  • Huh. I'm in California, fire rated walls here require Type X sheetrock, which only comes in 5/8". I wasn't aware it was different anywhere else.
    – JRaef
    Jun 22 '20 at 19:34
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    @Rob The Code doesn’t say what cannot be on the wall, it says what must be on the wall. You can leave the “thin wood sheathing” but you must add a minimum of 1/2” gypsum board, and a solid core door a minimum 1 3/8” thick.
    – Lee Sam
    Jun 23 '20 at 12:17
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    @ThreePhaseEel Disregard the specifics I previously listed, I looked at my code book and they are all state of Minnesota amendments to the 2012 IRC and not applicable to this question. Also I was mistaken about the wood - there are cases where it can be used as a fireblock but in Minnesota, gypsum is specified as the required garage /dwelling separation.
    – Jon
    Jun 23 '20 at 17:07

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