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  1. #1

    Smile Attic pull-down ladder... in my Garage...

    Hey guys,

    I couldn't really find the most applicable place for this question, but since it happens to be in my garage, I figured this would be the best place.

    So, I live in Fort Lauderdale in South Florida. We don't have basements, unfortunately. We also normally don't have huge attics either, unfortunately. In any case, my house was built in the late 80s, and was not well optioned. One of the things that it lacks is a pull-down ladder to access the attic. As is required by Florida code, there must be an accessible light in the attic (which there is). But I have nothing more than a simple roof panel that I slide out of the way to access the attic.

    Here's my question. I'm looking to install a pull-down, aluminum ladder. Most of the ladders of this type that I find at Lowes or Home Depot have an HVAC seal around the opening.

    Since this is in my garage, it's really not important to me that it have a perfect seal. At least... not that I'm aware of.

    What I want to know is, should I install vents in the panel that attaches to the door (which ultimately creates the seal to the attic)? I only ask because in Florida, we usually have our attics very well ventilated to allow for the heat to escape. In one of the exterior walls of my garage, there are two floor vents which suck in air from the outside and provide ventilation. I don't really know what the point is, since there's really no vents that allow it to go to the attic.

    During Hurricane Wilma and Hurricane Katrina, this roof panel was slapping up and down wildly (never seen that before) and eventually fliped it up so hard that it got lost somewhere in the attic which I didn't find later until after the hurricane.


    So my question is (long story short), do I need vents in my pull-down ladder since I live in South Florida, and the ladder is in the garage (rather than in a bedroom closet like you guys up north have)?


    Thanks!!

    Todd

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Attic pull-down ladder... in my Garage...

    Building codes usually say that a separation between the garage & attic is needed w/ a layer of 1/2" drywall. So no vents or opening unless they are fire rated or possibly a hatch covered with 1/2" drywall are really allowed. The logic being that a fire starting in the garage, where they often start, can't spread unimpeded throughout the attic.
    Not sure what the vents in your garage are for unless they are to relieve the pressure of flood waters on the wall.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Attic pull-down ladder... in my Garage...

    Quote Originally Posted by ed21 View Post
    Building codes usually say that a separation between the garage & attic is needed w/ a layer of 1/2" drywall. So no vents or opening unless they are fire rated or possibly a hatch covered with 1/2" drywall are really allowed. The logic being that a fire starting in the garage, where they often start, can't spread unimpeded throughout the attic.
    Not sure what the vents in your garage are for unless they are to relieve the pressure of flood waters on the wall.
    Thanks Ed21, I appreciate it! Makes perfect sense!!!

    I really have no idea what the vents are for either, but I think I'll ask my local city building department.



    Thanks!

    Todd

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Attic pull-down ladder... in my Garage...

    I can't speak for Florida specifically but attics are generally vented through gable-end vents, soffit vents, and ridge vents directly to the outside. You generally want a low vent (soffit) and a high vent (ridge) to create a crossflow.

    You don't want a vent between the garage and attic for the reasons Ed mentioned, plus it would provide a potential path for carbon monoxide into the living space of the house.

    The wall vents in the garage could be for venting carbon monoxide or for providing fresh air to combustion appliances like a gas furnace or water heater.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Attic pull-down ladder... in my Garage...

    BTW- the pull down stair may meet the code requirement for separation from the attic.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Default Re: Attic pull-down ladder... in my Garage...

    P.S. -- For those living in colder climates: if you have combustion appliances (i.e. gas furnace or water heater) in the garage, do NOT block the vents on the exterior wall in the winter. These vents are absolutely necessary to provide combustion air.

    If you block the vents, one appliance can backdraft through another appliance, resulting in carbon monoxide buildup in your home. They tell me that's a bad thing.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

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