What I'm Seeing Now


A Hole In A Fire-Protective Door Is Not Holy

A hole in a fire-protective door is not holy.

Fire door, garage access door, fire prevention door - no matter what you call it, as Juliet would say about a certain Montague, "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

While Juliet was not referring to fire doors, these doors do have a lot of different names.

This photo shows the door between the house and the garage.

It is a protective door assembly - made of materials that work together to create a barrier against fire or smoke intrusion into the house, and to hold back heat transfer. 

Hopefully it will also help to protect against carbon monoxide infiltration.

Recent codes require an automatic closing hinge that will shut the door completely from an open position.  A recent post on such door hinges can be read by clicking here.

These garage-access doors also act as a way of quickly getting OUT of a house if need be.

The Virginia State Residency Code, and the county this house is in, subscribe to all the fire-related codes in the International Residency Code, the International Building Code, the International Fire Code, various requirements adopted by the National Fire Protection Association such as 80 and 101, and other codes you have not heard about. 

Such a circumstance as shown in the photo would not be allowed.  Why?

Look at the door.  Someone cut a hole in it and covered the opening, on both sides, with an open grill!

That fire-protective door has a hole in it!  The house is exposed to everything that happens in the garage.  That includes a fire, or a running car and its exhaust fumes. 

It's been cold here lately!  Hot or cold, the door also represents an energy loss, summer and winter.

Do you see what Mighty Mo saw?  The garage was cold that day!  You can see the cold dropping from the opening and onto the floor.  Standing in front of the door you could feel the cold air!

If cold air is coming in, what do you think would happen with an expansive fire, or carbon monoxide?

What could happen in a disaster would be, well, unholy.

Unholy holes should not exist in fire protective doors.

I have seen cat and dog doors installed in garage access doors, and single-pane windows cut and installed into the door.

None of that is allowed, and is, of course, quite dangerous.

My recommendation:  sometimes people have ideas they think are good ones, but in reality are not, and sometimes those ideas are very dangerous.  That would be the case with this door.  Given the understanding of what they are doing most people would not have cut this opening, no matter how desirable a hole there might be.  It did not take long for the home inspector to see this and comment on it.  And now - write about it!



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 8 commentsJay Markanich • March 17 2017 12:21AM


But it COULD lead to a Holy experience Jay Markanich 

Posted by Bob "RealMan" Timm, Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor (Ward County Notary Services) over 3 years ago

If it came to that, Bob, let's hope the experience IS a holy one!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Wow, I never seen that before. Whoever did that, what were they thinking?

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) over 3 years ago

That is an odd place to place a vent.  Were they looking for a positive air flow for a furnace that was nearby?

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 3 years ago

Eric - once I saw a doggie door big enough for you and me to get through!

There was a furnace nearby Ed!  And a gas water heater.  And the washer/dryer, and a door to the kitchen!  One thing on my report was that they needed a different means of air source for the combustible appliances.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

I bet 3 out of every 10 garage/house doors I see are compromised! Mostly pet doors... why someone would send poor Fido out in that chemical jungle is beyond me!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 3 years ago

That has got to be one of the most intelligence challenged ideas ever!

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) over 3 years ago

I wouldn't go that many from my experience, Fred, but when I see it usually it's a beauty!

Stephen - let's see if I get this comment back to you right - ya think?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

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