Home Inspection - No Firewall & Improper install of cement board

4 Replies

I just received the inspection report on a duplex we have under contract. There are many many issues - including safety issues.  The report states that there is no firewall between the duplex units. How expensive is it to add a firewall?

Also the cement board siding and trim boards are improperly installed. There are gaps in several areas and at the butt joints. The siding is wavy and not secured properly.  The cement board siding was installed to cover damaged fascia. 

Are these two problems too big to overcome?


@Boots Bonner

I have done some remodeling in my units before, the one i can advice you on is the fireproofing. To have the duplex be separated by a firewall would require you to put up two layers of 5/8" fireguard drywall on both sides. That a total of 4 layers of drywall on the wall. I don't know how much are between the two units, the cost for one piece is about $12 for a 4'x8'. 

Calculated how much drywall you will need plus 15% for extra materials and another 25% for labor. 

Hope this helps

Was it recently renovated and not done correctly?  Or has it been without a firewall for years?

If it's been like that 'forever', your setup may be grandfathered in.  A call to your local building department should get you at least a general answer - and a good feeling whether you'll likely have to do the work or if you might be able get by without it.

@Boots Bonner , I second what Mike said.  I think it will be worth your effort to reach out to the building department to do some more investigating.  In my experience, duplex construction falls in to a weird grey area between Single Family laws and Commercial laws.  So, there is many different ways to construct a firewall, and it seems like every inspector and engineer has a different opinion on what is correct.  Someone from your local building department ought to be able to help you figure out what you have going on.  Good luck.

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