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jsand 12-20-2012 02:12 PM

Determining potential door height?
Hello all,
I'd like to install sliding glass doors where I currently have large windows. I found a great set for sale on craigslist, much nicer than I can usually afford, but am not sure how to tell whether they would fit in height - they are taller than my windows. The current windows end 11.5" off the ceiling, but maybe there's a support beam running across them below the ceiling. Do I need to tear out the wall to determine the max height they can be (i.e., where the support beam is)?

joecaption 12-20-2012 04:01 PM

It's called a header.
Most likly your going to have to open up the wall anyway to be able to redo the header.

jsand 12-20-2012 04:54 PM

Yes. We'll probably tear most of the wall out in the process. But if I want these doors, I need to buy them now but I don't plan to do the job for quite a while (I have a lot of reading to do before I can do this job!) so am hoping for a non-destructive way to determine where support beams (headers?) need to be before buying mis-sized doors.

Thanks! Julie

jsand 12-20-2012 05:22 PM

Looks like it's the top plate I'm trying to determine the height to the bottom of since that would determine the maximum height of the doors. (or is a minimum header required below the top plate?)

s4s4u 12-20-2012 10:38 PM

Is this a load bearing wall?

jsand 12-20-2012 11:37 PM

Yes, it is weight bearing, and I just read that that's why I need a header and that I can determine the width from the length needed.

sublime2 12-20-2012 11:52 PM


Originally Posted by jsand (Post 1077191)
Yes, it is weight bearing, and I just read that that's why I need a header and that I can determine the width from the length needed.

You are currently 11.5" from the ceiling with the window you have. Are you looking to make that size smaller?
If so,its unlikely you can. Odds are you already have a header above the window,removing the window for a door which will be wider will require the header to be as wide as the door opening or wider to carry the weight of the opening. A header is usually made out of two 2x10 boards with half inch ply between then.

rossfingal 12-21-2012 06:32 AM

How wide are the existing windows? -
How wide is the door you want to put in?
Are the existing windows, one unit? - or is there a space between them -
several inches?
A picture would help.


Windows on Wash 12-21-2012 10:00 AM


You might be very near the biggest size you can run. Might need a LVL or flitch beam if you want to make it taller.

Pictures will help.

hand drive 12-23-2012 09:46 AM

you can reduce header width down by adding a structural header instead of a standard header. could gain a couple of inches at least, not a whole bunch of space. maybe 82 or 83" off of finished floor is all you need to clear the door and with 8' ceilings your opening is really close now...

Gary in WA 12-24-2012 10:31 PM

Proscriptive built-up header spans, per code, use your local snow load:


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