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gatorheel 01-31-2013 07:17 PM

New Window Under Old Beam
I'm enclosing an existing porch. There's an existing beam spanning the entire width, carrying the roof load. I'm framing up a wall underneath the beam and will be adding three windows. The beam is lower than I'd prefer, but not low enough to remove it and build a load-bearing wall.

My question: Is there any issue using the beam as the top of my rough window opening? Most drawings I've seen (and the method a pro crew used to frame a garage we added last year) set a horizontal 2x6 below the header (sometimes with cripples between) as a nailer for the window fin.

I can't see that there would be any problems to nail directly to the beam, but I've been surprised before.


MNsawyergp 02-07-2013 02:48 PM

This would be similar to log cabin construction. In that case ample room has to be left above the window for the header because as the logs dry out the whole top of the cabin comes down by a couple inches. In your case, it is an old structure so the settling should be done. I would still leave some room above the window to be safe. It might even be good to have some kind of sliding joint to allow movement between the window trim and the beam. I wouldn't fasten anything of the window to the beam.

joecaption 02-07-2013 04:11 PM

Got a picture? From what I'm picturing I see no problum using that beam as a header. A header is just to support whatever is above it, since it's already supported it's not needed.

kaschmid3 02-07-2013 07:44 PM

Yes you will be ok as long as the window is not tight u need some clearance on all 4 sides of window for expansion, contractions and settling

gatorheel 02-08-2013 11:59 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Here's a pic. It's a bizarre balcony arrangement, but once I wall it off it'll make a nice little 6x12 office. I can't wait to get it done if for nothing else that I can finally repaint.

I was trying to maximize window size, but it turns out that the closest standard size window is about 4" shorter than I'd wanted, so instead of spending nearly 2x to go custom I'll have a little room to play. You may be able to see one problem: the bottom of the beam is a few inches below the current window tops. I haven't decided exactly how I'll position the new ones, but I'm hoping I can use trim to make it blend. Either way, it'll be symmetrical, so that will help.

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