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Old 10-19-2009, 10:01 AM   #1
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New Windows/Fireplace/Header Question


info about the house and the project:
a. 2 story cape style home in ma
b. wall is load bearing ourside wall with bedroom above and roof/crawlsapce above that.
c. wall has a fireplace/chimney right in the middle (when i say wall, were actually only talking half of the wall on this side of the house, not the full length of the wall from the front to the back of the house)
d. house built in 1980
e. 8 ft high ceilings.
f. there are no windows in the existing area so these would be considered new contrsuction installation into an existing finished wall.
g. the drywall is textured...(it almost looks like someone plastered all the walls with a thick skim coat and then let a bunch of monkeys have a bananna fight so the texture is nrealy impossible to replicate).

I was planning on installing two 24 by 24 octagon windows (stock from Home Depot) on each side of my fireplace about 12 inches from the ceiling. I started to cut into the drywall and cut my octagon shapes using the template provided but quickly figured out that because of the framing required to get them in properly, i would need to take out more drywall. Now, I've decided that it would be just as easy to install 2 full size windows on each side of the fireplace instead of the ocatgon windows. So i took the rough opening dimensions from the windows I would like to install (Anderson Woodwright 400 series new constr) and cut out my opening in the drywall to match. The goal now is to put in full size windows on each side of the fireplace and add a built in storage bench on each side with some half Nantucket style shutters on the botttom half of the window. There is a nice nook that would facilitate this.
Now that I've outlined all the info, here are first questions:
The windows are approx 33 by 57. Would a 2x8 header (doubled up with plywood in between) do the trick on each window as long as it was framed in correctly? I was originally thinking 2x10s but that will put the top of the window too far down and wont match up with the other windows in the room.
What load requirements do I need to consider because of the fireplace/chimney?
any way to nail the header into the ceiling plate through the drywall? I'd rather not have to rip out that last 10 inches of drywall above the window opening because I will never be able to match up the texture and would then need to rip out all the drywall on that wall and replace it.

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Old 10-19-2009, 11:41 AM   #2
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ed....Is this a gable end or front/back.

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Old 10-19-2009, 01:00 PM   #3
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this is a gable end. working on the profile now.
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Old 10-19-2009, 01:17 PM   #4
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ed...while the gable end does have some weight to it, it typically isnt a load bearing wall. I'd be comfortable with 2x8's. The drywall should come out from above and below the opening so you can get in a header, jack studs and cripples. If still in doubt, contact a licensed contractor, engineer or achitect.

I'm not there to look at it, but I dont think the fireplace is an issue.
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Old 10-19-2009, 01:19 PM   #5
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The size of the windows sounds like model tw2842. I'm using them in my house. 2x10s are usually a safe bet when dealing with a single window install on the first floor. I used dbl 2x10 on the first floor and dbl 2x8 on the second floor regardless if there was a floor load above. FWIW, the use of headers is a concept that seemed to elude the original builders of my house.
In your situation, it sounds like this is only a wall load and the roof and floor is supported on the adjacent wall and in this case very little load on that header.
With that said, if you're unsure of the load, use a 3.5 (or double 1.75) x 7.25 LVL for your header. Of course, this is just a WAG but the lumberyard where you buy the LVL will, most likely, be able to run those numbers for you.
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Old 10-19-2009, 01:53 PM   #6
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model is actually TW2446 but real close to the one you mention. i'll go with the 2x10 header.

what are your thoughts on working around the drywall? do you think I could get the header and studs nailed in correctly with the drywall on top and bottom. Could I hammer through the drywall into the studs and then simply patch those areas? If I have to take out the top 10 inches of drywall, the entire wall needs to come down to the studs because of the texture on the walls. there is no way I can properly match it up.
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:37 PM   #7
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"The windows are approx 33 by 57. Would a 2x8 header (doubled up with plywood in between) do the trick on each window as long as it was framed in correctly?" ----
http://ftp.resource.org/bsc.ca.gov/t...2_page0376.pdf

"What load requirements do I need to consider because of the fireplace/chimney?" ----none, it should be self-supporting, check in attic to see how much roof load is on wall area.

"any way to nail the header into the ceiling plate through the drywall?" --- Nope. Even if you cut 12' off the header studs to angle it under the drywall, you would have structurally weak window supports.
Be safe, Gary
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:41 PM   #8
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thanks gbr.
thats what I thought on the wall. I guess all the drywall is coming out....wife isnt going to be happy about the construction zone but she will appreciate it when it is done...
Looks like this is confirming either 2x8s or 2x10s are fine for this. The only thing i would question is needing 2 jack studes under each side of the header. I would think that 1 on each side would do the trick, especially because they will be attached to king studs on each side. seems like overkill on a 3ft opening.
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:45 PM   #9
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Ed - on an opening that narrow, you only need one trimmer (or jack stud) on each side - not two.
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:55 PM   #10
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As a general rule of thumb, if you take out more than 2 studs and replacing with a header then you should consider doubling the jack studs. So generally, anything wider than 48"OC. I think of it as not removing the studs but moving the studs to the sides under the header.
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:57 PM   #11
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Most areas are 6' or more requiring two trimmers, some are 5'.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:22 PM   #12
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thanks guys.

here is a pic of a diagonal stud. about 3 inches from where i would like to put in one of the windows.. this is on the back corner of the house. it looks like something they would use when they are raising the framing into place to keep it from falling down.....it looks like the cut a vertical stud off at about 6 inches and supported the cutoff stud with this....my question -- can it come out if i replace the stud that was cutoff with a new full vertical stud down to the bottom plate?

here are some pics:


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Old 10-19-2009, 07:23 PM   #13
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sorry...those are tough to look at...lots of head tilting
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:31 PM   #14
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Ed - you should be alright removing that diagonal brace. It was most likely installed (as you said) during framing - probably to plumb up or square up an out of whack wall. As long as you have correct spacing between studs, don't worry about replacing that tiny cripple - but if it makes you feel better - go for it.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:35 PM   #15
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Cooke, are you sure about that? They look like shear braces.

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