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Old 08-04-2010, 04:00 PM   #1
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Bearing wall header size


My home is single story house. The house was built back in 1950. We want to remove the two bearing walls at the corner of our kitchen so that it is more open to the living room.

The 2x4 wall width is 8' and 4'. It is supporting the 18' long 2x4 ceiling joist @ 16" o.c.

I know I need to ask the structural engineer to size the member, but I want to get a rough estimate regrading the header size and post size to determine if I want to do this remodel or not.

I'm planning to use 4x6 head to span 8' and is supported by 4x4 post, would it be enough? Or do I need to go 4x8? To me, I don't really want to use 4x8 deal to some of the space issue.

The header would only be supporting the drywall and ceiling joist, and may be some human access to the attic once in a while.


Any information would help. Thanks

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Old 08-04-2010, 11:17 PM   #2
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Bearing wall header size


Your are right about seeing an engineer. What is your snow load, if any? Wind load? "The 2x4 wall width is 8' and 4'. It is supporting the 18' long 2x4 ceiling joist @ 16" o.c. " So, you have an 8' long and a 4' long 2x4 wall? Are they perpendicular to each other, so that one is maybe not really load bearing? If you have an 18' clear span, you are going to need a serious header, IMO. Much more than 8" high.

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Old 08-05-2010, 12:04 AM   #3
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Bearing wall header size


If one of the walls is abutting an outside wall, it is keeping that wall from bowing out under loads and/or winds. It may be needed for shear flow of the structure. You need the S.E. not just to size the header, but also support the load at the jack studs transferred below through the floor to the ground. You would be changing a distributed load to a point load, taking a reduction. The positive ties to the remaining wall and number of fasteners, footing size, post connections, etc. all need to be sized also. Plaster and lath on the ceiling alone, weigh 8# per sq.ft. http://ftp.resource.org/bsc.ca.gov/t...2_page0376.pdf

Be safe, Gary
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:23 PM   #4
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Bearing wall header size


Thanks for the response, may be I should explain the building more clearly. The ceiling height is 8-0. The span of the opening is only 8-0 and it is on a concrete foundation.

My house is located Northridge, CA. No snow. And the header is only supporting the ceiling and the gypsum board and some human weight for attic access once in a while. No storage in the attic.

Im wondering if I can use 4x6 header to support this 8-0 wide opening? If not, what size is most likely I need to use?


Thanks so much
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:34 PM   #5
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Bearing wall header size


Here lumber stores (not big box) have the software to size a beam
I went with the information on the house, walls, etc & they sized the beam...free
My lumber store actually sent the info out for an engineers review/stamp
...that part you may nopt find at your local store
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