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Old 04-08-2013, 05:45 PM   #1
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Header advice - wall opening..


Hello all..if anyone could give some insight as to what size header I would need and/or what might be the best way to go about doing this job, I'd greatly appreciate it.

I would like to cut an opening in the pictured wall (similar to the opening in the right side of the pic) between the kitchen and living room. My goal is to make an L-shaped island. The wall is a weight bearing wall (parallel to roof line/perpendicular to joists). The studs are 16" o.c. except for the rightmost one - that is 12". We also plan on widening the door opening on the left 7". Just learning the terminology - but, I think we'll need to sister in 'jack' studs on the inside of the rightmost 'king' stud and new leftmost 'king' stud to support the new header.

Therefore, I'll need to span a distance of 5'6" from jack stud to jack stud.

Based on that - is it possible to determine whether I need to use 2" x 4"/6"/10"s to make a header for that span?

I tried to give as much info as I could. If you guys need more or if it just isn't determinable, please let me know. Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:01 PM   #2
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Header advice - wall opening..


Always better to upsize it if your not sure. Make sure to climb in the attic above if possible and check to make sure there isn't any heavy unusual load bearing at that location. If it is just basic joists and/or rafters, figure on putting in a double 2x10. Also make sure that if you have a basement or crawl space, that you block in directly under the jacks to transfer the load all the way down. You will need to temporarily support the load while you cut out the studs and insert the header. If your not comfortable doing that, you should probably hire someone to do this. A competent carpenter in a couple of hours could have the header in and be on his way.

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Old 04-08-2013, 06:04 PM   #3
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Header advice - wall opening..


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Always better to upsize it if your not sure. Make sure to climb in the attic above if possible and check to make sure there isn't any heavy unusual load bearing at that location. If it is just basic joists and/or rafters, figure on putting in a double 2x10. Also make sure that if you have a basement or crawl space, that you block in directly under the jacks to transfer the load all the way down. You will need to temporarily support the load while you cut out the studs and insert the header. If your not comfortable doing that, you should probably hire someone to do this. A competent carpenter in a couple of hours could have the header in and be on his way.
Thanks, sixeightten..

After reading your post, I realized that I forgot to include that I do have a basement and the room pictured is my first floor kitchen of a two floor house. I do not know if/how that might change your recommendation..
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:10 PM   #4
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Header advice - wall opening..


You just need to install some blocking that will fit between the floor and the beam in the basement. You don't want that load just resting on the flooring. If it happens to land directly on a floor joist, just add another block beside the joist. With there being a floor above, you should be able to poke something between the drywall ceiling and the 2x4 top plate to determine if there is any heavy beam above there. You will probably find that it is just typical floor joists at 16" on center resting there.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:22 PM   #5
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Header advice - wall opening..


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You just need to install some blocking that will fit between the floor and the beam in the basement. You don't want that load just resting on the flooring. If it happens to land directly on a floor joist, just add another block beside the joist. With there being a floor above, you should be able to poke something between the drywall ceiling and the 2x4 top plate to determine if there is any heavy beam above there. You will probably find that it is just typical floor joists at 16" on center resting there.
You're exactly right - there are floor joists 16" o.c. resting on the 2x4 top plate directly above each of those studs.

When you say "blocking" - do you mean to do something like cut pieces of 2x4s and kind of sister them next to the support beams in the basement to help support the load along with the temporary joists on the first floor?

Something like that should be relatively easy as that side of the basement is unfinished at the moment.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:29 PM   #6
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Header advice - wall opening..


You got it!

You know how to build a temp wall to hold things up while you do the header right?
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:40 PM   #7
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Header advice - wall opening..


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You got it!

You know how to build a temp wall to hold things up while you do the header right?
Well, my father-in-law is helping me - I'm just learning all of this as I go.

To take a guess, if all I'm doing is wedging 2x4s in the basement - I presume it's OK to put a 2x4 on the ceiling parallel to the wall and then wedge in 2x4s underneath it on both sides?

Haha, that's my best guess (aside from purchasing/renting temporary jack supports) - what's the official way?
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:54 PM   #8
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Header advice - wall opening..


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Well, my father-in-law is helping me - I'm just learning all of this as I go.

To take a guess, if all I'm doing is wedging 2x4s in the basement - I presume it's OK to put a 2x4 on the ceiling parallel to the wall and then wedge in 2x4s underneath it on both sides?

Haha, that's my best guess (aside from purchasing/renting temporary jack supports) - what's the official way?
You got the gist of it. Leave yourself enough room to work, probably about 2' back would be ideal.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:58 PM   #9
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Header advice - wall opening..


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You got the gist of it. Leave yourself enough room to work, probably about 2' back would be ideal.
Thanks so much, this info/guidance is invaluable.

Back to original question just to clarify - definitely 2x10s?
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:37 PM   #10
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Header advice - wall opening..


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Thanks so much, this info/guidance is invaluable.

Back to original question just to clarify - definitely 2x10s?
Chances are, that ceiling is about 8' high. If you push 2-2x10's up against the top plates, the bottom will be close to other door heights that you have. With a 66" span, that will carry typical 2nd floor joists easily.

Figure out where you want the bottom to end up. You may even find that 2-2x12's work out closer. The cost to upsize from 2x10 to 2x12 is probably less than 5 bucks.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:56 PM   #11
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Header advice - wall opening..


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Chances are, that ceiling is about 8' high. If you push 2-2x10's up against the top plates, the bottom will be close to other door heights that you have. With a 66" span, that will carry typical 2nd floor joists easily.

Figure out where you want the bottom to end up. You may even find that 2-2x12's work out closer. The cost to upsize from 2x10 to 2x12 is probably less than 5 bucks.
It is an 8 foot ceiling.

I guess what I'm trying to figure out is what's best structurally, as that's most important, and then making cosmetic decisions afterwards. I'd like the opening to be as big/high as possible and match the height of that makeshift soffit we made on the right side of the pic (to hide a junction box and run lights over a breakfast bar). To do that - I can make a header out of 2x4s or 2x6s and then do whatever I needed to even it out. But, if I HAD to use 2x10s and then even out the opening with the height of the door openings, I could do that as well.

I hope this rambling makes sense.
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:00 PM   #12
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Header advice - wall opening..


I would not use a 2x6 for a header that size. If I could actually be there, see everything, and verify things, I may go down to 2- 2x8's. I am not there, cannot see, nor verify, so I will stick with my original guess. I have been framing for almost thirty years, so take that for what it's worth.
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:08 PM   #13
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Header advice - wall opening..


2-2x10 will work 2/3 of the time, if I understand you correctly, depends on other factors; http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/ic...002_par021.htm

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Old 04-08-2013, 08:43 PM   #14
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Header advice - wall opening..


Why dont you figure out the load properly and size the header accordingly? I would bet that a double 2 x 8 with 1/2 inch ply in the web will suffice at this span. The reason for using a 2 x 10's is usually so you don't have cripple studs to deal with above the header. For maximum height in the opening do the math, don't guess. For blocking below I would use full depth wood blocking across with hangers to prevent twisting. The base and cap for the temp walls on both sides should be a strongback, for the aforementioned unsupported reason. 2 x 6 Min recommended.

Good Luck, dont hit your thumb

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Last edited by jagans; 04-08-2013 at 08:48 PM.
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