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Old 10-04-2008, 10:49 AM   #1
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I'm remodeling my kitchen right now and want to remove a load-bearing wall that spans 7 feet. It is supporting an unfinished attic (full size, cape cod style) that is currently only used for storage, and the roof above. The attic might one day be finished and two bedrooms added up there, however, so I've got to account for that now.

I was going to construct the header with two 2x10's with a piece of plywood in between. I was going to insert the header beneath the double top plate that is already there and support each side with a double 2x4 post. So my questions are:

Do I need to remove the double top plate and then add the header? Or can I simply nail the header in place beneath the existing double top plate, for added strength?

And will a double 2x4 be sturdy enough on each side to act as the support columns?

I am planning on doing this today, by the way.

Thanks a lot!
Dave

Last edited by dc4nomore; 10-04-2008 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 10-04-2008, 12:52 PM   #2
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Keep the double header. You should have a triple 2x4. The end one is a king stud that goes to the double plate. Nail against the header to keep the header from rolling over. In an earth quake they does happen.

Also make sure that you have good support on the floor for this procedure. If you have unsupported 2x4 plate these could fail. What you are dong is shifting the weight from 5 different points to 2 points. This is a significant increase in psi on the floor plate.

Also I hope you have a false wall up to hold up the ceiling during this process. Otherwise you could see some serious slouching of the whole structure.
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Old 10-04-2008, 02:54 PM   #3
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I agree with Marvin, there should be two trimmer studs under each end supporting the header, and a kingstud at each end, nailed to the header.
Definately leave at least one top plate fully intact. The top plate is critical in the wall's ability to transfer the lateral loads and serves in tension.

Make sure that you get solid blocking under the floor beneath the studs down to the beam as stated. Very, very important.
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Old 10-04-2008, 03:11 PM   #4
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I agree with Marvin, there should be two trimmer studs under each end supporting the header, and a kingstud at each end, nailed to the header.
Definately leave at least one top plate fully intact. The top plate is critical in the wall's ability to transfer the lateral loads and serves in tension.

Make sure that you get solid blocking under the floor beneath the studs down to the beam as stated. Very, very important.
Yes, sometimes it pays to look down, not just up.

I can imagine the floor plate sinking under all that weight especially after the attic gets finished.

I have had to fix too many of those over the years. But I can't complain, the money is good.

There was one this spring that had a 6 inch drop after the owner decided to hack out 5 feet of the retaining wall. After that there were 2 2x6's end to end with an over lap of 4 feet spanning 28 feet. And there were 4 of these in a row.

And it gets even worse. Setting on the floor above this disaster was an aquarium. Not your average aquarium of like 30 gallons. It was a 150 gallon aquarium. So the added weight of 1500 pounds on a floor that was caving in was adding to the problem.

He called me because he wanted new gas service and a tankless hot water heater put in. Once I got in the basement and saw that I new I would be getting more work.

And he was wondering why his doors wouldn't close anymore and his sheet rock was cracking!!!!!
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Old 10-04-2008, 04:30 PM   #5
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Ok guys, thanks a lot for the info. I've gotten held up on another thing in the kitchen today, so I don't think the header will happen today. And I've got a wedding to attend tomorrow so it will have to wait until next weekend.

But I will go ahead and keep both top plates. And there are already double 2x4 posts on each end. So I will leave the outside 2x4's alone - making those the king studs. Then I will trim the other and add one additional stud on each side giving me two trimmer studs under each end of the header. And I will make sure to have temporary supports in position on each side before I get to work.

I'm glad you both mentioned reinforcing the floor. I had thought about that, but it was kind of at the back of my mind and I might have forgotten had you not said anything. I checked in the basement, and the wall I'm removing is actually about 6" offset from the main support beam down there. Now normally, you would just make sure there was a stack of blocks going from the top of the beam to the underside of the floor, right? But how would you recommend I support mine? I could nail 2x4's in between the rafters but there would not be anything directly underneath.

Thanks again,
Dave
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Old 10-04-2008, 07:08 PM   #6
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Dave,

The bearing point being offset from the beam complicates things a little bit, but it isn't insurmountable.

Although your best bet is to contact a structural engineer to evaluate the loads, there is one option that will probably get you by.

Loads transfer downward, and 45 degrees out each way. You could install a couple new joists right under the bearing studs, which will carry the load over to the beam. At the very least, a good amount of solid blocking between the existing joists at the load point would help transfer the load laterally to the two closest joists, and down to the beam. If you have 2x10 joists, try to use 2x10 blocking, or the largest you can. Use nails, not screws. No less than three blocks.
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Old 10-04-2008, 07:29 PM   #7
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Ok guys, thanks a lot for the info. I've gotten held up on another thing in the kitchen today, so I don't think the header will happen today. And I've got a wedding to attend tomorrow so it will have to wait until next weekend.

But I will go ahead and keep both top plates. And there are already double 2x4 posts on each end. So I will leave the outside 2x4's alone - making those the king studs. Then I will trim the other and add one additional stud on each side giving me two trimmer studs under each end of the header. And I will make sure to have temporary supports in position on each side before I get to work.

I'm glad you both mentioned reinforcing the floor. I had thought about that, but it was kind of at the back of my mind and I might have forgotten had you not said anything. I checked in the basement, and the wall I'm removing is actually about 6" offset from the main support beam down there. Now normally, you would just make sure there was a stack of blocks going from the top of the beam to the underside of the floor, right? But how would you recommend I support mine? I could nail 2x4's in between the rafters but there would not be anything directly underneath.

Thanks again,
Dave
I would go with a 4x10 (or whatever your joist size is in the basement) and then get some hangers of the same size. Then put the 4x10 right under the point where the new support is going to be. Use tico nails to put the hangers in and fill every hole in the joist.

A 4 by would be much preferred over a 2 by since it is less likely to roll.

Do this before you remove the studs on the bearing wall since once you do that there will be some settling that you won't get back unless you want to do some jacking.

Don't forget the temporary bearing wall. Jacking up a roof is risky business and it is humiliating to have to call in a pro to fix a mistake of that magnitude not to mention the cost involved.
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Old 10-04-2008, 07:43 PM   #8
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I would have to say your right on the monet Tirmite! I built a second story where the engineer drew three 2x8's sticking past the girder 24"under the post above. so 24" past and 72" back on the other side of the girder.which was good because the other side 4' away was under the other hallway wall.
the above load was carrying the second floor load plus the upstairs bearing wall.
the way I performed this was to purchase 7-1/4" LVL'S . with a 2x8 you will have to rip it down to get the thing in there. plus in a year or two its going to shrink down even more.+- 3/8" This is why I use the LVL's they will not change ,there dimensions will stay true over time.
I then installed the cut off lvl's between the floor joists and nailed in to the triple floor joists you just installed.
and here is the next important point !!! where is the lolly column in relationship to this post above? mid span? right under? this will come into play . As a custom builder I would suggest to install a double 1-3/4" x 11-7/8" LVL'S for the upstairs header.you will not know what loads are going to be resting where because you don't have any type of layout. this way you will be covered. BOB
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Old 10-04-2008, 08:48 PM   #9
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Dave,

The bearing point being offset from the beam complicates things a little bit, but it isn't insurmountable.

Although your best bet is to contact a structural engineer to evaluate the loads, there is one option that will probably get you by.

Loads transfer downward, and 45 degrees out each way. You could install a couple new joists right under the bearing studs, which will carry the load over to the beam. At the very least, a good amount of solid blocking between the existing joists at the load point would help transfer the load laterally to the two closest joists, and down to the beam. If you have 2x10 joists, try to use 2x10 blocking, or the largest you can. Use nails, not screws. No less than three blocks.

I don't want to install new joists underneath...there are other issues that would complicate that more than it's worth. I do have 2x10 joists, so if I used 2x10, or 4x10 blocks, I would cut these to the width of the space in between the joists and nail them in perpendicularly to the joists, correct? I've been using 3 1/8" 12D coated sinker nails for some other work I'm doing in the kitchen. Would those be good/large enough for the blocks, or should I get something else?

Thanks!
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Old 10-04-2008, 08:58 PM   #10
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I would go with a 4x10 (or whatever your joist size is in the basement) and then get some hangers of the same size. Then put the 4x10 right under the point where the new support is going to be. Use tico nails to put the hangers in and fill every hole in the joist.

A 4 by would be much preferred over a 2 by since it is less likely to roll.

Do this before you remove the studs on the bearing wall since once you do that there will be some settling that you won't get back unless you want to do some jacking.

Don't forget the temporary bearing wall. Jacking up a roof is risky business and it is humiliating to have to call in a pro to fix a mistake of that magnitude not to mention the cost involved.

So if I go with the 4x10, would you recommend putting two of them right next to each other, or just one? I'm sorry but what do you mean by the hangers? And the tico nails too, I'm not familiar with those? And I also don't know what you mean by "filling every hole," but I suppose if I knew what a hanger was, I would.

I won't forget to put up the temporary walls first. I've never used anything like that before, but you've got to jack those up just a little to get the weight to transfer onto them, don't you? Like a quarter inch, or an eight inch?

Thanks again!
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Old 10-04-2008, 09:14 PM   #11
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Use nails, not screws. No less than three blocks.
Are screws always wrong to use for framing / structural stuff? Why?

Jamie
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Old 10-04-2008, 09:21 PM   #12
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jamie -

Screws have much less shear strength and can snap (quickly).
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Old 10-04-2008, 09:39 PM   #13
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jamie -

Screws have much less shear strength and can snap (quickly).
Good, then those lag bolts I like to use are good despite there threaded design. I assume there shear strength is even higher than that of a nail.

Jamie
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Old 10-04-2008, 09:48 PM   #14
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So if I go with the 4x10, would you recommend putting two of them right next to each other, or just one? I'm sorry but what do you mean by the hangers? And the tico nails too, I'm not familiar with those? And I also don't know what you mean by "filling every hole," but I suppose if I knew what a hanger was, I would.

I won't forget to put up the temporary walls first. I've never used anything like that before, but you've got to jack those up just a little to get the weight to transfer onto them, don't you? Like a quarter inch, or an eight inch?

Thanks again!
You could go with one 4x10 but make sure that it is exactly where it is needed. You might consider drilling a small pilot hole to make sure you have them in the right spot.

Joist hangers are metal hangers that the wood hangs on. For some serious structural applications toe nailing is not acceptable. Joist hangers have holes in them for nailing them to the joist. Once you see them you will know what I mean.

Tico nails are special nails with very high sheer strength. Sometimes called joist nails. They are galvanized and code in most places.

You can end nail the 4x10 also as added precaution.

For the temporary wall you can put down a base plate and a ceiling plate. The put in 2x4's and make them a little long so that you have to pound them in. This will keep any sagging from happening. Compression of wood happens over time and if you use kiln dried wood compression will be non existent for the short time they are up. Make sure you leave room to work when you put up the temporary wall.

More that likely there will be some damage to the sheet rock on the ceiling. It's just part of the process and can be repaired. If you are careful then damage can be minimal.

Take pictures and share your project with us.
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Old 10-04-2008, 11:10 PM   #15
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You could go with one 4x10 but make sure that it is exactly where it is needed. You might consider drilling a small pilot hole to make sure you have them in the right spot.

Joist hangers are metal hangers that the wood hangs on. For some serious structural applications toe nailing is not acceptable. Joist hangers have holes in them for nailing them to the joist. Once you see them you will know what I mean.

Tico nails are special nails with very high sheer strength. Sometimes called joist nails. They are galvanized and code in most places.

You can end nail the 4x10 also as added precaution.

For the temporary wall you can put down a base plate and a ceiling plate. The put in 2x4's and make them a little long so that you have to pound them in. This will keep any sagging from happening. Compression of wood happens over time and if you use kiln dried wood compression will be non existent for the short time they are up. Make sure you leave room to work when you put up the temporary wall.

More that likely there will be some damage to the sheet rock on the ceiling. It's just part of the process and can be repaired. If you are careful then damage can be minimal.

Take pictures and share your project with us.
I did some research on the joist hangers and tico nails and now I know what you are talking about. Thank you. But it seems like it might be nearly impossible to get one of those in. The space in between the joists is really small (only about 4"). And the more that I think about it and measure, it seems like the support post for the header (or at least one of the 2x4's it consists of) will fall directly on one of the floor joists. The only thing is that the floor joist that it would fall on is twisted quite a bit. It is twisted so that there is a 4" space between joists at the top and a 5" space at the bottom. Would that really be a problem though?

The support post for the other end of the header will land about two inches away from another floor joist. I could still put in some blocking there, just for extra support (this time, the floor joists are about 16" apart). But on this one, I would only have (easy) access to nail in the joist from one side. The furnace consumes the entire other side.

As far as the temporary supports, I was going to just construct a makeshift wall with top and bottom plates, with maybe four or five support 2x4's. I was going to make is about 6" shorter than my ceiling height so that I could slip a jack under each end and then lift it until it is snug. With the way you are saying, it might be difficult to keep the top and bottom plates from moving while I pound in the support 2x4's. I suppose I could nail the top plate in, and just brace the bottom one against the wall I am removing (don't want to nail into the hardwood floors).

But yes, I will definitely get some pics on here to show before and after. If you would like any pics for clarification of anything, please let me know.

Thanks!
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