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Old 02-23-2012, 02:57 PM   #1
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Header question - raising door and window RO


Replacing a door and set of windows, and want to raise the height to make the room feel taller. I have some questions about header to use when reframing the openings. Existing door is short, the RO 75 3/4" high. Plan replace it with a full height door (6'8", RO 82 1/2"). Also plan to change and raise the adjacent windows to same height as new door, which have existing RO of 4' h x 8' w. There is currently a double 2"x10" header over the door, and a double 2"x10" header over the window. This is the bottom floor of a two story house, and a load bearing wall. Existing door, window, and framing:
Header question - raising door and window RO-westwindowsexisting2.jpg

Over the door, I would like to remove the existing header and replace it by removing a section of the lower plate of the double top plate and inserting a either a 3 1/2" x 4 1/2" parallam or two 1 3/4" x 4 1/2 LVL s that would span the 34 3/4" RO. We are going to replace the 4' h x 8' w window with a set of three windows. The dimensions of those will be, 2' w x 4'6" h, 3' w x 4'6" h, and 2' w x 4'6" h. This will leave room for framing members between the windows. Over the windows, I would like to replace the existing header with the same material and dimensions as the new door header (either a 3 1/2" x 4 1/2" parallam or two 1 3/4" x 4 1/2 LVL s) that would span the 8' wide RO. However in between the windows would be mullions, or double trimmers supporting the header. Proposed plan:
Header question - raising door and window RO-westwindowdoorproposed3.jpg
I think this should be fine, the largest span being just over 3', and the extra strength of engineered lumber should carry the load more than adequately. I would rather not interrupt the double top plate, but it is only the lower one, and would use steel straps to reconnect the plate. So...

1. does this seem a good plan for adjusting the framing?
2. which is better to use for the header, parallam or LVL?
3. what is best for a steel strap to reconnect the interrupted double top plate (just the lower plate will be cut to accommodate the header)?

I posted this earlier over in Remodel, but thought it might be more appropriate here, so apologies for cross-posting. Would appreciate any feedback or input from you all... Thanks. Eric

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Old 02-23-2012, 04:35 PM   #2
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Header question - raising door and window RO


I am not going to design the header for you over the internet for many reasons I have posted previously. But you may want to consider using a steel S or W section for the header. That is what I used when I installed a set of French doors on a load bearing exterior wall, because of headroom issues much as you have. I also used a steel beam for the header between the kitchen and dining room in my house, same issues, headroom. You may be able to save enough room with the steel that you can go continuous, and squeeze the steel beam between the windows and the existing top plate. I found that steel was about the same price as an equivalent engineered lumber beam, and did not need to be as deep. Your situation of course may be different.

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Old 02-23-2012, 06:17 PM   #3
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Header question - raising door and window RO


good place for one of those lightweight steel beams Dan?
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:49 PM   #4
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Header question - raising door and window RO


you really need to hire a local engineer to come to your house and look at what you plan on doing. only then can the proper beam be sized for the situation.. based on how all the joists are sitting on the wall along with another floor i dont know if it can be done with such as small beam but im not an engineer.. im the the guy that applies what then engineer draws up
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:59 AM   #5
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Header question - raising door and window RO


I think Daniel is onto something but if you do decide to go with your proposed plans, I would remove both top plates and header directly to the joists. This will allow you to go with a roughly 6" lvl which will add cross-section, adding to the bending and shear strength of the header. Just my 2 cents. The trimmer (jack) studs you propose in between the windows are a great idea and take alot of the risk associated with your plan out of the equation. Good luck.

For what it's worth, I agree on hiring someone to do the sizing for you. It will be required if you permit the work anyway.
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Old 02-24-2012, 09:53 AM   #6
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Header question - raising door and window RO


Be very careful about thoroughly thinking through the temporary support for your new header. Anytime you remove both top plates on a load bearing wall, you have to come up with a bombproof temporary support strategy, which is difficult when the wall runs parallel to the joists. Carpenters who routinely install headers are well aware of the temporary support issue, after all they get killed if the building comes down while they are putting up the header, so by the Darwin principle those who fail to understand the need for and the means to properly install temporary supports get eliminated from the contractor fraternity very quickly.
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:13 AM   #7
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Header question - raising door and window RO


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
Be very careful about thoroughly thinking through the temporary support for your new header. Anytime you remove both top plates on a load bearing wall, you have to come up with a bombproof temporary support strategy, which is difficult when the wall runs parallel to the joists. Carpenters who routinely install headers are well aware of the temporary support issue, after all they get killed if the building comes down while they are putting up the header, so by the Darwin principle those who fail to understand the need for and the means to properly install temporary supports get eliminated from the contractor fraternity very quickly.
The joists are perpendicular in the OP's situation. If he doesn't understand the need for temp. support then he shouldn't be doing this work.
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Old 02-24-2012, 11:27 AM   #8
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Header question - raising door and window RO


psilva8, I totally agree, if he does not understand the need for temporary support he should not be doing the job. But there is nothing in any of the posts discussing temporary support, so no one can possibly know how much, if anything, the OPS understands about temporary support. I was simply trying to point out the consequences, maybe we can avoid injury or fatality.
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Old 02-24-2012, 12:33 PM   #9
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Header question - raising door and window RO


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Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
psilva8, I totally agree, if he does not understand the need for temporary support he should not be doing the job. But there is nothing in any of the posts discussing temporary support, so no one can possibly know how much, if anything, the OPS understands about temporary support. I was simply trying to point out the consequences, maybe we can avoid injury or fatality.
My post came off the wrong way. I was agreeing with you and emphasizing the fact he should be knowledgable about what he's doing.

Further, to the OP: you will need to put in squash blocks beneath your trimmer studs (under the floor, in the basement) to distribute the load to the foundation walls.

Last edited by psilva8; 02-24-2012 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:43 PM   #10
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Header question - raising door and window RO


if they know what squash blocks are....

regarding the temporary wall, i would do it with 2x6's both with a top and bottom plate and teh studs point loaded directly under each joist.. and just incase. plan an escape route if things come down
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:39 PM   #11
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Header question - raising door and window RO


Just want to thank all of you for your input on this.
I did indeed hire a structural engineer to consult on the proper header. I think it is well worth the money to do so.
In the event anyone is interested, he spec'd a 6"x4" parallam beam, positioned such that the header is 4" deep. I'll be using 2x6's under and next to the header, and will be padding out the top plate to fit.
Though I did not mention it in this post, I'll also be installing a double set of french doors further down this wall, and further still, another set of windows, one of which is 4' wide. Over both of those of openings, the engineer spec'd a w4x13 beam. I am in the process of getting quotes for those from a couple of steel fabricators. I am planning to have them weld tabs to the beam to use for attaching to the trimmers and top plate. On the bottom, I'll use Simpson HDU's to fasten the trimmers and adjacent king studs to sill plate and foundation wall. Owing to seismic activity, we have to add lots of metal to our framing here in the PNW. Should be a super wall in the end!
As for a temp wall, you bet I'll put one up when we get to framing this. 2x6 framing, studs under each joist.

Thanks again for the input

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