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Old 06-09-2008, 01:03 AM   #1
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Header Replacement


I have a 16' 2-car garage door opening that needs a header replacement. Prior to purchasing my house 4 years ago the painters caulked and painted an area above my garage door where water seeped behind the siding.

After removing the fascia and siding I discovered that the Headers first eight inches from the bottom had water damage and rotted through.

The thickness of the beam sandwich is approximately 3.5 inches times 16.6 inches long times “?” height

Is it wise to support the rotted beam in the center and remove the first 10 to 12 inches from the bottom and replace it with a half inch ply sandwiched between two 2X12X16 inch boards?

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Old 06-09-2008, 08:27 AM   #2
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Header Replacement


2x12x16 inches? Or do you mean 2x12, 16 feet long?

If any portion of your garage door header has rotted or softened due to water exposure, you need in replace the entire header. You can't replace a 16" chunk of it and retain any structural integrity.

It is a good idea to sandwich 1/2" plywood or OSB between the pieces of 2x dimension lumber.

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Old 06-09-2008, 02:36 PM   #3
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Thanks thekctermite,

I kind of thought I needed to replace the thing I just needed a second opinion prior to tackling such an arduous task. As you can see, the water damage went through the first 9’ of the bottom. Being that this is a manufactured header I thought I would be able to reinforce it by removing the bottom portion and replacing it with two 2x12x16 foot boards and a half inch ply sandwiched together. What you see below is 8 inches of rot or half of the 3 1/2 x 16 x 16.6' header.



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Old 06-09-2008, 03:12 PM   #4
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Header Replacement


It looks like a double MicroLam with 2-2x4s as nailers on the bottom. If I'm seeing it correctly, it looks like most of the damage is to the nailers.

Edit: nope those aren't 2x4s is that a stacked LVL header?
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Old 06-09-2008, 03:19 PM   #5
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Man, that is nasty.

It looks like LVL to me, not 2x dimesion lumber. LVL is much stronger, and should be used if that is what was there originally. If it is 16" LVL, it is well over twice as strong as 2x12.

Replacing the lower part of it is not a good option. That means that your header would be approximately half as strong as it needs to be. Not good. Sorry to say it, but you need to totally replace that header from what I'm seeing. Walls and floor above would need to be temporarily supported during the replacement as well. There's usually a pretty good amount of load there.

Most LVL comes 1-3/4" thick or 3-1/2" thick, which makes it work well with 2x4 wall framing.

Pay close attention to your trimmer studs, which bear the header. If they got any water damage be sure to replace them. That header actually needs two studs' worth of bearing at each end...Doesn't look like you have that. If you have the opportunity to add a little bearing by using a slightly longer header, now is the time. Working on trimmer studs will often involve removal of the garage door, which is NOT a DIY task. Garage door torsion springs can kill you in nothing flat.
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Old 06-09-2008, 03:22 PM   #6
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FYI, LVL and MicroLam are the same thing.
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Old 06-09-2008, 03:24 PM   #7
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Header Replacement


It also scares the bejeebers out of me to see lap siding right over the top of plywood with no felt or building paper. Is it that way all over the house, or was the building paper or felt cut back so you could access the header?
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Old 06-09-2008, 04:43 PM   #8
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Header Replacement


Clutchcargo,

If I am following correctly, the two 1 3/4” x 16” x 16.6’ boards that makeup the header is called MicroLam or LVL and the 2x4 nailed to the inside bottom edge is called the nailer. The damage to the first 1 3/4” x 16” x 16.6’ header board has extensive damage and the one behind it only has minimal damage.

The local supplier has the LVL or Mircolam board separate meaning that I will need two to get the 3.5 inches that is needed. In regard to supporting the floor and walls during replacement, what’s the best way to go about this?

Also, to answer thekctermite question, there is no felt paper in the construction. I assume the building codes in this city at the tme of construction allowed for it.
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Old 06-09-2008, 05:28 PM   #9
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Header Replacement


My brother's house was built the same way with no house wrap. The first pic looks like there is a horizontal line in the on the bottom side of the header. Are those 2x4s on the flats (nailers) or is the header in two pieces? It also looks like that LVL is bearing on a 1x.
As the termite said, LVL = Microlam.
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:47 PM   #10
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If the front piece of LVL is shot, but the back one is in good shape, I'd try to salvage the back one. That would save you a lot of work. You could probably use the remaining piece of LVL to support the load...Might be a good idea to get some support under the middle of it while you work though.

Chances are, they're just nailed together. Since the front one is so rotten, you can probably chisel out a lot of it, and remove the remainder with a sawzall with a long demolition blade to cut the nails.

I'd like to say this is the last water infiltration problem you'll have, but it probably isn't. It is a shame that they installed your siding that way...No matter what, that is an incorrect installation. The majority of cities/counties don't do waterproofing or flashing inspections, although that is changing fast due to problems like the one you've encountered. I'm getting subpoenad to testify in a lawsuit regarding this type of problem.

After fixing your header problem, the best thing you can do is to do a heck of a good job maintaining your caulked joints and paint.

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