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Old 12-28-2009, 06:08 PM   #1
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Replace 2x4 with Header on Load Bearing Wall


I have a load bearing wall in an unfinished basement. What I need to do is cut into one of the 2x4 supports and transfer the load to a set of 2x10 headers.

What is considered a proper procedure to do this?

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Old 12-28-2009, 07:02 PM   #2
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Replace 2x4 with Header on Load Bearing Wall


1. What is the supporting floor?
2. What is the span of the header?
3. One floor and a roof over it or two?
4. Interior wall or exterior?

All the above affect my answer....

Be safe, Gary

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Old 12-29-2009, 03:07 AM   #3
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Replace 2x4 with Header on Load Bearing Wall


What I want to do in preparation for finishing in a basement, I need to create a frame for a 25x16 air return. The air return will go into the garage, and for headroom reasons, I want the return to be as high off the floor as possible. As such, I want the air return side-ways rather than up and down.

This is an interior wall on a concrete slap, supporting one side of the living room floor, one side of the kitchen, the 14 to 16 foot tall wall seperating the living room from the kitchen, and the cathedral ceilings of these rooms (there is space above these ceilings in the attic, so it doesn't also support the roof).

The header span is about 32" as I only wish to remove a single 2x4. I plan to use a pair of 2x10 for the header as that is what is used for door frames in this unfinished basement.

To maximize that head room, I plan to have the header directly under the double-plate (no cripples above the header).

If it matters, once this new header is added, it will be one framing section (16") away from an existing header for a door frame.

For what it's worth, this will be a done as a part of a project to re-enforce this same wall. I'm not sure why, but the other wall supporting the living room floor has doubled-up 2x4 studs, but no obvious additional load (the other side of that wall supports a simple stair case). The living room has 2x8x14 floor joists on 12" centers. I want to re-enforce those floor joists to make the living room floor less bouncy, but before I add weigth to the living room floor support, I want to strengthen this wall since it's only standard 2x4 studs on 16" centers compared to the other wall's doubled 2x4 studs on 16" centers. My plan to do that is to, one stud as a time, cut out the cross block (fire block?), sister the existing stud, and replace the cross block (cut for the new width).

As a curiosity, this wall uses 8'1" studs between the double plate and the still. I don't know why, can only guess it has to do with the height of the cinder-block walls.
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:47 AM   #4
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Replace 2x4 with Header on Load Bearing Wall


Sounds like you have some work cut out! Here is a chart, notice the Interior header spans--- two floors--- use two jack studs under each side. http://www.colonie.org/forms/building/bdspanab.pdf The other wall's studs are doubled because is was over-loaded before adding sisters. 2x4, 16"o.c., bearing walls to 10' high, carry- roof,ceiling and one floor. To carry two floors, you need 3x4's or 2x6's, 16"o.c.

When you go through the garage wall, use minimum 26 gauge steel ducting, as per code. No duct openings in garage.1/2" drywall on walls, 5/8" on ceiling if living space above. Fire-seal the duct penetrations at wall. Good idea to sister this wall too!
Be safe, Gary
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Old 01-01-2010, 12:21 AM   #5
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Replace 2x4 with Header on Load Bearing Wall


Didn't see the latest reply until I went on my own and figured out a way to do it...

I did check with the local building inspector... confirmed I didn't need a permit to work on the load bearing wall. However, did learn that all interior load bearing walls should have had double 2x4 studs on 16" centers, or single 2x4 studs on 12" centers. Of course the builder also screwed up the floor joists. He used 2x8 on 12" centers for a 14'5" span.

However, my initial question was what was the PROCEDURE to get a header in there, and it be load bearing...

What I did was to remove the fire blocks, then placed a jack beside the stud to remove. The jack was positioned such that it only pressed against 1-1/2" of the 3" width of the double top. Once the jack removed weight from the stud, I cut the stud down to size for the vent opening, and positioned the jack studs and one of the two headers in place. Then I removed the jack, placing the load on the header, then had room to add the 2nd header.

I only used one jack stud on each side of the header (existing door openings did the same thing), but because I was sistering all the other studs, there are three 2x4 studs on each side of the header.
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