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Earnie 12-17-2011 02:28 PM

Replacement Window Rough-In Framing
I'm planning to replace a window to provide more light into a room. Current double-pane window is 28 inches wide by 48 inches high.

I plan to increase the window size to 42 inches wide by 54 inches high.

From what I can tell at this point, the current window header is 2x10. Is 2x10 the correct size or can the window be framed with 2x8 or even 2x6?

I want to move the window up higher on the wall. To do this I will need a header smaller than 2x10.


woodworkbykirk 12-17-2011 03:28 PM

you will have to check with your local building authority as to what the codes are in your area. wind load and snow loads are key things when determining header dimension also key in if there are point loads coming down on the window.

in some situations where headroom is a issue i will sometimes install a flush header in the floor system. this means the header is actually sitting on top of the top plate and any joists will hang off the header as opposed to sitting on top. this has to be approved by a engineer though

Earnie 12-17-2011 03:35 PM

Ok, I guess I should have known engineering would be required. I haven't done anything yet. I was just wondering how tall of a window I could possibly install. Thanks.

titanoman 12-17-2011 03:58 PM

If this is a gable roof scenario, no problem going with a smaller header. If you have rafters right over the window, I would advise against a smaller header.

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Earnie 12-17-2011 04:08 PM

Yes, rafter are above the current window. I'll get this looked at by an architect/engineer.

titanoman 12-17-2011 04:11 PM


Originally Posted by Earnie (Post 796133)
Yes, rafter are above the current window. I'll get this looked at by an architect/engineer.

He's going to tell you that you can only go down with the window, not up. I promise.

paul100 12-17-2011 10:40 PM

Since you are going wider, you will need to replace the header. You might be able to go smaller then a 2 x 10 but it will reguire steel or lvl's.

Earnie 12-18-2011 08:02 AM

There is 16" from the top of the window frame to the ceiling on the existing window. I have no idea how the current header is framed until I open up the wall and look.

I'm sure the header size is based upon how wide the window is and what is supported above. At this point I'm not sure the existing header is the correct size.

Is there a standard for how high a window can be from the ceiling or is it based upon the header size?

AndyGump 12-18-2011 08:17 AM

Look guys, although getting an engineer out there to approve a solution might be a good idea it is not required in all situations like this.
May not be required in this situation either.
North Carolina is under the 2006 International Residential Code which has prescriptive solutions for this scenario. As long as it is for a one or two family dwelling not more than 3 stories above grade, that is.


guest 12-18-2011 08:17 AM

Keep in mind, if you get the top of it out of line with the other windows and doors, it could make the house look "funny". Most always, all exterior windows and doors are set at the same height.

dave54 12-18-2011 10:07 AM

According to the IBC, provided that there is no floor load, with a pretty much worst case scenario of a 50lb snow load, plus the ceiling load, and a building width of 36ft, you can use a double 2x6 header for openings up to 44in. So, unless you have some huge span or extremely high loading, you should be fine with the smaller timber. Take a look at Table 2308.9.5:

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