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Old 08-11-2010, 09:17 PM   #1
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Flat 2x4 header - useless?


The previous owners of my house built an addition and in this addition, there is a ground level exterior door through a wall that runs parallel to the joists with a rough opening approximately 36" that has a 2x4 header laid flat against the double top plate.
I've had a contractor tell me after looking at it, that it was "pointless". So, was this contractor right, does that "header" not actually do anything? For it to be structural does a header have to be two 2x4s laid on edge?


Thank you in advance for your guidance
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:29 PM   #2
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don't worry about it.

the wall, if parallel to joists, is likely not load bearing. the 2X4 is simply a furring to get the desired RO for the door, would be my guess. it's pointless in the sense that it's doing anything structurally, yes.

if the wall were underneath the ends of the joists/rafters, then a header would need 2X material ON EDGE to be structurally effective.
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:32 PM   #3
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If it is parallel to the joists, then it probably not load bearing. If that is the case, then a header is not needed. But the opening would need framing, such as in the existing scenario.

Door openings on non bearing walls are framed like you describe all the time. Either you misunderstood your contractor, or the contractor misunderstands the framing in the individual instance, or he is incompetent
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:34 PM   #4
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Thanks for your replies

So If I'd like to add more height to the doorway, I can simply remove this "header" and mount my door frame/jamb against the king studs and top plate?
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwoloz View Post
Thanks for your replies

So If I'd like to add more height to the doorway, I can simply remove this "header" and mount my door frame/jamb against the king studs and top plate?
sure, go for it. proceed with caution just the same.
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:36 PM   #6
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Yes, if the wall is truley not load bearing
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:41 PM   #7
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Its a gable roofed single story over a 6.5ft crawl space. Pretty sure the gable walls only bear the weight of the walls themselves. Thanks for the advice!
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Old 08-12-2010, 01:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwoloz View Post
Thanks for your replies

So If I'd like to add more height to the doorway, I can simply remove this "header" and mount my door frame/jamb against the king studs and top plate?
Think I'm misunderstanding some things. If that flat header is nailed up tight to the top plates like mentioned in the first post, thats only 3inches. Why do you need that much additional height?
Walls running parallel to joists are no guarantee they are non-load bearing. That wall could be framed on top a microlam or structual beam. A stick built gable roof wall is a load bearing wall. That wall is carrying one end of the roof's ridge beam and the load needs to be carried down to the foundation.

An over dramatic gable wall, but a gable wall none the less.

Last edited by Tizzer; 08-12-2010 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:10 PM   #9
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It's 6.5ft from floor to ceiling joist so every vertical inch counts in this space; I'm trying to avoid having people duck to get in through the door. If I can remove the 2x4 and gain that 1.5 inches I'd like to do so
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:19 PM   #10
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Honestly, no one on here should tell you to just do it. It certainly sounds fairly likely that it's not a load bearing wall but you haven't provided enough info and pics to be absolutely sure. And nothing can beat an on site look. If the contractor says it's ok to remove then you're going to have to decide how much confidence you have in him.

Since you are in California and have seismic concerns I imagine your building department will want the structural details when you get the permit.
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Old 08-12-2010, 05:26 PM   #11
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Sorry for the lack of a picture, was a bit lazy :D

Here is what is being discussed as it stands now

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Old 08-12-2010, 07:06 PM   #12
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You are fine. That 2x above the door is carrying any/all the load. I would, however, put hangers or a ledger under the left hand joists/rafters, the perpendicular ones...
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