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Discussion Starter #1
Remodeling a Ranch, built in 70’s I believe. There is an opening from living room to kitchen, and a pass-through next to it. Others involved are asking that I we remove the pass-through and expand the opening to what will end up being just short of 10’. The wall continues the length of the house (it appears to be load-bearing). Currently there are 2 separate doubled up 2x4 headers above the pass-through and the opening, though the one above the opening does not appear to be giving any support above. Although they are confident in using 10' of doubled up 2x4 I am hesitant. I am looking to see what size header should be put up for the 10’ span.

Any advice would be appreciated (other than call an engineer)

See diagrams (excuse the amateur drawings).
 

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Framing Contractor
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Can you access through the ceiling to figure out if this wall is load bearing? Roof trusses were coming into favor in the 70's, and if you have trusses, chances are this wall is not load bearing. You will have to go up into the attic space to determine this.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. I can access the attic easily. It is wide open, no trusses. I am going forward on the basis that it is load bearing.
 

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Framing Contractor
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A double 2x4 header is not adequate for that situation if it needs to be load bearing. Without knowing the length of the ceiling joists on both sides, it is impossible for anyone to give you the information you seek. My advice if you are going through with it anyway, would be to installed the widest header that you can.
 

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Civil Engineer
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You need to determine the load requirement for an attic in your jurisdiction. Either review the code, or talk to the building inspector. I assume you need a permit, so you are going to need to file plans with the building inspector anyway, so best to discuss the loading requirement sooner rather than later. The load requirement will depend on what code is being followed, current IRC imposes a higher load for attic space than older code, so the required header size is larger.

You need to determine the tributary area to the header. Assuming you have floor joists above, the tributary area is likely to be half the width of the attic above, but this needs to be verified. Once you know the tributary area, and the load, you can compute the required header size. Since you don't want to hire an engineer, either you are going to have to perform the computations, or you can go to a lumber yard and ask them to perform the computations, based on the assumption that they will supply the required lumber. In my town, you need to show the inspector the calculations before you can get a permit, but it may be different where you live.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you Daniel. Just to be clear I did not mean any disrespect by stating "other than call an engineer". I just know that is the common answer with these questions, and I am in the investagatory stages here only.

The house is 24' wide, and the joists are overlapping in the center.
 
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