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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am putting a design to paper on finishing out my enclosed porch to a sun room. One of the windows I plan to install is rather large (83"wide x 36" tall) and requires a substantial header. To keep the window from being to low on the wall, I only have room for a 6" header. Here is the thing, there is an existing 4"X10"X18' header supporting the single story roof eve. Over built IMO but I will take it. So I want to basically attach the 6" header on the bottom of the 10" header to keep my window high enough on the wall. Would this be like having a 16" header or does this not meet code for the 83" span. I attached my drawing, I think it will explain better. In the end I want to make sure this is allowable before I turn in the construction permit request with the county. Thanks so much in advance.
 

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I am a bit confused by a few items in your post. First off, you say there is an existing header that is 18 feet long, and is composed 4"x10". But in the diagram, you appear to show an existing wall composed of 2x4 wall studs spaced 16 inches on center. If you have a wall, then the existing header is not really a header, it is more of a spacer. So perhaps you can draw what is existing, and what is proposed, or at least show them differently on the drawing.

As to adding a 6 inch header to a portion of the existing header, it is very difficult to fasten the 6 inch header in such a way that it behaves monolithically with the existing header. You need to carry the full horizontal shear across the interface, which is possible, but requires careful design, certainly well beyond any code book. However, it is possible that the existing "header" is strong enough to support the load across the 83 inch opening, in which case the 6 inch "header" you want to add is only a filler, and you may not need any strength.

Rather than spend the money on an engineer, you may just want to go to the county with some photos and some drawings, and discuss your project with them before you submit the permit drawings. They may be willing to help you understand the options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That makes sense. I see you're point about attaching the 6" header to the existing 10" header/spacer. Could I possibly just stack 2x4s in the space to make up the 6" gap that will position the window where I want it? I have modified the picture to show what I am talking about. The red items are existing and the tan items are the new window frame. The wall is 18' long over all so the 16"OC studs, 10" header/spacer and roof continue off the drawing. The window frame is spaced in the center of the 18' wall from left to right. The 2x4s would be layered flat and attached starting on the 10" spacer and work down to make the window frame. I am thinking that would better allow it to behave more monolithically with the existing 10" header/spacer. What do ya think? Thanks again
 

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Looking at the pix, if all of those red studs are there...and if the short red ones currently reach the top double two bye ten, you have what Daniel called a spacer rather than a header. A header is a deal that allows you to go for a set distance without the intermediate studs. So the question is not about the two bye six, but whether your existing two bye ten double is sufficient to span 83" . In GENERAL, a double two bye ten supporting only a
roof load can span 8'....assuming adequate support on each end.....meaning the EXISTING double becomes your header and you can forget the two bye six.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Got it, so I probably just need to fill the gap with 6" studs following the 16" OC line since the window span is under 8'. I am going to stop by the permit office tomorrow to make sure they are OK with it. Maybe adding a doubled King post to each side would ensure adequate support for the spacer to make it more like a header. The roof load is very light. It is only 18' x 11' coming off the main house 2 story wall about 12' up and ending at this outer wall. Thanks for the advice.
 

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But I am NOT an engineer! And I said in GENERAL. The permit guys will set you straight. qnd you could cut little pieces or just lay a two bye flat up there and nail it to existing beam, another to that, another to that and then 1/2" plywood to get your 6". Have fun. Sun rooms are great....typed whilst sitting by the wood stove in my 10 X 24 two story atrium with a 16 X 16 room at the end with an door balcony looking over the whole thing. Ron
 

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You are converting a spacer into a header. So you will need proper support on either end, which typically means at least a king and a jack post, or possibly two kings and a jack. Your permit official will tell you. Also, you need to MAKE SURE the king(s) and jack post is supported properly, which means they either need a footer, or you need to MAKE SURE the beam supporting them is adequate.
 

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Install the 2x10 as high as you can, Match the window height of other windows. Your 2x6 under the 2x10 only leaves 79-1/4" vertical height with all doors being over that. Install the header up to furr/stud down for the head 2x if ever changing from window to a door--- need 82-3/4 or more if a slider... never stack more than two framing members on the flat as they will compress.

Gary
PS- you may need the long header to use for wall ply/OSB shear-flow, depends on location, ask local AHJ.
 

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Gary, the two bye ten is already in there...... Although it sounds strange....and has been in as a spacer forever it seems.....so with maybe a triple king at each end it will handle the opening easily. Ron
 

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Caught a 15" RB today, like a summer day. No wind, crisp air and 57*F. just need to build my bigger boat plan (12") since I have a tilt trailer now and sold the 9' interior (9' boat) van. Need the leg room for standing up as you get older don't want leg blood clots from sitting/rowing 4 hours. Ice.... I don't think so, either, lol.

Gary
 
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