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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Arkansas
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    9

    Default replacing header mechanics

    I currently have a 5' opening that I plan to make 8' this is a load bearing wall. My question is more about the mechanics of doing this. Do I have to build a temporary wall? How do I make sure the ceiling doesn't sink during replacement. How do I best get the new header in place? It sounds and looks simple but I know that is not necessarily the case. This is my first project to involve a load bearing wall . . . scary.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    975

    Default Re: replacing header mechanics

    Well, an open-ended question.
    Is this an exterior wall?
    Analyze what loads are there. If there is a floor load above, you can support that with a temporary stud wall below in the room, a workable distance back, like 30" maybe. Then the roof load can be supported by bolting a 2x12 into the studs above on the outside, to tie all the studs together. With a few extra bearing blocks under the 2x12 into the not-to-be-disturbed studs at the ends, also secured with bolts (large Spax or Headlock screws are great for these fastening tasks) You would have the freedom to enlarge the opening.
    If you have a stick-framed one story (not roof trusses) you can support the ceiling joists with a light 2x4 wall, and have the needed working space inside, and after removing the soffit you could get an idea how to work in the temporary 2x12 to support the rafters using some of the above ideas, just don't screw into the old header. But you can probably screw into the plates, and catch some undisturbed studs.
    If the header is supporting trusses, it would be a bit stickier, because there's probably not as much room for the 2x12 on the outside, but w/o a second floor, the loading is much less, just a ceiling and some roof load. The temporary wall will be all you can get, and it would have to be right against the outside wall, (trusses lack enough strength to support themselves, generally, anywhere but at the plate line) and without the freedom of access, you would need to work entirely from the outside, taking out a lot more siding.
    If it's an interior wall, and the joists run through, put the temp. wall on the side of greater load, or temp wall both sides of the opening.
    So, that's the way I see it. Don't take any risks you're not comfortable with.
    Casey
    Last edited by Sombreuil_mongrel; 07-31-2011 at 09:41 AM. Reason: add'l text
    Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: replacing header mechanics

    Thank you for such an indepth reply. Sorry, - I did read comments about the more info the better - This is an interior wall, ranch style house prob built in 60's. Just wanted to open it up a little.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    nova scotia, canada
    Posts
    1,522

    Default Re: replacing header mechanics

    1st thing first, get an engineer to size up a proper size header for this project, depending on if its supporting or not it may need an engineered beam out of 2ply lvl as opposed to 2ply 2x10 which wont pass most inspections

    for an interior wall that may be bearing, i would build a temp wall on both sides to support the joists. based on the age of the house, the joists will lap over the top plate of the wall if they are bearing on it.

    first things first though

    1) remove all electrical faceplates off the wall
    2) cover the finished floor to protect it from damage from debri
    3) strip the drywall or plaster off the intended wall opening with an extra 4.5 inches allowed for both sides ( allowing for king stud and double jacks
    4) get a licensed electrician to move any wires that exist in the wall where the new opening will be
    5)install the king stud at each end cut snug to fit, it shouldnt move but rub snug yet not so tight the stud bows from tension
    6) cut your new header to the exact length between king studs, toe nail it to the king studs and to the top plate so it wont move
    7) cut a pair of jack studs to support the header both ends, this also should be snug, no movement which will allow the header to drop and the floor above

    8) this is the tricky part, you will need squash blocks (short stubby studs for under the jack studs supporting hte header for between the floor sheathing and the top plate or beam supporting the floor below.. otherwise the weight of the floor below can cause the jacks to shear through the floor sheathing.. and your floor caves in

    after that, its just a matter of furring out the wall so you can patch the drywall so it lines up with the old plaster. patch up the gap in the flooring. and you'll be all set
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: replacing header mechanics

    1. check
    2. concrete floor (haven't installed flooring yet)
    3. check
    4. guess that would be a good idea
    5. - 7. will do
    8. do I need to do this even though the floor is a concrete pad?

    again thanks, I really appreciate the feedback.

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