Exterior patio door installed without header, jack or king stud framing

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Old 01-20-15, 01:15 AM
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Exterior patio door installed without header, jack or king stud framing

Hello, a friend of a family member recently did a favor and installed used patio doors in my family member's house, replacing an existing fireplace. He knocked down the chimney, removed the fireplace insert (probably c. 1960s era, as is the house). He then cut out an opening into the brick exterior to fit the doors. He also cut the cripple studs and the king studs that framed the fireplace to create an opening in the framing, then inserted the doors into the opening. To neaten up the top gap he left, he nailed a plank of wood to the exterior face of the cut studs. Apart from that there was no other timber framing added. The door is about 70" wide and the wall is is about 20 foot wide overall.

The house is a single story, brick clad house with tin roof. Is there a reason to worry that the structure is unsafe? I imagine the door will fail at some point, but that's probably to be expected? We're most worried about the safety aspect considering this does not appear the proper way to do the installation.

Please excuse if I'm not properly describing the job. I have no building experience.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 02:52 AM
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Welcome to the forums! If no header was installed to transfer the weight of the roof line to king studs on either side of the door opening, it is a slow but sure failure waiting to happen. I know you may not be at the residence, but posting a few pictures of the doorway may help us give you better information. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html

This is a very rudimentary drawing of what should have taken place. The header is usually 2 each 2x8's or 2x10's sandwiched with a piece of 1/2" plywood between them. The jack studs are placed under the ends of the header for vertical support. If this didn't happen, it all has to come out.

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Old 01-20-15, 04:02 AM
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What is above the door opening? gable end or does it support the roof trusses? If there is brick above the door did he install a steel lintel to support them?
 
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Old 01-20-15, 03:25 PM
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Hello, thanks for all your replies!
Chandler, when you say it's a failure waiting to happen, do you mean a dangerous structural failure or that the door itself will fail?

Marksr - since he removed a chimney he also removed all the bricks in the opening he cut out.

I hope the photos can clarify it a bit:

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Old 01-20-15, 03:29 PM
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One more photo. I believe that deck isn't installed properly either, but that's another matter!

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Old 01-20-15, 03:32 PM
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Forgot to add the photo of the door inserted into opening:

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Old 01-20-15, 03:45 PM
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The last picture is the one I wanted to see. it appears he put somewhat of a header, although the thickness (doubling of the header material) was not done as I can see. You do have minimal weight above door, and that header may hold things in place. Sorry if I alarmed you, but a "plank" is something you put on a deck and doesn't conjure up support in my mind. As far as your deck, since you are in NJ, I would have wanted a little buffer between the deck and the door threshold to alleviate possibility of snow intrusion at that point. As it is presently, any snow build up will possibly cause leaks around the door opening.

I DO like the swing set car top carrier, however. Very elegant
 
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Old 01-20-15, 03:49 PM
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Kind of looks in that last picture like there is a single 2x8 above the door acting as the "header". Kind of hard to put a double in there if all the studs are turned sideways like that. Could have been a little wider, IMO, but looks like he did what he could. (love the black boxes, btw... lol)

Looks like he did a fine job from what I can see... now if that board above the door isn't one solid piece (is spliced in the middle) that would be a different matter.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 04:14 PM
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That "header" is not resting on any studs. It was nailed to the face of the original studs, which now look like cripple studs, but they're not resting on anything, apart from the door probably. Out of the four studs (that look like cripple studs) you see, the two on either far end used to be the king studs, which were cut. Is that OK structurally?
 
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Old 01-20-15, 04:18 PM
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Sorry if I alarmed you
I take it back.

Any header must rest on jack studs which are coupled to king studs. There is no vertical holding power in a nail or screw.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 04:19 PM
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...........................................
 
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Old 01-20-15, 04:25 PM
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So structurally, is it dangerous, or is the worst that can happen is the door gets jammed?
 
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Old 01-20-15, 04:27 PM
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That deck should have been 6 to 7" below the threshold.
The way he build it you can plan on major structural issues.
Ever one I've seen like that it's taken out the flooring, subflooring, and sometimes it rotted all the way to the foundation.
Decking never should have been installed that close to the walls, if he used a ledger instead of making the deck free standing that was wrong also.
If he left that old stoop in place that's at least three strikes, and he's out.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 04:50 PM
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Hi, thanks for all your helpful replies.

Joecaption1 - I thought the same about the deck, from the little I've read and observed. I think they're going to have serious leak issues. At the very least the rain will get in immediately. These doors are not the well sealed doors that you're probably imagining in your head. These are used doors with single glazing on aluminum frame. What's particularly concerning is that these single glazed not thermally broken aluminum frames cause enormous amounts of condensation on the inside of the glass, no doubt hastening the rot.

The photos are from my in laws from New Zealand, where things are done "differently." They live in a cold part of the country which does get snow, and plenty of rain. Although this project was completed just a few week ago in the southern hemisphere summer, it was actually a bit chilly there. Notice there is no insulation. All the windows are single paned aluminum framed or timber. I'm posting the question on this thread because there is no suitable forum like this in NZ. I'm from NJ, and own a home there, hence my profile location.

My main concern is safety. I was wondering if it was dangerous structurally.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 05:03 PM
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It won't fall down on your head, but it could exert pressure on the top of the door once it starts its settling process, and it will settle without proper jack support. Nails/ screws just can't hold it forever.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 05:06 PM
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I like the swingset picture.

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Old 01-20-15, 05:24 PM
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It looks like even if he would have installed king studs and jack studs, they would have had no place to sit on foundation. See the yellow circle and the void under both sides of door.

I'm not saying it's the best, but are you sure he didn't secure header to adjacent studs with some type of structural fastener, like angle iron?
 
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Old 01-20-15, 05:44 PM
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Hi Handyone, He cut the opening only just wide enough for the door, so did not give himself any room for accessing studs or easily attaching anything to them. It's possible he did use an angle iron, but it would have been very tricky. Can't see how he could have been able to attach the header without opening up more of the wall. Don't know for certain, though.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 07:41 PM
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Hopefully, the single header board was at least adequately toe-nailed into adjacent studs on each end. As opposed to a press-fit, with glue. In any event, if failure occurs, it will show up with the aluminum door frame deflecting to the point where the door jams and/or the glass panes crack. If that happens, it's time to rip everything out and start over, starting with a properly-installed and supported header.

And using someone having better carpentry skills to do the work is also suggested.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 02:53 AM
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I'll have to ask the chap how he installed it next time I see him. Needless to say I'll need to be circumspect with my questions.

My panic about his work came about when I saw the renovation photos and a scene from the UK TV series Fawlty Towers kept reverberating in my mind. If any of you have seen the episode "The Builders" it's the scene where Mr. Stubbs the professional builder comes to inspect some suspect renovation work. On regarding a door cut into a wall, the builder asks:

What did you use? An RSJ?
No, four by two...
I mean, for the lintel. Did you use an RSJ? You know, an iron girder? Or did you use a concrete lintel?
No, a wooden one.
But that's a supporting wall!!!
 
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Old 01-21-15, 03:04 AM
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Handyone, thanks for pointing out the detail about the foundation. I hadn't noticed that. Beyond everything else, all that rising damp from the naked soil, with no insulation or barrier between the soil and the subfloor won't help matters if the door leaks.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 08:40 AM
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I have an idea, I don't know if it's good or bad. Hopefully some others will come in with comments.

You install header/beam from inside the house.
It will not sit on top of exterior studs, it will be attached to the interior edges of studs and butted up to ceiling.
You have walls on either side of door. Beam will sit on posts inside these two walls. It will also be screwed into each stud along the door wall.
This would provide quite a bit of additional support for rafters.

Once everything's in place, beam could be covered with drywall or decorated.

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Old 01-21-15, 03:32 PM
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It would be possible to install a single LVL as a header from the interior and support it with jack studs on each side, but it would mean removing drywall on the interior side to do it. And as Brian pointed out, the jack studs would need to continue down to the foundation, so you would have to be looking into adding something below the bottom plate to provide a load path.

It looks like your guy opted for preserving the drywall inside instead of being concerned about the structural integrity.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 03:38 PM
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Handyone, I think your idea is certainly worth looking into. Unfortunately the homeowners are not overly concerned about the poor work. There's the ever powerful "she'll be right" attitude in NZ which precludes really high standard work in many areas, including DIY. I'm sure once the door leaks and becomes jammed then they'll be hand wringing, but I think the structural bit is not an issue for them. It would be for me, which is why I asked for advice.

XSleeper, I think you're spot on. He wanted to get the work done as quickly as possible, with as little damage to the interior as possible. Either he is unaware of the structural issues, which is quite possible, or he thought it wouldn't be a major issue. He was only there a couple of days to do the work.
 
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