4x4 header OK for load bearing wall? Help!

Old 02-18-05, 03:08 PM
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4x4 header OK for load bearing wall? Help!

We have a wall that separates our kitchen to our garage. my wife wants a closet built into the wall that will extend 16" into the garage. upon removing the drywall, there were 5 studs in the space (a 6 foot space), 4 of which i need to remove. one is connected to a cross beam in the ceiling of the garage that seems to be connected to the joists in the garage ceiling (which is will leave connected to a portion of it). anyway, i want to cut the studs out (leaving 5 inches at the top, build the side supports in the interior sides of the closet, and use a 4x4 beam i bought as the header. this is a 1953 cape cod style house, with the main bedroom being half above that kitchen area and half above the living room (which backs the kitchen and runs along side the rest of the garage). I understand this to be sufficient...in fact, i've already gone ahead and done this. Now, my wife has been "researching" on the internet and is insisting that the 4x4 is not sufficient as the header. any opinions?
Old 02-18-05, 03:48 PM
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Depending upon your code, you would need two 2x4 with 1/2 ply or osb between them for a header to span up to 3'-6". You mentioned 6', for which you would need two 2x6 with the plywood sandwiched between.

Hope this helps.
Old 02-18-05, 04:32 PM
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Just a ????? It sounds like this could be a bearing wall if so you are way way off here. Like said you cant use a 4X4 for a header. Id check code for there . If you ever want to sell You will be in big big Dodo.

Old 02-18-05, 05:23 PM
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My main concern is that the wall is supported properly. would it be with the 4x4 in place? its in there now. i have pics if anyone wants to see. Just found out that my "code" is two 2x12's with plywood sandwiched in between. this may sound real ignorant, but what significance is the plywood in between? i've never done it that way...i've always bolted them together.

Last edited by ReneeV4; 02-18-05 at 05:47 PM.
Old 02-19-05, 05:19 AM
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The 1/2" ply does two things
1) it make the beam the same thickness as the studs 1 1/2 + 1 1/2 + 1/2=3 1/2 like the thickness of the studs.
2) the plywood ads resistance to sagging of the 2x's by adding varing direction of the graining in the plys. The ply in the header should be isntalled with the face grain running parralell to the hight of the header, not the length. Strength against forces is in the face grain of the ply.

Given the redundant nature of buildings, it could take a while to see the effects of undersized beams, but over time they will fatigue. 2x12's for a 6' span seems a bit much, but code is code where you live. This would still fit though with an 81.5" high rough openning and a double top plate with 8' ceilings. If they want 2 2x12's, do they want double jacks as well? Seems like an over engineering type of town.

Last edited by Tilebri; 02-19-05 at 05:36 AM.
Old 02-19-05, 01:32 PM
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I put another 4x4 beam to act as a stud from underneath the header 4x4 to the floor in that 6' span (so now i have two 4x4's that make a T. the floor is resting on the foundation, so i would now asssume this would be extremely sturdy for a support system, yes? also, i noticed that the studs in the ceiling in the kitchen run parallel to that wall, not perpendicular, so the major weight is on the walls that are in the front and back of the house.
Old 02-22-05, 01:11 PM
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I'm a little confused. Do you know whether this wall is supporting the second floor of the house? Is it supporting the roof? If this is a cape with the gable end adjacent to the garage it may in fact be supporting neither in which case it would not require a 2x12 header. I wouldn't mind seeing a picture.


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