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load bearing header for access panel


jclarke326's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 3

03-31-05, 06:20 PM   #1  
load bearing header for access panel

Hi,

I recently discovered some unused space underneath my stairwell that I'd like to use as a storage closet (xmas decorations). I would like to cut one of the studs to create an opening large enough to get storage bins in there. This is a load-bearing wall however and I need to know how to make the header to make sure it is strong enough to support the one stud I'll be cutting.

Will two 2x4's be sufficient?

Thanks in advance for all your advice!

 
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Jack the Contractor's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 1999
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04-01-05, 03:40 AM   #2  
Header

Here is how to do it. First of all determine how tall you want your hole. Since it is under the stairs, it will not be too tall. Second, cut two 2x4's to this height. Third, cut 2 2x4's the width between stud 1 and stud 3. You are going to take out stud 2 for your hole. Nail the two studs you cut for your height one of them on stud 1 and the other on stud 3. Now cut out stud 2, your heigth plus 3 1/2". The 3 1/2 " will be the height of your new header on edge. Now secure together your 2 width studs (your new header), and place then on edge on top of the 2 height studs you just attached. This will span the top of your opening. Nail your header in place and put Santa under the stairs. Good Luck

 
grover's Avatar
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04-01-05, 07:07 AM   #3  
When you say "bearing wall", is it just bearing the floor above, or is there another floor or roof load on top of that as well? How wide will the span be, 29"? Also, how long are the joists that it's supporting? It makes a difference in the amount of weight that it's supporting, which makes a difference in the size header you need, by code. For what it sounds like you're doing, in almost all cases, 2 2x4s will be a sufficient header with a 2x4 jack stud on each side as Jack described, but if there is a lot of weight supported by this wall, you might have to go with 2x6s for the header.

 
jclarke326's Avatar
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04-01-05, 10:00 AM   #4  
It's a split-level house and this is the wall between the two levels. It supports the rafters for the roof. The studs are placed 16" o.c. and the joist appears to be about 20' long. The stud I want to cut is roughly in the middle of the joist.

Would two 2x4's still be sufficent support for this?

 
grover's Avatar
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04-01-05, 10:22 AM   #5  
According to IRC, yes

 
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