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Replace Door and Window with 12' span (header question)

gbbuilder's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 4

03-22-08, 09:11 AM   #1  
Replace Door and Window with 12' span (header question)

When our house was originally built back in 70's, the kitchen had a window and sliding door onto a back deck. The previous home-owners enclosed the back deck into a family room (with a gabled roof). Now we have a kitchen + family room seperated by a wall with an open window opening and an open sliding door opening. So, basically the wall looks like this:


(X's are wall, o's are openings. I originally had this with spaces in it but that doesn't work on this site for some reason)

What we want to do is remove this wall altogether. I've done a lot of research around this and have come up with several options but just need somebody to bounce ideas off of to make sure I've thought through everything. Here's the facts:

- 70's home, platform style construction
- this is the second floor of a basement house so wall is only carrying the original roof + the gable roof from family room addition
- this is a load bearing wall, both because it was an external wall but also because its perpendicular to the ceiling joists
- Total span after completed will be 12' opening
- Not the entire wall will be removed. Left King and Jack stud will be approx halfway through window. Right side will go exactly where the right side of sliding door opening is
- Will be using temp supporting wall during construction
- Will use 2 jack studs on each side
- Will be blocking in basement to run new king/jack studs into foundation.
- I have done a fair bit of DIY in and outside construction so am confident going into this job, but this is my first time extending a header

- Anyone have reservations about just using 2 2x12 (plus plywood filler) for the header?
-Is just one king stud enough for this wide of an opening?
-Is it OK to cut the top plate out (just the 2nd one) and put the header up against the remaining plate? I'd like to keep the opening as high as possible?
- Is a permit required?

Any advice or response would be very welcome as I really want to get on this but I don't have many friends who tackle these kinds of projects.


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chandler's Avatar
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03-22-08, 11:45 AM   #2  
Gary, you can do as you suggest with the header, but don't forget you have to build a false wall to hold that side of the house up while you do your thing installing the header. You can't leave that much weight alone even for a minute without problems. I wouldn't recommend cutting the top plate, as you won't be able to replace its weight bearing properties with just your header. Using a 2x12 is predicated on leaving the top plate in place. I know it is infringing on the head space you want. It is always better to double the king studs on a wide opening like this, then set your header on jacks. Permit? Only your permit department can tell you. Where we are located, unless we change the footprint of the building or make changes over a certain dollar amount, none is needed. Yours may be different.

gbbuilder's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 4

03-22-08, 12:46 PM   #3  
Agreed on the false(temp) wall. Regarding the permits, if it helps for anyone else reading this, I'm in Vancouver (Delta), BC.

Thanks for the advice on the top plate, I'll leave it alone. So, double the king as well as jack studs then... thanks, I was wondering about that.

XSleeper's Avatar
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Posts: 19,313

03-22-08, 01:31 PM   #4  
IMO, using 2x12's for long headers like that is outdated. You'll be miles ahead if you use a similar sized LVL instead, since it will be MUCH stronger. A structural engineer would be able to size the header exactly.

thezster's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,268

03-23-08, 04:41 AM   #5  
Every locality I've ever lived in has required permits for any modifications involving electrical work, plumbing work, or structural work. Installing your header certainly qualifies under the last arena... additionally, they have required a sign off by a certified structural engineer for the permit application in such situations. Call the permit office - they're your friends - not your adversaries...

gbbuilder's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 4

03-23-08, 04:50 AM   #6  
I'm going to look into LVLs XSleeper, thanks for the tip. From what I read, I should be able to get a lower profile as well.

As to the permit office being our friends thezster, with all due respect, that sounds like an academic response. The city website is vague about what requires a permit and instead states 'should' get a permit for everything, which smells like a cash-grab. I'll still hire a structural engineer, though, that's another good tip. The local wood dealer offers them with any LVL purchase so it ties in well.


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