Header Headache...

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Old 02-14-16, 06:40 PM
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Header Headache...

I don't think that the header installed above my basement double doors was done correctly, mainly because the top plate sags a bit and as a result I cannot close either door. The walls are finished on one side of the door, but the basement is not finished on the other side (just starting that task which brought me to this issue). Photos attached.

I believe the top plate should have been constructed by using two 2x4's installed on their side rather than a single 2x4 installed on the flat. Also I thought that the top plate had to be supported by the inside stud (Jack stud?) on either side of the opening, and not just toe-nailed to it.

Is this poor header construction or am I out to lunch on this? What, if anything, can be done to correct the header sag so the doors will actually close? I've thought about cutting back the cripple studs a bit (approx. 2") so that I can fit a couple of 2x4's on their side, and also cut into the studs on either side of opening to support the new top plate. This will surely cause some drywall problems on the finished side, but there are already cracks visible that I believe are from the sagging header so drywall repair is needed there regardless.

Any help is appreciated.
 
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Old 02-14-16, 06:47 PM
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I assume those floor joists over the door continue on to the stairway wall pictured, right? If so, what is above the doorway is not load bearing. Being an interior non-load bearing wall, with a span of less than 8', it does not require a header for structural reasons... it just needs to be able to hold its own weight. (See R602.7.2) Many times, framers will make 2x6 headers over double door openings just because it's wise to do so, but its not necessary.

Assuming you have a little space in the rough opening between the 2x4 and your jamb on top of the door, what you need to do is shim the jamb up so that it's straight, and nail or screw it so it stays put. Are there any fasteners holding the top jamb up? If there aren't... well there is your problem.

Being unfinished, there is also no casing (trim) applied to the door jamb on the latch side to help keep it straight. That's problem number two. If the jamb is not fastened to the framing on top, and there is no trim on it, its no wonder its drooping.
 
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Old 02-14-16, 06:49 PM
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You are correct in that the header should have been made of sandwiched 2x lumber. I would have used a minimum of 2x6 if not 2x8 on edge with a piece of 1/2" plywood between as a sandwich. Then the cripples would be cut and installed. As far as what you should do, removing the existing 2x4 and cripples, making a good header and reinstalling the cripples would be in order. The header should have extended across the first of two vertical 2x4 studs (one a king and the other a jack) rather than having no support at all, so making the header 3" longer is a must and modifying the king/jack situation as well.

Edit: Brant, I was thinking it was part of a staircase framing, and thus the need for a header. Could be wrong.
 
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Old 02-14-16, 07:02 PM
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Well, you can see some ceiling on the other side of the door, so I assume the joists continue and the load bearing wall is the other stairway wall... not the one with the door. We shall see.
 
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Old 02-14-16, 07:07 PM
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Correct, joists carry on to the exterior (stairway) wall as you said. There are several brads pushing through the jamb into the 2x4 above, about half aren't biting, and the two strike plates are both screwed through the jamb into the 2x4 above. I would prefer not having to replace the header if it's not necessary, what would be a good method to get that top jamb to move up and stay? Asking because I have no experience with door installation.

Edit: Joists are running parallel to the basement door opening (and stairwell seen in the background) if that helps with the determination.
 
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Old 02-14-16, 07:15 PM
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Well first, take the screws out of the ball catch strike plates. They are currently holding the jamb down too low. Once you do that, see if the doors close. If they don't, push up on the jamb with your hands.... see if the jamb has any movement, if you can push it upward. You should have a nice even gap between the door leaves and the jamb. Open the doors and put the strike plate screws back in.

If you don't have any air guns, but have a drill, you could go to Home Depot and buy some GRK torx finish screws and put 3 or 4 screws into the jamb to keep it straight. You use wood shims to maintain just the right spacing between the jamb and the wood framing.
 
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Old 02-14-16, 07:23 PM
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Are there any fasteners holding the top jamb up? If there aren't... well there is your problem
I see no reason this "header" should sag. The top jamb needs secured into the framing above as X said.
Also the framing above was built too exacting, there is normally a much larger gap and you shim.

Edit: I got in after X but I'll leave this in.
 
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Old 02-14-16, 07:42 PM
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Ok thanks guys, will give your suggestions a go. Thanks for all the helpful advice!
 
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Old 02-14-16, 09:19 PM
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I was able to move and secure the top jam up a bit until level, so both doors can now close, but the left door feels like it's under pressure and just pops open again. There appears to be no space between the door and the hinge jam in a couple of spots which I think is impeding the door from staying closed. Door is obviously not plumb, but is the fix for this simple (ie. something I can do myself with some direction), and should I start a new thread for this issue? Thanks.
 
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Old 02-15-16, 03:48 AM
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The studs on the left side are not very secure, and you have no space between the jamb and stud near the bottom of the door. You should look for a long screw in the bottom hinge and remove it. I would suggest then maybe using a c- clamp to draw the studs together (on both sides of your adjustable column)... once you get them pulled together, you will have some space between the jamb and stud- then tie the sill plate that is to the right of the column to the sill plate on the left of the column with a long strap... like this one, along with some of the 8d simpson nails. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Simpson-S...2115/100375249

Once you have some space to work with, you can then get the door jamb straightened out. Also looks like the top needs to go to the right, but it is probably too late to do much about that. If the top right corner of the jamb gets moved right, logic would follow that the whole right side jamb (and door) would need to shift to the right along with it. But now we're talking about some major adjustments, which may be over your head. So try the clamp and strap idea first and see if that helps relieve the pressure on the left side. Then post back with the results.

I fear that section of wall between the door jamb and column is twisted, allowing those 3 studs to rotate or pivot on the nail. The strap and clamp will help correct that.
 
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Old 02-15-16, 04:08 AM
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The strap would go across the suspended bottom plate, not the one secured to the floor... in case that wasn't clear.

Edit: Joists are running parallel to the basement door opening (and stairwell seen in the background) if that helps with the determination.
Oh yeah, I see that now. Makes no difference at this point, either way it's non load bearing. But when they are parallel, it's definitely not load bearing. Lol
 
 

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