Lack of true header - options?


Old 01-06-17, 01:28 PM
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Lack of true header - options?

Remodeling our laundry room and the plan was to put in a pocket door but that was before I opened up the wall last night.

The laundry room leads into another room (steps down) which is a converted garage with bonus room up top. The rooms are at a T to each other so the load bearing walls aren't the same. The 'header' consists of a single 2x10 nailed to the ends of 3 of the old garage's ceiling joists. There is some slight cracking and bowing of the board. Although surprisingly not as much as I would have thought.

The door is right up against the ceiling of the garage so a normal/easy header is out.
I think the pocket door is out unless I create a fake wall to house the door. Open to ideas though.

While I've got the framing exposed is there something better (and feasible) that I should do here? At the minimum I was planning on supporting the garage ceiling and replacing the existing 2x10 with a 2x12 but wanted to see if there was a standard when it came to something like this.


The trashbags are filled with old insulation and shoved in the gaps after cold air poured in.
This gap is what would allow me to fit a 2x12 in there.
The 2x10 spans a 32" door and is nailed into 3 suspended joists.

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Old 01-06-17, 01:55 PM
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So explain what we are seeing in the pictures. In the top picture, can the header be inserted into the wall on the left (hinge side) of your door? Because you have a lot of wiring on the right side.

We would need to know what's left of that door, or on the other side of that partition wall behind the door.
Old 01-06-17, 02:20 PM
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Sorry, it is kind of confusing.

So the first picture (trashbags and torn sheetrock):

Looking from inside the laundry room into the old garage.
To the left of the door is about 6 inches and then that wall is an exterior wall of the house. New sheetrock hung.
The light colored wood in the top left corner is a shim that I was playing around with since the 2x10 angles in at the top. I believe it always has since the drywall wasn't nailed tight and thus the drywall wasn't cracked at the bottom of 2x10.
To the right is about 4 feet of wall and then the door that goes up into the bonus room. The laundry room is around 15x10 with this door wall being the 10.

The nails you see in the header are the ones nailed to the ends of the joists.

So that wall you see with the wiring (4 white) isn't load bearing for the laundry room but it is for the garage. I was planning on moving the wiring to the opposite side of the door due to the pocket door. So the current position of wiring isn't a problem at all. Those 4 wires are for two 3 way switches on either side of the wall.

At the right end of the 2x10 you can see a little dark end grain for one of the 'non-headered' garage ceiling joists.
I am assuming that the joists behind the 2x10 about an 1" shorter than the others so that they and the 2x10 are both sitting on the top plate.
Above the garbage bag you can see half of a 2x4. I assume the sole purpose of this board is for drywall nailing.

The second picture:

Ignore the far door that also has sheetrock and wiring. The close door frame with trim is the one that matters here.

This is looking from inside the old garage into the laundry room. The only real thing this picture shows is that there isn't room above the door to put a normal header in.

To further address your question - not that I am aware of but I may be missing what you are getting at.

Does that help?
Old 01-06-17, 04:40 PM
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Ok, so if I follow you... top picture, your wiring will move to the opposite side and your pocket door will slide to the right. Your header will need to be long enough that it spans the entire opening, so why don't you tear off 3 more feet of drywall on that side and give us a picture from farther back so we can see the entire area at once. We need to see what's there and find out what the king studs will be sitting on on either side.

Sounds like you for sure will need to build a temporary wall under that low ceiling in picture 2 in order to remove the existing 2x10. Those joists will probably need to be cut back an additional 2" so that your header can be doubled. Either that or you leave the ceiling joists as is, replace the 2x10 with a 2x12 that is longer, then double it on the outer side... building the surface of that wall 2" farther out than it currently is. (Header has to be doubled, so your kings and trimmers will all move too). You may end up completely tearing it down and building it new... the pocket door will take up most of the opening.

Do you know for a fact that the 2x10 is a single?
Old 01-06-17, 05:07 PM
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These types of things are difficult or impossible without seeing the house.

My concern is the door that leads up to the bonus room. If I understand, you only have 4' between this door and the bonus doorway. Your plan will reduce that 4' area to almost nothing.

I get concerned when there are too many openings in a wall, especially if the wall is bearing.

The concern is not just sizing a header to support the weight, it's having enough sheathed wall area to brace the wall.
Another concern is if the bonus room door (stairs) is original. If not, the wall might already have been altered. Altering it again might require some input from an architect.
Old 01-07-17, 11:28 PM
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XSleeper - you got it. Yes, the 2x10 is just a single. Pretty soon I will remove the rest of the drywall but with it being 5 degrees outside right now I don't want to have more cold air coming in from the attic

Handyone - yeah, as soon as I saw how it was done the other night I basically wrote the original pocket door plans off and thinking it all over while typing this thread has cemented that. Normally I do all of this stuff myself but even this one had me considering hiring someone.

I still have one pretty good option for the pocket door before we scratch it completely

Also, this is all on slab.

The old garage side has a ledge the currently has a 2x4 laying on concrete with tile covering it. It extends to the bonus room stairway on one side and the far wall on the other so I could build another wall right next to the existing one. Then I could either put the door in this new wall or I could tear out the old and put it there.

I've added a photo showing the ledge and the 2x4 where I removed a piece of tile.

I do have another question if I go that route. Let's say I want to make the new wall the load bearing wall and the old wall (the now inside wall to the laundry room) will be cut apart for the pocket door track.

The only benefit here is that it would prevent the pocket door from being right on the edge of the step down. It's probably a lot of work for those 3 inches of ledge. The new wall would be in the same predicament as the current regarding the header.

Hopefully I can explain this well enough.
Assume both walls are in place. The 2 suspended joists over the door are now fully sitting on the new top plate (2 flat 2x4's) as well as on half of the old one with the 2x10 on the other half. The new top plate won't really give that much structural support.
So which would be better:

1. Replace the 2x10 with a 2x12 and leave the overall layout as is. The problem with this is that the wall the 2x10 is sitting on won't have as strong of jacks (or kings - not sure what they are called when the header is above the top plate) because they will be cut for the pocket door. Not having put in a pocket door before I am not sure just how strong the uprights will be.
2. Cut the 2 suspended joists back 3 inches and build a triple 2x12 header. This new header will sit fully on the old (now pocket door) wall and half on the new load bearing wall. The ceiling joists will now be half on the new wall's top plate and fastened to the triple 2x12 header. Since nailing through 3 boards is out I imagine hangers are the option here - can they support that much weight? I could also nail some pieces of 2x12 between the joists to tie them together even more (can't think of what this is technically called or if this is only used to prevent twisting).

If I got this route I am likely going to hire it done but I'd like to be able to have a solid plan to pitch to the contractor.

Here is the photo of the ledge:

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Here is a rough side profile drawing of option #2:
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