Cutting a hole in a wall....

Old 07-21-02, 01:03 PM
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Unhappy Cutting a hole in a wall....

I have a pretty small house, and I wanted to open it up a bit. I decided to cut a "window" in the wall between my kitchen and living room.

Before starting, I had a carpenter friend of mine come over and look at the project. He informed me that the wall was load-bearing and therefore I would have to keep some type of supports in place. However, since I started the project, I've started talking to other people who say that since I have a one story house, the only thing the wall is supporting is the plaster (in both the kitchen and the living room) and the type of support I need isn't very much. This leaves me with two questions:

1) The size of the hole I'm cutting (roughly 60 inches across) requires that I cut through 3 vertical wall studs. For support, while working, I was going to nail a 2" by 6" across those three studs, plus one more on each side. I was then going to cut below this 2" by 6" and frame in the "window". Is this enough support for the ceiling, or will I run into trouble?

2) I'm a bit confused as to what type of header I'm going to need. So far, if I'm thinking correctly, I'm going to have to add one or two 2" by 4" to each side of the hole (vertically, nailed to the first uncut stud on each side) and then have a header that will rest on these, going from one side to the other. I am then supposed to toe nail the three cut studs to this header. My question is, what should I use as my header? I've had some people suggest a 2" by 6", or two 2" by 6" nailed together. How should I proceed?

Thanks for any advice.
Old 07-28-02, 08:19 PM
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I just went through this project today except I have a two story house and cut out a 60" width by 3' hole between a kitchen and dining room. I used a 2x10 header just to be on the safe side.

I also suppported the ceiling on either side of the wall by placing a 2x4 under the ceiling and holding it up temporarily with a few 2x4's. Use some scrap type of wood on your floors so that you can wedge the 2x4's up under the the 2x4 that you have up against the ceiling and not scratch up your floors.

To make up that header follow these steps. Assuming that your existing wall is made up of 2x4 studs, in order to make up a compatible header you need to use 2 2x6's and sandwich a 1/2' piece of of plywood in between them. That way the header will be the same thickness(3-1/2 inches) of the 2x4 studs.

These are the steps I used to frame in the header for my project:

Enlist some help !!!

1. Install new studs at either end of the new opening. Attached to this stud in the inside of the stud will be a short 2x4 stud that will be the bottom height of the new "window. The top height of the new window will be the bottom of the header.
2. Cut the existing studs at the height you decided in step 1, remove the top of the old studs. Or you can just remove the old studs and contstruct a bottom frame made up of 2x4's. If you do that skip step 3.
3. Run a new 2x4 across the top of the shortened studs and the short stud you installed in step 1.
4. Place the new header right up against the top plate.
5. Support this header with a stud at either end with a 2x4 from the new 2x4 you installed in step 2.

Remove the temporary supports.

Not difficult to do, just be patient and plan this out.

If you are uncomfortable with this have a professional frame it in for you and then you can do all the finis work. Messing with bearing walls can be tricky and expensive to repair if it gets messed up.

Also in my local when you do stuctural work you need a builing permit and the building inspector can also be of help since they usually were in construction at some point in their career.

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