What size beam to span 6 feet...

Okay, not sure if this is too loaded a question.
I have a bearing wall in a bungalow I'm remodeling. The wall runs the length of the living room, and is pretty much in the centre of the house, running parallel to the eaves. There is a wall in the basement directly below, which presumably is a beam with teleposts.
I'm assuming the wall is bearing. I've removed the drywall, it's a standard 2x4 wall with studs every 16", just what you'd expect.
I'm wanting to open the wall up, and make an opening approximately 78" wide. I'm pretty much removing 6 studs.
What size beam do I need to use in this instance, (ideally using regular lumber - I have some height to work with, probably enough room for 2x10s if necessary), and how many studs need to support each side of it?
Thanks in advance. If I haven't provided adequate information, please let me know what else I need.
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For headers, I always use two 2 X 12's with half inch plywood between them. The 2 X 12's are glued and nailed one on each side of the plywood. Perfect door heigth.
For jack studs, I use only one for up to eight feet. (That is one jack stud nailed onto the regular stud.) For over 8 feet, I use two jack studs,
Bob-tx
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There is not enough info for a guess at required beam size. Supported load is important. Consider the entire load path from roof to foundation. Bob's comment about jack studs is worth taking note of. They will take all the load from the beam and must be supported. T
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So how do I determine the supported load?
I guess I was being simplistic, I figured as long as what I built (new header and studs) was as strong as what I removed (6.5' of 2x4 wall with 16" studs), I thought I'd be okay.
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6x1.5x3.5x900 = 28,350 pounds, if they couldn't buckle? :-)
Nick
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You need to specify the width of the house perpendicular to the wall, and what is being supported by the wall. It sounds like the wall is an interior bearing wall supporting the first floor ceiling joists and the attic space above. Is that right?

According to the 2006 IBC, in a 28 foot wide house, for an opening in an interior bearing wall that supports "one floor", double 2x10s with two jack studs each side will span up to 6' 1". I assume "one floor" means living space at 40 lbs/ft^2 live load, not attic storage space at 20 lbs/ft^2 live load.
Cheers, Wayne
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I forgot to mention that you need to specify the type of roof system. Is it conventionally framed with rafters and ceiling joists? If so, double 2x10s with double jack studs on each side is adequate to span 6'6" in an interior bearing wall supporting one floor in a house 24' wide, according to the 2006 IBC. If you have a cathedral ceiling with a structural ridge, or if you have trusses that depend on the bearing wall, then that is beyond the scope of the IBC prescriptive practices, to my knowledge.
Cheers, Wayne
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On Sun, 19 Aug 2007 19:36:12 GMT, Wayne Whitney

You've also got to consider the fact that you are converting load that was spread evenly over 6'6" (well, fairly evenly) into two point loads underneath the jack studs. If there's a continuous beam directly underneath the existing wall, it's probably no issue. But if the floor joists run perpendicular to the wall on top of the beam below, then you at least have to make sure there's solid blocking underneath the jack studs to transfer the load to the beam. Hard to describe, but you need to make sure the load from the jack studs is transferred directly to the beam underneath, and not dependent on just the floor sheathing or bottom wall plate to carry it to a joist or beam nearby.
HTH,
Paul F.
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Obviously there's more than meets the eye here.
I'm guessng that 2 2x10s will do it, and 2 2x12s will be even better, but I'm going to bring some drawings down to the city and have their engineer sign off on it. I'll update the group once I have some direction one way or another. Thanks again for all of the advice.
Maurice
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Just fyi, I had an engineer look at the drawings, the 2x10s (2 of them, laminated together with a sandwiched 1/2 plywood layer) was more than enough.
Thanks for all the help!
Maurice
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