I am putting a window in my garage along one of the external walls. We have
already cleared the brick and sheetrock only to reveal a double wall stud
near the center of the new window opening. In the attic, this doubled stud
supports a doubled rafter which would appear to be a load bearing member.
I need to cut that double wall stud and build the header to frame in the new
window opening. I have read that standard practice is to make the header
size twice the size of the member being cut. Would the appropriate header
for a double stud member then be qty 4, 2x4's? Seems a bit much but there is
room to do it. Also, would the two adjacent wall studs need to be doubled as
Mike in DFW
All rafters are load bearing members. A doubled rafter indicates a
larger load. Consider it a red flag.
Not sure where you got that advice, but don't go back for more.
There are many variables and you haven't provided any of the important
information. It doesn't sound like it will be a big deal, but it would
be foolhardy to recommend a "solution" to someone unfamiliar with
framing practices and without having seen the conditions personally.
Standard practice, when you don't know _exactly_ what's going on
structurally (including all loads involved, design standards,
connections, etc.) is to hire an engineer to design you a solution.
"Only to reveal" suggests that you laid out the wall from the outside
without verifying framing prior to cutting, or that you didn't strip
the drywall before knocking out the brick.
I'll answer your question with three other questions.
Why did they double up the rafter in the first place?
Was the existing garage built correctly?
Do you feel from the information provided that the OP should forge
ahead on his own with information garnered from a newsgroup (where the
best intentioned advice is based on many assumptions), or should he get
some pro eyeballs on it?
I thought I just did. ;) I commented on something the OP wrote in the
midst of a reply to you. Maybe your newsreader works differently - my
stuff didn't show up as a reply to something the OP wrote in your
Indeed. That was understood thanks to the marvels of the > and >>
You asked why a red flag, and in my own tangental way I answered. It's
a red flag for the simple reason that beefed up construction points to
greater loads and possibly previous modifications or repairs. Did I
misunderstand the meaning of your question?
Well, take your tangent and stick it where...! :~)
I assume so. I saw nothing in the original (albeit a quick read) to indicate
these were after the original construction. (?)
Why would modifications to beef up a structure be a negative (red flag)? I
would take such to be "improvements".
Structural modifications are rarely done on a whim, and unless the
members and loads could be verified it would be an assumption that the
modification was an improvement. An improvement doesn't equate to
simpler or standard inDoubled members are perfect indicators that there
are greater loads in the area. Either way, original framing or
modified, it has little difference on the approach to the problem.
Verify conditions then design a solution.
Can't speak for your garage, can't see it. Opposite walls on my garage have
doubled studs with another 3rd stud attached 90 degrees orientation to the
two. The doubled studs run 90 degrees orientation as opposed to the rest of
the wall studs. Their purpose is help support a doubled up 2X12 beam w/1/2"
plywood that spans the garage. This beam holds the ceiling joists. There
also 2x4s on top of that beam that go to the bottom of the ridge board.
Span is only 20'.
While it may have been possible for me to put a window in the middle of such
a wall, I chose to offset the window placement toward the rear of the
garage. Something has to support the beam temporarily while building a
header and blocking to support the top plate. I chose not to mess with
The header dimensional lumber used depends on the king studs and cripples
separation distance, and how much weight is being supported. Would probably
be best to double up the studs that actually support such a header. Don't
forget about the 2x4 blocking above the header, if not running the header to
the bottom of the top plate to support whatever's immediately above.
Suggest, if you have some method of accessing the attic, to see what's being
Make the opening to one side or the other or get somebody who has a
clue to make the header design modifications necessary. Can't imagine
having the opening a couple feet one way or the other in a garage could
possibly be a major problem...
That's my comment... :)
Thanks for all the input - I posted this earlier this morning and should
have realized there really isnt a "standard practice" when it comes to
cutting load bearing members. Its a little late to rethink the location of
the window on this as we have already toothed out the position in the brick
The doubled stud I need to cut supports a rafter beam comprised of a 2x4
sandwiched between two 2x8's. This beam spans 19' to a parallel interior
wall. There is a roof support tied into this beam that makes 45 degrees with
the beam. Its attach to the beam about 8ft from the plate.
I dont think this is a big deal, and agree that it deserves careful planning
before simply forging ahead and assuming a repair is good for the long haul.
I didnt want to make a science fair project out of this but rather was
hoping for some ideas on how to adequately transfer the loads from a doubled
2x4 wall stud to the two adjacent studs via a header component.
My design will probably be overkill but I will seek out the advice of a pro
before I further my investment of time and materials.
That's the best advice you have given yourself. Hire an engineer to
recommend a proper solution. It may cost a few hundred bucks, but you
won't have to worry about whether you did it correctly or not. The cost
of engineering is only money, peace of mind is priceless.
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
Replacing a little on one side and moving the other way would seem
relatively simple unless you've used a masonry saw and actually cut a
line. But even there, the only difference will be using some of the
brick to fill in.
As you've no doubt realized, starting from the inside out first would
probably have saved a fair amount of additional effort... :)
While I'm sure it can be done where you want, I'm pretty sure I'd just
move it and go on. But, this is usenet so it's easy to tell somebody
else what to do w/ impunity... :)
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