I'm remodeling a stick-built sunroom, and after peeling the wallboard
off, I see 2x6 headers over all the windows and the door. It just
makes me a little twitchy, comparing it to the 2x10 headers over all
the other doors. So, how big an opening is a 2x6 header really
It's best to look at your local code requirements. It depends on a number
of things; e.g., what's the design snow load for your area; what's the
roofing? Two 2x6's are suffice for at least 6 foot wide windows and doors
here in the desert southwest. But if you are in northern Idaho, they would
not be adequate.
Which way to do the joists/rafters or the bottoms
of the trusses run? In general, if they run
perpendicular to an outside wall the wall is load
bearing and if they run parallel to an outside
wall, the wall is non-load bearing.
I just happened to be reading a book on framing garages today. One of the
pages had a table on mininum header sizes for various
openings. Below is the info from that table.
Opening width Header size
up to 4' two 2x4s
4' - 6' two 2x6s
6' - 8' two 2x8s
8' - 10' two 2x10s
10' - 12' two 2x12s
There is a note that this is for 2x4 stud walls in single-story structures.
If there is a second story, choose the next larger size. So, I'd say
without knowing details on the structural loads, the above is a good rule of
And I'd feel better, were it my project, with a call to the building
department in my town. That's one of the reasons we pay taxes and fees
to have these services.
Building codes aren't just for the other guy.
Right, and while he's at it he can file for his permit, pay his fee(s),
inspection(s), and maybe get any other work he has done onto the tax rolls
(and pay for any permits he didn't get). What an opportunity!
Or do it wrong, have the project fail in some way, and do it again later.
Or pay the penalties when the property is sold, and the work is found to
have been done without permits and inspections.
Why does the law only apply for 'the other guy'?
Actually it's better to "let sleeping government officials
lie" or is it "let lying government officials sleep".
I never could get that right(lie,lay,lying). Can an old
english major please speak up ?
I don't know the grammatically correct way to say it, but definitely
the plan here is to ignore the inspectors and permits stuff. As far
as I'm concerned, it's my house, and I'm going to exceed anything the
codes would ask for to begin with. I over-engineer as a habit - my
workbench is built like a deck, with a ledger board and all, and
should support pretty much the weight of the house, should I be silly
enough to put it there.
Right, and what does the building department use?
It uses wood structural data, but by the time it
get into the local code or an official looks it
up, the data may be magically transformed into
something less than accurate. You may get an
official that really knows, but the chance is
probably less that 50-50 especially if you live in
a big town.
Best if you don't want to go second-hand data, use
a wood products guide, many of which are free from
the U.S. Gov't, State forestry departments, and
manufactures of wood products. You should have
some of those in addition to a basic manual on
carpentry before beginning such a project anyway.
Of course, if you don't know much which seems to
be the case with the op, since he doesn't know if
a wall in a single story house is a bearing wall
or not, the local building department might be the
way to go.
On Mon, 04 Apr 2005 21:12:59 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"
Actually I do know, I just was being both a smartass and unclear at
the same time. As it happens, a second look at the current
construction revealed that the headers are already 48" long, they go
over two windows with one header. So, no framing changes needed, just
new windows. Fortunately - I didn't really want to redo siding, too.
When the house was built, the inspector should have looked at it then and
passed or failed it.
There is also a simple test to determine if the size is adequate?
Any big cracks in the walls?
Has the roof caved in?
Is the floor in the room above dipped at the end?
If the answer is no to all of the above, it is probably sufficient.
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