Patio Door Header

jirpelMarch 19, 2013

We are installing a new 6â sliding glass door to replace an existing window. The existing header is 2-2x8 and is actually long enough for the new door. However, all the header sizing tables I have seen require 2-2x10 for this size opening. So for piece of mind I am leaning toward replacing the header to avoid future problems. My problem is the there is no room to fit the 2x10âÂÂs. The house is balloon framed and a ribbon board runs along the ceiling limiting the space available for the header to 7-1/2âÂÂ.

Though about an lvl beam but not sure what would be an equivalent size to a 2x10. Also thought about just notching into the ribbon board to fit the 2x10 as the floor joists above would be bearing down on the header that would span across the notched ribbon board? Any thoughts?

This post was edited by jirpel on Tue, Mar 19, 13 at 7:51

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Support the ceiling joists. Make sure they are really well spiked into the studs above. Cut out the let-in ledger. Cut off the studs flush with the ceiling joists. Install whatever size of header is called for. Add the double jack studs to support its ends.The studs and joists are now carried by the new header. Pad down the header to the appropriate rough opening for your door. Remove the temporary support wall holding up the ceiling.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 8:14AM
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okay - if I follow you correctly. The ledge gets removed - new header installed tight against floor joists - double jack studs to hold header - frame down to opening height. Makes sense.

Should I be concerned with nailing in the studs above into the header? I wont be able to access them without cutting out the ceiling .

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 9:52AM
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As a different approach to Casey's correct method, I would install a 4x, as apposed to a 3 piece composed header, as near to the depth required, toe-nail into the floor joists, set and toe-nail a single trimmer, west of the Mississippi terminology, build the bottom of the header down, install and toe-nail the second trimmer.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 12:26PM
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In my system you could use rafter ties (a type of framing fastener) to anchor the studs to the top of the header. Adding a plate (as I take it from the other suggestion) which allows you to end-nail up into the studs before placing the header, is also fine.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 8:21PM
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A code table would tell you that you would need two 2x10's to support the second floor joists, attic joists, and roof rafters of a 28 ft. wide 2 story house with a 30 psf ground snow load.

Unfortunately, the tables do not include LVL's so they are often required to be sized by an engineer but that can be obtained from the LVL manufacturer at a lumber yard.

For such a short span, deflection is not an issue and two 1.75" x 7.25" LVL's would be about twice as strong in bending as two 2x10's so you could save yourself a lot of work and just install the lowest grade LVL's available.

For a one story house the existing 2x8's should be fine unless the house is wider than 28 ft. and/or the snow load is greater.

In any case, you should install double jack studs at each end of the header and provide a small space above he door frame.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 10:41PM
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Thanks all for the posts.

Renovator8 - The house is a Cape Cod style house which normally I would consider a one story and the existing 2x8 would be fine. However, upstairs a shed dormer begins about mid span of the opening which has our bathroom. I am thinking the bathroom will have some extra weight contributing having tile floor & walls, cast iron tub, etc. So I am leaning towards the worst case scenario which would be to look at this as a two story situation.

I will have to stop by the lumber yard on the way home to see what they have.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 7:14AM
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"The house is balloon framed..."

Probably time for an engineer.

The code makes certain assumptions when providing 'per se' header sizes that may not apply to your structure (platform framing being a major one).

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 5:28PM
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This post was edited by Renovator8 on Thu, Mar 21, 13 at 18:30

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 6:29PM
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"Why would you consider any other header?"

What engineer would stamp a plan for a balloon framed structure without a site inspection?

There are likely no plans to examine to stamp off an LVL application.

This post was edited by brickeyee on Fri, Mar 22, 13 at 14:56

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 11:37AM
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Thanks for all the advice. I installed the LVL beam over the weekend. Had the lumber yard size the beam and overloaded. I was able to fit in an 8-1/2" LVL beam and used rafter ties to connect the studs above the header into the beam. The rafter ties are sandwiched between the beams. It took a little time but everything when smooth. Best of all the water still drains in the right direction in the upstairs bathroom.

Picture was taken before the second jack studs were installed.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 8:27AM
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The beam you have installed will carry 4 times the load that the original one would. It should be OK.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 12:33PM
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