Considering widening a doorway.....

chrisexv6July 26, 2008

Interior door, on what I believe is a load bearing wall (I can see there are jack studs in the rough opening).

Right now a 30" door exists, the RO is about 32-1/4" wide. Wanted to go one size up (mainly because I already have the door leftover, the current door needs replacing, and for some odd reason the furniture that needs to go into the room doesnt quite fit easily)

Basically removing one jack stud would give me the opening size I need.

My question - is it safe? I would remove the non-hinge side jack stud, leaving the hinge side so I can get the door stable in the opening.

But obviously the door isn't as important as making sure the house isn't going to fall down :)



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Remove the jack studs on both sides and replace with 1x's. If the existing jacks are 2x4's, replace with 1x4's. Unless you have a tremendous load, the 1x's will be sufficient as jack studding. If the load was that severe to begin with, you would probably have extra jack studs in that opening, so the 1x's should suffice.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 1:00PM
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The issue with that is there isnt room for a 1x4 after removing one of the jacks. It would bring the RO to less than required for a 32" door (my door says RO for 32" wide door is 33-3/4" to 34")

Without the jack I have exactly 34", if I add a 1x Ill be down to 33-1/4")

I have the frame semi in place with the jack removed, so I can see exactly how much opening I have, and its not enough if I add a 1x back in.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 1:05PM
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Hi Chris, You stated that by removing one jack = 1-1/2" you would have the right opening size. By getting rid of both 2x jack studs and replacing them with 1x jack studs, you will have the same as removing one 2x jack. For a 30" door, the opening would be 32" with the 2x jacks. By replacing those 2x's with 1x's, it will give you 33-1/2" which might make it although it will be tight. It depends on your door. Measure the actual door/ jamb and see even though they have stated that you need 33-3/4" yo 34".

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 4:09PM
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You might consider removing the jack and putting an "L" bracket under the header connected to the king stud, both sides if need be.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 4:11PM
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The advice given by sierraeast is novel, but it is structurally unsound and creates a building code violation.

Headers are required by the International Codes to have a minimum bearing under each end of 1 1/2" and no less, and in some cases minimum bearing under each end must be 3".

This means that you must retain a minimum of 1 2X jack stud under each header end and depending upon the total loads, spans and seismic design region, 2 jack studs under each end.

a 1X jack is never allowed under any circumstance.

The Code does permit, however, the use of structural header hangers in place of jack studs when only a single jack stud is used under each end.

Below is a link to approved Simpson header hangers which would work and solve your problem safely and legally:

Here is a link that might be useful: Simpson Header Hanger

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 6:40PM
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There's your answer,chris, from manhattan using simpson but i have to disagree with you on the 1x's breaking code,manhattan, as we had to widen a fireplace opening and at the advise of a structural engineer who calc'd our build, approved the replacing of the 2x's with 1x's. The load being the roof rafters along with doermer rafters on a vaulted ceiling, i believe it is all dependent on the load. Ours calc'd out okay for the use of 1x's. Not typical, but allowed in our case and it was not a typical door openeing, but rather the fireplace hole. Still, your simpson advise rocks!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 7:45PM
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Thanks for all of the replies. I will try to track down one of the Simpson hangers (Im guessing Lowes or HD would have it).

As an aside, does the presence of a king and jack stud automatically mean the wall is load bearing? After looking at it some more, Im wondering if maybe the only load it was bearing was the attic floor........up in the attic, there doesnt seem to be anything that would "push" down on this wall, its actually not on the centerline of the house, and I can see the top cap of the wall, separated from other top caps that are a little further towards the centerline of the house.

Id rather just be safe than sorry and retrofit the Simpson product, but was just curious as to if this wall really is load bearing.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 8:11PM
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Having an engineered design for a specific application based on specific observations and calculated for the specific conditions and loading for a specific job is one thing....

Wrongly supposing that that design can be also universally used in any other circumstance in itself poses a code illustrates a keen failure to understand proper structural loading thru acceptable framing

The fact is, that unless the original poster has his specific opening designed and approved for use by a local design professional to allow for 3/4" jack studs, then the use of 1x jack studs remains unsafe and strictly forbidden by building matter what anyone says to the contrary.

Remember: the minimum bearing surface for headers and girders and the number of jacks has already been engineered for the Code Tables.

The minimum bearing of 1 1/2" for headers and 3" for girders is what is required to not only keep headers/girders on top of jacks, but also to provide a minimum fastening surface to which the header/girder can been nailed.

3/4" or 1X jacks simply do not work for required load bearing nor proper nailing thickness in most cases, and why the Code prohibit such measures.

In active seismic zones, the concern for keeping headers and girders on top of jacks is increased.

The bottom line is that out-and-out "guessing" that since one engineer allowed for 3/4" jacks for a specific application for a specific job under specific loading conditions means that using 3/4" jacks can always or in this specific case be used, is simply flat out wrong.

And it isn't sierraeast's call to make.

The proper approach here is to get the advice of a local design professional or simply use the prescriptive code requirements that have already engineered and that require 1 1/2" minimun jacks.

In either case, it is ultimately the local code official who has final say, and that is where the original poster needs to get his final authorization for any unusual variations from minimum Code requirements...Not here.

Or simply replace the too small header with a properly sized new one that will accomodate his new and wider door...and which has the appropriate number of jacks under it.

Guessing that 'angle irons' or weird sized jacks will do the job simply doesn't cut it...

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 9:52PM
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Get guidance from a local design/building professional and your Code office.

No one here can see your building.

No one here can say with any assurance whether the wall is bearing or non-bearing.

But the best approach is to presume it is a load bearing wall and design any changes from there.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 9:57PM
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As an FYI I just replaced the jack stud and bought the correct size door....easier than getting engineers involved for a small door size increase!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 9:44AM
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As an aside, does the presence of a king and jack stud automatically mean the wall is load bearing?

No, just because the door has a jack stud does not automatically make the wall load-bearing.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 11:47AM
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You should put all of this energy into finding out if the wall is load bearing.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 2:05PM
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MightyAnvil said:

"You should put all of this energy into finding out if the wall is load bearing."

And I agree completely...

And you may have compromised the structural itegrity of your house because you did not want to consult any real experts....

The "moral" of this story is to NOT do as chris8796 has done...because he ultimately has not gotten any professional guidance and has instead chosen to fly by the seat of his pants and "hope" his amateur guesswork is correct.

And that's bad advice all around.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 12:06AM
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I do agree with Manhatten's comments, however based upon what the other Chris said, I thought he just put the jack stud back, (ie. its as it was prior to messing with it) and bought) and just bought the correct size door.

That is what he should do, if he doesn't have the expertise and doesn't want to invest in an expert opinion

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 12:08PM
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The presence of a king/jack stud combination does not automatically mean that the wall is load bearing. I frame all my door openings that way.

As has been mentioned, your choices are two:
1) Find out if the wall is load bearing. If it is not, the jack(s) can be removed. If it is...
2) Pull the jack(s), use the header hanger(s) and be done with it.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 1:54PM
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LOL, this thread has taken an odd tangent. There too many Chrises in this thread too start. I think Manhattan may have been too busy emphatically making his point, rather than considering the possible intent of OP's last statment (i.e. he choose not to change the door size). I think it was just lack of attention-to-detail to that caused his attack on me. You can't fault him for lack of enthusiasm on the subject.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 2:12PM
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I DO realize that the issue is already solved and that you ended up not making the change, but for future people's reference when reading this thread:

I did exactly what manhattan recommended when my front door was widened to 36" with the Simpson brackets. The original front door was beyond repair and no replacements were available in the non-standard size. To reframe the whole wall (or to custom build a new door) was cost-prohibitive, since the wall was not being fully opened in this project. It was permitted and OK'd by the city and inspected.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 3:11PM
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