Subscribe or Renew Membership Subscribe Renew

How to do support for a balloon framed wall for header beam install

esayre's picture

I have a house built in 1896.  I am trying to remove the section of wall highlighted in red on the first floor plan below.  This is a balloon framed wall that is the exterior wall on the second floor.  Joists (family room) run left to right in the drawing.  

I have a couple of questions:

1.  How is the best way to support the load temporarily while I remove the bottoms of the studs and add the header.

2.  Is there an easy way to "bury" the header up into the ceiling more.  One problem with this is that the ceiling in the family room and office are different heights.

First photo shows the wall framing.  The second show ceiling and the 1x4 that is let into the studs that the supports the joists.



evan (post #207362, reply #1 of 6)

I cannot see anything labeled office except the room (office) that has nothing to do with the highlighted red wall.

And it appears the 1 floor that doesn't line up in the two floors worth of drawings is an addition.  Correct?

Which direction do those ceiling joists run in each room?  If either are parallel to the wall you want to open up-then no problem .  And which picture is which (after you tell me where the office / family room are.

What is the makeup of the paper tile ceilings?   Tile, furring, plaster, lath, and joists?


And the span of the new header and the size you've determined it has to be?

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


Sorry, tried to make it as (post #207362, reply #2 of 6)

Sorry, tried to make it as clear as possible.  The room just to the left is the office.  That entire 'L' is single story.

Ceiling joists in the office are parallel to the wall to be removed  and the joists in the family room are perpendicular.

In the office under the paper tiles is beadboard and in the family room there is nothing under the paper tiles.  There was plaster and lathe but that was removed when the paper tiles were put in, I think.

Span I want is 84" and am planning on using a doubled up 2x8 microlam.

Make sense?


evan (post #207362, reply #3 of 6)

You're doing fine-you live there and can see it - we don't have that option.

And any advice is from what I can see in the photo's, so again-you are there and we're not.

The office if an addition upon it's own foundation-shouldn't be a problem nor load to consider (most likely).

To hold up the floor above the fam. room.-Temporary wall or plates above and below with properly placed uprights just far enough away from the wall to allow you to cut out the studs.


Breaktime-well, dinner's on-later.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


ok, dinner was great-more football (post #207362, reply #4 of 6)

You've understood how to hold up the floor joists in the fam. room?


The wall.

Were you going to put the top of the header for the wall-right below the 1x4 ledger?  We don't know the ceiling ht in either room.  From the looks of the door opening, you have plenty of room, no?  You can bury it up in there quite a bit, but you'll have to open up the ceiling.

If so, did you figure the span and rating of what I think you mean (2-7-1/4" LVL's?)  They would be 1-3/4 thick each-3-1/2" wide joined together.  You can have this done at a good lumberyard that supplies the LVL's.  Take them your drawing but add dimensions and size of framing, direction of joists etc.  They'll fax that to the distributor and they in turn will spec the header size and supporting members according to your opening size.

Again, the way it looks like the office room is with your description, there'll be little if any load from that.


Evan, full stomach and one eye on the game, take this with a grain of salt.


It looks like the original house had board sheathing, then siding over which was left on (office side).  All of this weighs alot, but also helps hold these old houses together.  Also, there's no header in that door opening (though there appears there's sag in the openings plate). 

This is where you will have to use your head.  I cut across one of the studs I want to take out with a sawzall.  The blade should bind near the end of the cut (come at it from one side most of the way, finish the cut from the other side.)  Be able to undo the blade if it's bound up real good)   Do it again on the same stud the same way.  Might bind up again.  3rd time, it should be alot less or none.  Do it again to the next one.  You should be able to tell if there's any load that you haven't accounted for.

Prior to this scary undertaking-if you are at all concerned you are not holding the walls up with your temp. wall under the joists (the joists are usually nailed off to the studs besides being held up with the let in ledger).   Get some structural lags from GRK and run one of two of those through the side of the joist into the stud........each one you are cutting out b/4 you cut any studs.

The stink'n Ravens just hit another guy helmet to helmet and a fumble then score...............


So, you confused yet?

If not, and it didn't fall down.  Make sure your cuts on those studs are in a straight line-the LVL will be straight.  Support the LVL with 2-jackstuds at each end. These must go down to the foundation or have solid blocking continuous down to the foundation.  The King studs hopefully are already at each end (original framing) or make your LVL long enough to do that-go from one orig. stud to one at the other end.  Add a cripple under the header to the size of opening you want.  You'll have to see what you got as you open more of the area.

If you're working alone, you can put up the LVL's one pc at a time-then glue and use  the same GRK screws (countersunk so it won't interfere with your wall finish) or nail it off accordingly (from both sides if you use nails).

For those structural screws, use an impact driver!


Back to the game.


EDIT:   I think you have undersized that header-please consult the supplier of the LVL's with your drawings and dimensions.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


I think I totally get (post #207362, reply #5 of 6)

I think I totally get it.

Yes, I am pretty sure that the office roof load is carried by the outside walls and not the wall I am trying to remove.

With the joists lagged to the studs that will transfer the roof load off the main wall and to the temp wall, right?

And, I assume there is no easy way to bury the header up into the ceiling enough to hang the second floor joist from it.

I will consult a supplier to get the LVL sized.  (although, I did remember wrong was planning on using a double 1 3/4x 9 1/4)


Thanks for your detailed explaination.

Evan (post #207362, reply #6 of 6)

Again, I cannot see what you can see.  With the whole side of the house board sheathed and you making sure the connection between joist and wall stud is good, I would not be worried about movement.  Add the way I mentioned to cut out the studs will give you a good idea what's going on as you do it.

I would have the header material there and go from start to finish, not going up to the cottage mid way.


Further insurance-if you could get into the attic space of the office, you could shore up the outside of that wall in the area of your opening. 

Your temporary wall-you won't be able to build on the floor and tip it into place.  You need to spread the load so you do need plates at the ceiling and floor.  Do not build over carpet.  You can cushion the ceiling tile, but I would plan on removing enough so your temp wall is solid to the furring or joists above.  Make sure the furring is tight to the joists.

Best of luck and don't forget to return with a report on how it went.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.