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Replacing window header without tearing up my ceiling

strawmyers's picture

I am doing a garage addition that will include an overbuild of the existing house (garage will have 15.5' ceiling, that part of the house just 8' ceiling).  Engineer I had come out for a consult said the 2 ply 2x6 YP header above this window will need replaced with a same-sized 2 ply LVL header to handle the additional load.  This part of the house was built in 1955 and just has a single top plate.  Site-built trusses are 24" OC, and the header above this window is 46.5" wide.  I assume it's not a good idea to try to replace the header without adding a temp wall inside to support the load?  My concern is tearing up the drywall and/or texture on the ceiling.  I plan to make the temp wall ~8' wide to distribute the load; but is there anything else I can do to protect the ceiling?  Add some sill plate foam gasket material between the top of the temp wall and ceiling?  I spent 2.5 years remodelling this house on my "free time" so I could move into it... trying to minimize how much stuff has to be redone just a year later.  Thanks in advance for the help! 

 

Can you work from the (post #207054, reply #1 of 28)

Can you work from the outside?


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

are you sure you only have a (post #207054, reply #2 of 28)

are you sure you only have a single top plate?  a house built in 1955 should have a double top plate.  anyways, if you do have a single top plate you'll have to cut the drywall 1/2" below where it meets the ceiling.  that way you should be about even with the bottom of the top plate and you'll have somewhere to put your drywall tape when you redo the drywall.  if you're careful enough with it you should be able to do this without disturbing the ceiling.  i wouldn't do it from the outside, all you'll do is create more work for yourself

If the load is on top of that (post #207054, reply #3 of 28)

If the load is on top of that window, and if that means some parts of that roof is going to be cut out, can you put the header in the roof?  Maybe one or two trusses can be reinforced and hung on joist hangers to the header.

Header Above (post #207054, reply #4 of 28)

I'd ask the engineer if the header above is an option. That is, if you are removing some of the roof above the window.

Unfortunately cannot go from (post #207054, reply #5 of 28)

Unfortunately cannot go from above.  There will be a 4x6 post supporting that corner of the overbuild that lands right in the middle of where this window is (which is why the engineer wants the header beefed up).  The area of the roof west of the middle of the window could be cut out; but the other 1/2 could not be without adding a lot of extra roof repair work that is otherwise unnecessary for the project. 

I could pull the header from the inside or the outside.  I assume the drywall is nailed/screwed to the header; and will likely still get damaged if I try to pull it from the outside, anyway.  I don't know if I can temporarily support the roof load above that window from the outside.  The top chord of the site-built trusses have a pretty significant fish mouth cut into them where they land on the top plate.  If I put a beam under the overhang part of the trusses on the outside, is there a chance the chord could break where the fish mouth is cut?  I can't pull the soffit material off without first removing a 56' long piece of gutter and the fascia board flashing (which isn't going to happen); but I'd much rather aesthetically "damage" the vinyl soffit material on the back of the house than the ceiling inside.

Unfortunatley (post #207054, reply #6 of 28)

Sounds like you just might have to bite the bullet and patch the drywall.

Build your temp wall inside, as close to the wall as you can. Use a magnet to find, and then remove as many of the drywall fasteners in the header as you can, then work from the exterior to remove and replace the header. If you get lucky, you might be able to leave the soffit and just remove a few courses of siding and the window trim.  

I am able to pull the top few (post #207054, reply #7 of 28)

I am able to pull the top few rows of siding without removing the soffit material.  That is how I checked the size of the existing header.  I don't mind patching the drywall on the wall, its the texture on the ceiling I'm trying to prevent damaging.

What if I got up in the attic and put a 4x4 on the underside of the top chord of the truss that is above that window that then spans across to the truss on either side of that truss, then ran legs down from that 4x4 to the bottom chords of the adjacent trusses.  Do you think that would support enough from the "inside" that I could then change out the header without actually building a temp wall inside the living space?

You know, duplicating texture (post #207054, reply #8 of 28)

You know, duplicating texture ain't THAT hard.  A good paint shop will have materials and advice, based on the specific texture you have.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

straw (post #207054, reply #9 of 28)

Holding up the ceiling / roof w/o doing damage is done all the time.

If you want to lay something on top of that temp. plate-go ahead.  Just don't use anything that's thick and crushes-as the weight or false tightness of your temp studs below will allow it to move downward.  A towel would be fine.

The plate is probably nailed down through and into the top of the header.  You'll have to pry it down. 

You'll need to cut drywall/siding / sheeting nails and this can be done with a long metal sawzall blade.

You'll have a blast.

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

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


Any benefit to using a wider (post #207054, reply #10 of 28)

Any benefit to using a wider (2x10 or 2x12) top plate for the temp wall to help disperse the load on the ceiling; or am I overthinking it?

I have access to a couple of screw jack posts like would be used to support an I-beam in a basement.  Would those be beneficial to use for the temp wall "studs" over actual lumber?  Thanks to everyone for your help/input!

Straw (post #207054, reply #11 of 28)

Wider stock might be better................but working alone, I might just use what would suffice just fine-the narrower easier to handle 2x4.

Screw jacks.

Remember, you certainly could use them-however when they fall, they are way heavier and do more damage than that rotten s.o.b.'n stud that slid and fell over.

Once you figure the weight you wish to hold up and knowing what is in the wall that holds it up right now-you can certainly use 2x4 plates (top and bottom) to shore it up.

Best of luck.

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

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


Any thoughts on the below?  (post #207054, reply #20 of 28)

Any thoughts on the below?  Particularly the larger header for the temp wall with supports only on the far ends:

"Follow up question: I understand the "as close as you can" comment... but is there a max allowable distance or percentage of the truss width?  I'm going to end up doing the wall work from the inside (explained below in case anyone cares); so I'll need to be able to get between the temp wall and existing wall.  I have also considered building a ridiculous header (like 2 2x10's) for the temp wall so I can just have a support post on either end of the 8' length and have the inner part open for working."

straw (post #207054, reply #21 of 28)

I see 3 possibilities that I cannot see the probability for success..........

Go up in the attic-use whatever it takes to hold up the site built trusses (site built? )  Might be a header you can leave up there when done-going across and fastened to the vertical members of the truss if there (tight to the bottom of the top "cord") ?

Temp wall-spreading the load across the ceiling and the floor below.

Header, but make sure you transfer the load across a couple joists below at each end.

 

You know what I advised earlier-a 2x4 top plate, same at the bottom-studs temp fastened to the plates directly below each truss.  I work alone-don't like attics in the summer.  I take the easiest approach that yeilds the best results.  Overkill is for other, younger more nimble people than myself.

 

Best of luck in this.

 

What's the header size you'll be using in the new wall?  How many "trusses" will bear on it?

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

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


The engineer spec'd for a 2 (post #207054, reply #22 of 28)

The engineer spec'd for a 2 ply 1.75 x 6 LVL header, 1.9e.  I'm actually putting in the same in a 7.25" LVL because that is the smallest LVL my supplier can get.  I could rip it down to the 6" spec'd; but I have room to fit the full 7.25" and so why not... more beef isn't a bad thing.  There will actually be a 4x6 post going above this wall over the header that will be supporting 25% of the weight of a 27' x 22' , 4/12 pitch roof that is part of an overbuild of the existing structure.

Temp wall distance from existing wall. (post #207054, reply #17 of 28)

harryvermehren wrote:

Build your temp wall inside, as close to the wall as you can.

 

Thanks to various hang-ups from our lovely local buidling permit dept., this is just now getting addressed.  Ordered the stuff I need yesterday and should be here in a couple of weeks.

Follow up question: I understand the "as close as you can" comment... but is there a max allowable distance or percentage of the truss width?  I'm going to end up doing the wall work from the inside (explained below in case anyone cares); so I'll need to be able to get between the temp wall and existing wall.  I have also considered building a ridiculous header (like 2 2x10's) for the temp wall so I can just have a support post on either end of the 8' length and have the inner part open for working.

 

So, the good part about getting delayed is that it allowed me to think about what I really wanted to do with that wall.  We only have one door to the back yard at this point, and it's in the complete opposite ("new") part of the house.  Instead of just replacing the existing double 2x6YP header above the offset window with the engineer-spec'd double 2x6LVL header, I'm going to open up that wall, remove the window and reframe it to have a 32" 3/4 light door in the center of the wall (edge will be ~18" west of the edge of the existing window).  This will add a much-needed door from the "old" part of the house to the back yard and also keep the support post I referred to above from landing over the top of the window (or door).  Going with a fiberglass door with jamb saver jamb for longevity; and will also be adding and exterior storm door.

Before everyone convinces you (post #207054, reply #12 of 28)

Before everyone convinces you to get 6x6 posts for your temp wall, keep in mind there is very little weight above that window currently.  I'd use a single 2x4 directly under each truss with a plywood rip padded with a bath towel to protect the ceiling.  Don't put much pressure on the 2x4's since you don't need to.

I normally run a tight string line along the ceiling held off the surface 1/4" (I just use a couple screw driver bits as spacers) for the duration of the project.   More often than not, the string line shows too much pressure on the temp wall and too much upward pressure on the new header - it's a simple way to convince clients their house isn't falling down during construction!  lol

 

 

Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.

So are you suggesting a (post #207054, reply #13 of 28)

So are you suggesting a separate 2x4 under each truss (parallel) instead of a 2x4 (x6,10, whatever) that runs perpendicular to the trusses and picks up several?

? (post #207054, reply #14 of 28)

?

straw (post #207054, reply #15 of 28)

I think that is what don is suggesting.

Personally, I'd be wary of separate upright supports that weren't connected as the chance one of them slips and falls over is increased.

Now get started and come back with how it went.

best of luck.

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

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


Not damaging ceiling w/ temp 2 by wall (post #207054, reply #16 of 28)

I've used "sill sealer" between top plate of temp. wall and ceiling to prevent damage to ceilings while temporarily supporting floors above area of work.  You can either save the sill seal for your next temp wall or use it as intended to seal the gaps between your next sill and foundation.   Sill Seal is widely available and inexpensive-- find at big box stores like HD or Lowes or at your local building supply.

  The  replacement of (post #207054, reply #18 of 28)

 

The  replacement of window in presence of ceiling is a very difficult test. As the ceiling resides as

a hurdle for window. But with carefully removing its frame it becomes a little way to replace

windows. 

my bogus attempt at spam "link" has been removed and I've been blocked.

smith46, just for the record (post #207054, reply #19 of 28)

smith46, just for the record what's your game?  I assume you're Chinese.  Are you simply practicing your English, or are you training to be a spammer/scammer?


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Got the new header put in (post #207054, reply #28 of 28)

Got the new header put in yesterday.  Didn't end up being too bad... the prep work took up 75% of the project.  The door/jamb assembly I ordered hasn't arrived, yet; so I'm going to wait to take off the siding / exterior sheeting and reframing the wall for the door until it gets here.  The siding is all that's holding the original wall together now that it's not connected to the top plates, considering the exterior sheeting is just 3/4" foil-faced polyiso.  Here's the pictures thus far:

Original wall:

Started removing drywall and found old panelling:

Wall opened up and temporary support in place.  The temporary bottom plates spread across the original bottom plate and two floor joists.  Nothing caved in on me; so it must have been good enough:

 

New header installed.  Obviously more studs will be getting added once the door gets framed in.  I currently am using the screw jacks to help support the new header.  Probably not necessary... but it makes me feel better.  If it weren't for the point load that is going to be placed over that header, I'd liked to have put a large all glass patio door in.  Would be a great open view of the woods from the dining room:

See............. (post #207054, reply #23 of 28)

pc. o' cake.

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

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


Yeah, very happy with the end (post #207054, reply #24 of 28)

Yeah, very happy with the end result.  Almost looks like I actually had some idea of what I was doing.  Thanks for the help!

straw (post #207054, reply #25 of 28)

Well done.

But, had I really helped-I'd have suggested cutting the sheetrock below the ceiling-so you kept the corner taped-then finished the joint below.  

You are not screwed yet-get the board up, fill any gap between wall/ceiling, then flat tape it right up to the ceiling.  Then use a real flexible (not dimestore) caulk to fine tune the corner.

or

Get a pc of tearaway L-bead-easier to do than flat tape-put up the wall board (leave a fat eighth inch gap-install the L-bead and finish.  When done-tear the tearaway off and run a fine bead of caulk to the ceiling.

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

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


Except that if he reinstalls (post #207054, reply #26 of 28)

Except that if he reinstalls the ceiling trim that was there, it will hide the joint nicely.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

This was why I didn't worry (post #207054, reply #27 of 28)

This was why I didn't worry about it.  I'll still caulk it to help with air-infiltration; but I wasn't going to mess with mudding and sanding that part just to cover it with trim.  Another benefit of the larger door... less drywall = less mud work!