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Sagging header on garage door opening

jackthwack's picture

I have a span of 16 feet on an existing garage door opening.  The header sagged in the middle 2 inches over a period of 26 years.  The added chain automated garage door opener (wooden door) still works but the panels are starting to separate.  There are two stories above the door and double hung windows above are skewed accordingly.  The counterbalance spring for the door runs length-wise across the top of the opening.  The door can be manually opened using two fingers so binding is not a problem.  Over the past several months I have jacked up the center 1/4" per month with no noticable cracks on that wall above the door.  I'm now at the "What do I do now?" stage.  I'm thinking a steel beam would do the job but not sure how to remove old wood and slide in the iron work.  Also I will not tackle that spring unless I know exactly what I'm doing.  (Death is natures way of telling you to slow down!).  I'm tool-loaded, renovation experienced, and not afraid to learn the right way to do a job.  Any help out there?

(post #92537, reply #1 of 8)

A wood (like an LVL or GluLam) beam might be easier to get in there than a steel one. But either one will work.

You need someone to come out and look at your situation to determine what exactly you need. No way can we do that from here.



Constipated mathematicians have to work it out with a #2 pencil.

(post #92537, reply #2 of 8)

I'm not sure how many questions you have here. but you definitely need to give more info.


Which way Are the floor joists going?


Are you trying to remove the door?


Sounds like you have a torsion spring, which can be unloaded if the building isn't condemned the way it sounds. But let me warn you if you don't know how to do it, get someone who has. You can pretty much decide which body part you may lose and be pretty much right. Torsion springs can be dangerous, especially in compromised situations.


Same with the beam, It is hard to tell how much experience you have by the way you ask your question. Hopefully,you understand what you don't understand. Are you sure that beam is your only problem.



Where there's A wheel there's a way, got any wheels?


Edited 5/24/2003 9:38:26 AM ET by MuleSkinner

Where there's A wheel there's a way, got any wheels?

(post #92537, reply #3 of 8)

More details.....What's the header construction/size?  Sounds like you got alot of house over it.


Sounds like you got proper respect for that torsion spring. Right? :)

But it is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. - Herman Melville

(post #92537, reply #4 of 8)

A flitch plate { flat iron the width and length of the header } can be lag screwed or thru bolted after jacking the header up. I would consult an architect or engineer for the thickness you would need.

(post #92537, reply #5 of 8)

If it is an unfinished garage could you leave the bowed member in place and affix the new wood beam in place with additional post. 


You will have to put some sort of temp brace in roughly that position if you remove the old beam (use that term loosely given what you have told us <g>).  That makes the most reasonable choice to remove it and replace it from the outside.  That would result in buying two beams (one for temp and one for perm)


Any way about it, that door will be in the way, won't it.


An engineer might be a good resource in this situation.  


I wouldn't want to ask the wife if she could be careful pulling the Buick into the master bedroom. <g>

(post #92537, reply #6 of 8)

I'll second the LVL. About 2 years ago I did the same thing. Cranked it about 2 inches, sistered an LVL to the header with PL400 and 1/2" x 5" lags, just looked at that garage again this week while over at the house. Nothings moving.

"The child is grown / The dream is gone / And I have become / Comfortably numb "      lyrics by Roger Waters

Real trucks dont have sparkplugs

(post #92537, reply #7 of 8)

What kind of header is it. A box beam or a built up beam?


it may be wise to shore up the ceiling above it until it is level. then remove the offening header. A LVL or glulam could work. a flith plate makes thing complicated and requires an eng. design stamp. that costs more  money.

(post #92537, reply #8 of 8)

once the header is straight, seperate the two boards and slide a 1/4 inch x10 inch x 16 feet steel plate [flitch plate] between them and secure it with 1/2 inch carriage bolts on 2 foot centers. alternate the bolt pattern top and bottom. if you can't get the plate between the boards you could attach it to the outside of one. just another fun j


alan