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Build & Remodel

Install 6' Sliding Patio Door in 5' window hole?

We're installing it in an exterior wall.


There used to be a 5' window in that spot.


I am not sure if the wall is load bearing and it already has a 5' header that looks to be the right height (a couple inches higher than the the sliding door casing is tall).


The door is a vinyl prehung set, looks like they're Home Depot brand.  I can't tell.  My wife got this door at the ReStore, but it hadn't yet been installed anywhere, it was just something that got donated. The size is listed, 72 x 80.


The exterior is a stucco meant to mimic adobe that is common here in New Mexico.


Here are some pics:







I think we understand that we need to replace the 5' header with a 6' header when we frame for the door.  But, what I don't know is if I need to support this wall while replacing the header, or if since we will only be completely removing the support on one side of the winow when we enlarge the hole, the right side (from the inside), and that area is only about 3' from another wall, an interior wall.


Thanks for your help!

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Posted 2013-02-16T19:26:10+0000  by EcoRenovator EcoRenovator

The image insertion script isn't working and I tried to add them manually with html.  Now they're tiny and I don't see a way to edit my post, so I'll try again.


Posted 2013-02-16T20:09:53+0000  by EcoRenovator

There is also this one other thing that makes this job interesting.  As you can see from the picture it was originally framed, on the right, for a 3' exterior door.  So, there's the 5' header on the left over the window and a door header on the right.


The place on the farthest right where I've cut into the drywall is aproximately 6' from the other side of the window.  You can see how if I put a 6' header in there it would probably be too long to fit in there without removing both headers.


Maybe in this case it would be easier to move the studs on both sides of the window out a half a foot instead?



Posted 2013-02-17T02:48:30+0000  by EcoRenovator

Check it out. I found a photo from when the house was built that shows the wall without the drywall.  I hope this helps you guys see what I'm dealing with here.


Thanks again for your input.



Posted 2013-02-17T02:59:47+0000  by EcoRenovator

I would say that you would be fine with just replacing the header.  To me even though that is an outside wall it looks like it is on the gable end of the building, which is structural, but minorly load bearing.  If it makes you feel better the easiest way to brace the ceiling while you remove the old header and put in the new one is to get some 4x4's and put one on the ceiling directly over the window right in the corner of the wall and the ceiling.  Then use 2 other 4x4's as the vertical braces.  You can use shims to make the connection tight. 

Posted 2013-02-18T15:40:34+0000  by joshcameron


It looks as if your roof structure is using pre-stressed trusses. If this is the case, the gable wall is not a supporting wall, as the downward force is carried by the ends of the trusses on the outside walls.

Posted 2013-02-18T17:37:00+0000  by ordjen

 I would add to carry the load all the way down ...especially if this is a home over the basement...


Also, for the vertical support, I like 2x4's better - it allows you to nail the header right up to the king stud.  King stud is the 2x side support that is extending all the way up to the top plate.


I would use two jack studs and one king stud here ...assemble the framing on the floor and nail the header to the king stud.


Nail jack studs to it and lift the whole thing right up in to the opening...


Than nail the new king stud to the adjacent stud  that’s on the wall and also to the top and bottom plates.


1 2 3


This way you don’t have to shim and header will never shift from its position...


You will also have to address the framing above the window. An easy way to do it is to cut it back 1 1-/2” and add a 2 x plate to it  ...bring a header right up to that new  plate and then nail the plate to the header.


On the outside cut the stucco back about 6-7” all the way around the new opening .This way  you can install proper flashing and nail sheathing to the new vert. support and the header.

Later, instead of trying to the match stucco texture, you can have a decorative 6” border around the new door.


What’s to the right of the opening …I see another header in the framing pic…?



Posted 2013-02-18T17:58:54+0000  by George_HD_CHI

Thanks!  It does look like the roof trusses are held up by the other walls and not this back wall into the yard.


The 4x4 idea is great too, thanks.  Though it looks like what you guys are saying is true and I can just put in a new header without a lot of extra fuss.   :D

Posted 2013-02-18T18:11:58+0000  by EcoRenovator

It looks like from the left side of the window to the edge of that extra door header on the right is 6'.


Is there any reason I can't just build a 6' header exactly like the 5' header we're taking out and put it in there where it meets up against that extra door header?





That way the only 2x4 support that would have to be removed is that one that looks like an extra, between the window header and the door header on the right.     

Posted 2013-02-18T19:12:56+0000  by EcoRenovator

What about this?  Green is the new framing and red is the opening.



Posted 2013-02-18T21:40:16+0000  by EcoRenovator

Whoops, more like this...





Yeah?  Wouldn't that be the simplest way to do it?

Posted 2013-02-18T21:46:35+0000  by EcoRenovator
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