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Lumber & Composites

Support header for a 12' span

I'm looking for suggestions on building a load bearing header with a 12' span. The wall is an outside wall and supports the second story, which consists of 2 bedrooms and an attic. The walls are made out of rough cut 2 X 4's that run from the bottom floor to the rafter sill plates. I've done some research and the largest opening that I could safely build a header for would be 7'. Any help would be appreciated.

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Posted 2011-10-01T14:03:00+0000  by bakerscbrxx bakerscbrxx

Hello and welcome to the How –To Community.


Well, I’m sorry to start my post like this, however,  this is one of those projects that really should be done by a professional.


There are too many factors to consider and you would have to be familiar and 100% comfortable making decisions and actions based upon those factors.


For example, it is not just the size of the header and load that it can span,  there are also supports that need to be sized and supported properly to transfer and carry the load.  This would involve new support footers or evaluation of your existing foundation.  Also temporary support would need to be build and sized to support the entire load during alternation.  Depending on your homes framing (balloon/ conventional) there is also a shear bracing that would possibly need to be addressed or modified.


From my experience, openings that are this large would call for a micro lam(lvl's)  or engineered would beam.



The size and amount of the beams needed were usually indicated on the blueprints and blueprints were always provided to us by a licensed architect.


This said,  I would suggest reaching out to your local architect or structural engineering and inquiring about this project.


You may be surprised and find that they don’t ask much for stamped drawings.


Hope this helps, a little bit, and good luck with your project.

Posted 2011-10-03T18:59:46+0000  by George_HD_CHI


Saw your post.

I'm an architect.  Do you have any floor plans that were prepared for your remodel?  I can calculate the beam size and supports you need for a small fee.

Let me know.

Posted 2011-10-08T00:48:49+0000  by dmarch76
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