How To Build A Header For A 2×6 Wall

Building a header for an opening between two walls is not difficult, but it is critical to making sure the load above the opening is properly supported. A proper header will ensure that the wall doesn’t buckle or bow when there’s weight placed on it. The size of stock you need to use, though, depends on the size of your opening and the type of construction (2×4 or 2×6). In this guide I’ll show you how to build a header for a standard 2×6 wall using dimensional lumber.

Measuring the opening, and getting the right sized stock.

  • Measure the opening. Use a tape measure to get an accurate measurement of the width and height of each side of your header.
  • Get right sized stock. If you’re going with a 2×6 wall, it can look like this:

> 2″ x 6″ x 10′ in length – cut into 3 equal pieces (2) @ 44-5/8″ in length = 1 piece at 22-5/8″, 1 piece at 21-1/4″, and 1 piece at 20″. These will be your headers. The two shorter pieces will be set into place first, followed by the taller one on top. This is called a “header stack” because it is usually composed of three different lengths stacked on top of each other to form an opening for doors or windows (like we are doing here).

Fastening the first stud in, making sure it is plumb and level.

  • Fasten the first stud in, making sure it is plumb and level.
  • Use a level to make sure the first stud is plumb.
  • Use a tape measure to make sure the first stud is level.
  • Take out your framing square and check that it’s plumb against both sides of the wall, then check that it’s parallel with floor, too.

Pre-drilling holes for lag bolt placement, and inserting the bolts.

Pre-drill holes for lag bolt placement, and insert the bolts.

As mentioned above, pre-drilling is an important step in building a header for a 2×6 wall. You want to make sure that you predrill holes so that the wood doesn’t split when you put in your lag bolts. You also want to make sure that you predrill holes so that your lag bolts don’t break when you try to install them into their respective holes. If you don’t pre-drill, it can cause trouble both ways.

To prevent these issues from happening: use a drill bit slightly smaller than the diameter of your lag bolt; this will help keep your pilot hole only as big as it needs to be (which will save time).

Alternating top and bottom holes for lag bolts, using a tape measure to make sure they are spaced evenly.

  • Alternating top and bottom holes for lag bolts.

This method uses alternating top and bottom holes for lag bolts, in order to achieve a more consistent pattern of lag bolt placement on the header. The first step is to space your holes evenly with a tape measure and level. Measure between two points on each side of the header to make sure they are also even at the top or bottom of the header. Use these measurements as your guide when drilling pilot holes for lag bolts in both directions (top/bottom). Once you have established an alternating pattern, tighten all of your lag bolts securely into place by hand so that there are no gaps between any pieces of wood or steel framing Material

Pre-drilling, inserting, and tightening entire header with lag bolts.

_1) Insert the lag bolts into the wall studs, at an angle that will result in the head being flush with the top of the wood.

  • Place one lag bolt on each side of each header board that you’re installing. This is necessary to keep your header flat, as it’s not secured otherwise.
  • Pre-drilling holes prevents splitting of wood during installation.

_2) Tighten down all four bolts using a socket wrench or ratchet driver with a torque wrench (optional).

One end of header is complete at this point.

At this point, your header is installed on one end and is complete. The other end of your header will be built in the same way as the first half, but it won’t require any additional framing to support it. In fact, you’ll get all of your work done by using just a few studs from the wall itself.

The next step is to position one end of the header against a wall stud so that it rests at least 1 inch away from any other surface (this includes drywall). The distance between each stud should be measured with a tape measure or laser level; if they’re not equidistant from each other, adjust them until they are level before continuing.

Once you have made sure that both sides are evened out properly and level with each other and then secured into place with screws or nails through every plate hole (make sure they’re long enough), use shims underneath as needed until there isn’t too much space between them anymore–this prevents having too much pressure put on one side over another which could cause problems later down the road when you try installing trim pieces around windows or doors.

Shims placed under header’s opposite end to assist in leveling it.

The final step in the process is to level and plumb the header. After you’ve set your post, use shims placed under the end of your header to assist with leveling it. This will ensure that your posts are plumb and that they’re not leaning away from each other at all. The shims should be placed directly underneath where you’re going to attach them, so if you’re attaching them at a corner or edge of length 2 feet, your shims should be spaced out evenly along this length (i.e., every 6 inches).

This step can also be done by placing shims along any points where there might be bending force on one side of a corner or edge making sure that everything is straight and flat before fastening down anything permanently.

Header is leveled in place by shims and/or hammering with a piece of wood or small sledgehammer.

Once you have the header in place, use a level to make sure it is plumb. If your header is not level, then use shims to make it so. Also, use a tape measure to check for length and height of your header, making sure that both measurements are correct before moving on.

Once the header has been leveled in place by shims and/or hammering with a piece of wood or small sledgehammer and has been measured for length and height on all sides; you can now proceed with installing the first row of blocks underneath the headers (as shown below).

Boards are pre-drilled prior to adding lag screws to secure them to wall studs on either side of the opening.

Pre-drilling is a critical step and without it, your header will not properly secure to the wall studs.

It’s important to pre-drill before attaching each board (and any other wood) because it prevents cracking, splitting, warping and other structural issues that can result from improper drilling. Pre-drilling also makes it easier for you to get your screw started and saves time by reducing the amount of effort needed when installing your header (provided you have good quality tools).

A properly built header will support its load indefinitely, preventing the wall from buckling or bowing outwards over time.

A properly built header will support its load indefinitely, preventing the wall from buckling or bowing outwards over time.

  • The header should be constructed of solid 2×6 timbers, in this case laid flat (not on edge).
  • The two sides of the opening are secured to wall studs by means of bolts and washers. If you’re using a pre-hung jamb and door unit, it’s just as simple as installing that piece onto your rough opening before attaching it to your header.
  • The header should be level if possible; if not, shims can be added to ensure that it is level after installation. An unevenly supported header can bow outwards over time due to gravity—not something you want happening around your doorway.

To make sure everything is square, use a framing square when determining where each end of the header needs to go on either side of the doorway opening – see step 6 below for more info


Header is designed to support the weight of the trusses, or roof load, above an opening in a 2×6 wall. It is made from two boards and lag screws spaced at 16 inches on center. By following these steps, you can ensure that your header will be level, plumb, and secure.

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