How To Build A Header For A Load Bearing Wall

Removing a wall is one of the most significant changes you can make to the layout of your home. It can completely transform a space and make it look much larger and more open. However, before you remove any wall, you must first determine whether it is load bearing or not. If it is, building a header is vital to ensuring that this new space doesn’t suffer from structural issues down the road. In this post, we’ll walk through all of the steps necessary to build a header for your load-bearing wall so that you can avoid future headaches and enjoy your newfound space.

Step 1: Determine if it is necessary to building a header.

In order to determine if it is necessary to build a header, you’ll need to know the length of your load bearing wall. A load bearing wall is a wall that supports an unsupported span of more than 8 feet (2.4 m). If your load bearing wall is less than 8 feet long, then it does not need a header. However, if your load bearing wall spans over 8 feet or more, you will need to build one in order for your structure to remain stable.

There are two types of headers: drywall and metal studs. Drywalls can be made out of plywood or OSB (oriented strand board) while metal studs must be made with 2×4 lumber and have nails running through them vertically so they can support their own weight as well as whatever else will be placed on top of them

Step 2: Determine the Load Bearing Capacity of the Header

  • Find out the load bearing capacity of your header. To find this out, you’ll need to measure the joist and calculate its area.
  • Calculate the size of your joist from its area and length.
  • Determine whether or not the load carrying capacity of a single piece of lumber will be enough to support both ends of a floor joist that’s being used as a header.

Step 3: Determine the Size of Luan Plywood and Length of the Header

  • Determine the size of the header based on the load bearing capacity of the wall. For example, if a wall is rated to carry 2,000 pounds and you intend to use it as a header, then you must make sure that the length and thickness of your luan plywood will be able to support at least 2,000 pounds or more.
  • Determine the length of your header based on how long you want your header to be. You want it long enough so that it would support any load from one end to another without sagging or bending too much.

Step 4: Cut the plywood and install headers over joists.

Using a circular saw, cut the plywood to size. Then, measure and mark a centerpoint on top of each joist. This will be where your header ends meet up with the wall studs to transfer load from one side of the wall to another.

Next, screw plywood over each joist in order for them to be properly aligned with one another when you’re framing out your load bearing wall. If there are any holes or gaps between boards (which is likely), patch them up using wood filler or caulking compound before installing drywall panels on top of them (more on this later).

Step 5: Frame the wall as usual.

You’ve framed the wall as usual, following the rules of good construction. Now it’s time to frame your header.

  • Use the header as a reference for framing and drywall.
  • Use the header as a reference for electrical installation and plumbing pipes, including vents and vent hoods (if you have them).

Step 6: Install drywall as usual.

Once you’ve built your header, it’s time to install it.

  • Install drywall on the header and on either side of the opening.
  • Install drywall on the wall behind your header.
  • Install drywall on the ceiling above your header (if necessary).
  • Install drywall around any windows or doors that may be in your room—the same way you would normally do so for a load-bearing wall.

Building a header for a load-bearing wall is not too difficult so long as you have some basic carpentry experience.

If you have some basic carpentry experience, building a header for a load-bearing wall is not too difficult. Before you start, however, it’s important that you have an understanding of why headers are necessary and how they’re constructed.

First things first: if your house is built on a foundation that has been poured directly into the ground (called footing), then chances are good that your walls will be holding up their own weight all by themselves. If this is the case, then there won’t be any need for headers. However, if your house is built on piers or posts with footings poured above them instead of below them (called crawlspace construction), then there’s a good chance that many of your walls will require additional support from headers or beams to help bear the weight of everything above them as well as from any furniture or appliances placed within rooms on top of those walls. These kinds can usually be identified by looking at where staircases lead off from within each level–if there are stairs leading back down into ground floor bedrooms and bathrooms (or basement areas) then chances are good that these spaces need support. If after examining these areas closely nothing seems amiss yet still feel uncertain about whether they could benefit from having supports installed before continuing; consult with an architect who specializes in residential design before proceeding further with any project involving these types of structural changes.

It’s also important when determining whether or not adding extra support would be helpful because sometimes there may actually already exist horizontal supports between two opposing corners which aren’t visible unless one were standing at eye level height above ground level looking toward corner points where partitions meet (for example). In such cases adding another type


By understanding the basics of how to build a header for a load-bearing wall, you can safely and efficiently take on this project. It’s important to know what size header should be used for your particular job, and where it should go. However, once you have that information figured out, the process isn’t too complicated. Simply cut some plywood the right size and attach it over the joists with screws or nails before framing out your new wall from there.

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