Window headers, Insulation-live and learn

   / Window headers, Insulation-live and learn #1  


Veteran Member
Feb 21, 2005
Central WI
My first building built in 1997 is a stud wall building with 1x girts run around the inner perimeter, and 2x girts outside. The steel is then screwed down to these girts. When built I asked the builder about benefits of Housewrap and was told not necessary, primarily used with loose fitting vinyl siding. Well, that was bad advice. I recently hired a contractor to remove the steel, add 1.5" stryo between the girts and add the wrap over this. The styro does not seal tight by any means so we still have air movement possible between the inside vapor barrier and the outside air. We also put closures in the ribs at the top of the wall cavity as the ribs were merely chimneys allowing wall air to travel to the attic. The amount of air movement was quite obvious as evindenced by the dust patterns in the fiberglass batts. They were basically air filters.

What really steamed me was the side wall headers. Rather than place the headers between the studs, these jokers nailed them to the outer face like the girts. When quizzed about this the builder first sounded concerned, but then he checked record and found that there were 2) 2x10 headers alloted ofr each opening and said that the way they were installed is ok. What do you think?


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   / Window headers, Insulation-live and learn #2  
I'm not so sure that the header should be nailed to the outside of the frame, I have never seen that. It kind of defeats the structual perpose of the header. I'm only a do it yourselfer, but my Dad is a Union carpenter for 40+years, I'll show him this link to see what he thinks.
   / Window headers, Insulation-live and learn #3  
Headers are designed to transfer the load around an opening, like a window, down to the foundation. The 'headers' in the picture don't do that.
   / Window headers, Insulation-live and learn #4  
</font><font color="blue" class="small">( What really steamed me was the side wall headers. Rather than place the headers between the studs, these jokers nailed them to the outer face like the girts. )</font>

Can't tell from your picture if that wall carries any load. If the trusses bear on top of that wall I'd say this configuration is not adequate. If it doesn't carry any load I'd just write it off as really crappy work and forget it. Unless I don't understand what I'm looking at, the studs being carried by the header don't bear on top of the header at all, they are through nailed against the back of the header. So the nails are transferring all the load in shear to the header.
   / Window headers, Insulation-live and learn #5  
Acceptable, yes. Best way no. Best way is to let in both your top girts into your post and thru bolt them. Second best, is to face mount them and thru bolt them. I like the best way, you just have to fir out the outside top girt to keep the same plane as your skirt board and the intermediate girts. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
   / Window headers, Insulation-live and learn #6  
After looking at your photo, I'm not sure what you've got. It appears to be a gable end wall and not a side wall to me. The trusses are normally designed for clear span. On gable ends tho, you would usually have a double top girt as we call them, and stick build the last truss which in reality would then be rafters. You normally wouldn't be carrying any load in that case above the window except for a few cripple studs. I really can't tell by the photo whats going on. /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
   / Window headers, Insulation-live and learn #7  
And some people wonder why Building Code and building inspectors are popping up all over, to get in our faces when we want to build something. It's builders like these that make it necessary, not even considering some DIY's that don't know what they are doing.
Appears to be pretty pathetic, but structurally may get you by if it is not a support wall for an inside floor. Wish you well getting it fixed. Take plenty of pictures and documentation. This builder is one that needs some publicity. /forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

I am assuming this is a home, not an out-building (and I may be missing the 'building' thing here). /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
   / Window headers, Insulation-live and learn #8  
i've never seen it done like that before, but if there is a load to be carried, i would suggest adding studs directly below the ones on each side of the window. that should carry the load on to the foundation, assuming the foundation is located where i think it is, 5-6 feet below the window. i am also assuming those are at least 2x6's above the window, and they are probably doubled, so you in actually have a 4x12 above the window. i sure hate assuming so much, but i think, even if the headers where not doubled, you would have at least a 2x12 above the window, and it should carry the load:
as for the air infiltration, i would suggest using a house wrap, any time you don't use cellulose or foam insulation.
   / Window headers, Insulation-live and learn
  • Thread Starter
This is a load carrying wall and trusses fall in the center of each window as evidenced by the double stud.

The studs are 2' on center. Trusses are 6' on center. The attached pic has a double stud first stud right of the window, and then falls above the window, 3 bays to left of the afformentioned stud.


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   / Window headers, Insulation-live and learn #10  
That would not pass code where I live. Two 2X10 headers should form a "box" over the window and rest on one stud of a double stud (jack stud and wall stud) on each side of any window or door opening.