4x12 header or not

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Blog entry by divepro posted 01-09-2013 09:39 AM 2005 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My home is ranch style 32’ wide by 80’ long slab construction. rafter built 4×12 pitch with asfalt shingles, with 2×6 celing joist with 2×6 rafters, the builder used a stiff-back at 8’ center and the load bering wall is at 16’. i would like to remove the load berring wall between the kitchen and living room. if i were to do this what is my best course of action? i have been in construction for 20 years but im questing the ability for a 4×12x15’6” will carry the span.

2 comments so far

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

332 posts in 2073 days

#1 posted 01-09-2013 10:18 AM

I had this problem a few years ago and went through the options – LVL, steel, so on. What I discovered is that to be sure it was strong enough (and not coincidentally meet building code) some engineering analysis is needed and the LVL guys have some very useful tables to do the calculation without hiring a structural engineer or architect. They sell more beams by helping you out. It is a fairly simple matter to substitute steel for LVL or scale for local building code differences once you have a basic specification worked out. For me the LVL was best compromise of cost / convenience. It spanned 24 foot garage and met attic storage load codes with at 6×12 glue lam. I framed it so it stuck up into the attic space and left perfectly flat unsupported ceiling below 24×24. If you have trouble with reading the sizing charts the guys at the lumber yard would probably help you out and the town building inspectors are quite up on this and may be willing to answer quick, educated question – do your homework first.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

View ksSlim's profile


1276 posts in 2914 days

#2 posted 01-09-2013 11:43 AM

+1 on what Dave said. Contractors desk at your building center have charts to assist homeowners DIY.
I use a lot of LVL for the type of mod you’re thinking about.
Steel works OK but is not as easy to adhere to.

edit to add
web site has many different calculators for engineering math.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

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