What Is A Door Header? What Are Headers Made Of?

What Is A Door Header? What Are Headers Made Of?

What Is A Door Header?

A header is a structural component that is installed over an opening, such as a window or door, to distribute the weight placed on top of it to the sides.

The header is supported by framing members called king and jack studs, which transfer the load to the foundation.

Headers are only necessary in load-bearing walls where weight will be placed above the opening.

The size of the header is determined by the length of the opening and the load it will support, as well as the size of the supporting king and jack studs.

What Are Headers Made Of?

Headers, which are a type of beam used to span a distance and carry a load, can be made from various materials such as wood, steel, engineered wood, and masonry.

It’s important to properly size the beams to ensure they are strong enough to do their job. In residential construction, headers are typically made from traditional or engineered lumber and are commonly found above windows and doors.

Steel beams are not as common, but may be used in modern homes with large spans or heavy loads.

Masonry beams, made of concrete with steel reinforcement, are also not as common in residential construction, but can be used in the form of a lintel.

How To Build A Header?

Building a wooden header is a straightforward process. It can be made from either engineered or standard lumber, with the most common size being a double 2×10 or double 2×12.

To construct the header, two pieces of lumber are nailed together, with an optional sheet of plywood in between for added strength.

Engineered beams can also be used and can be ordered to the desired thickness or assembled like traditional lumber.

Once the header is in place, it is supported by jack studs, with the number determined by the architect or engineer.

Jack studs are installed under the header to transfer weight to the wall plate and foundation, while king studs are installed alongside to provide stability to the wall opening.

Cripple studs may also be used if there is space between the beam and top plate. Lumber can be added on top or below the beam for added thickness, but this is used for drywall or trim and not for structural support.

The size and nailing schedule for the lumber should be detailed in the building plans. In some cases, gluing the lumber together may also be required.

Does A Doorway Need A Header?

The top header of exterior door frames must be strong enough to support the weight, while interior doors require a top header but it can be made of lighter materials, such as 2-by-4 inch lumber used for wall studs.

What’s The Difference Between A Header And A Beam?

A header is a specific type of beam that is used above wall openings. While it is technically the same as a beam, it is referred to by a different name due to its specific usage.

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