I would like to move the opening in a load bearing wall by 20 ". Is it possible to leave the existing header in and extend it by 20" to allow for the shift in location of the opening. The open will remain at 36", just over by 20". What all is involved?
The headers have to be one continuous piece. Put a temp brace in place close to the header that you are removing. This will carry the load temporarily for the piece that you are replacing. Once your new header is in place, you can take down the temporary support.
Chuck is correct in that the new header must extend the entire length. In addition there are a number of very other important items that must also be considered.
1) the new header should have min of 6" bearing on the new support posts.
2) the new support posts will be distributing the load to a new bearing point. These new posts must be over structure. This structure can be existing or created to carry the new loads.
3) While I am not sure exactly what type of structure the existing wall is carrying, but you must make sure you support this weight when making the new opening larger. In most cases the wall is carrying overlapping floor joists and maybe a wall above. Therefore temporary structure must be erected on each side of the existing wall to remove the load of wall.
I know this is a lot of information and may not be clear. I would suggest you post your project and have the work undertaken by someone with experience in removing structural walls..
Kingsway Construction Inc
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