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I'm not sure if enough of the framing has been exposed in these photos to answer this question, but thought I would give it a try. I have more photos I can add, but I can only seem to put one in?

We have one last window to replace in our home, the front room bay window. We would like to make any of these three windows wider if possible, particularly the two smaller side windows.

On the side of every window there is a double set of 2 x 4's.

We are wondering where there is 2 on each side of the small windows and then another two on the side of the large window, can any of those be changed to just one 2x4 so the window could be a bit wider? Or does each one need to be there for strength and support? It doesn't look like there are individual headers above each window.

If you look in the photo showing the exposed framing in the top left corner of the smaller window you can see at the king stud and two jack studs and the large header. That header runs right across the entire set of windows. The house was built 30 years ago if that helps with the answer.

Thanks!

enter image description here

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Based on what I see in the picture offered, yes you can. But more pictures need to be included with the drywall removed over the window and ceiling of the bay to give certainty. –  Jack Jun 18 at 1:50
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Jack: sorry, horrible response. You've just endorsed removing structure. –  The Evil Greebo Jun 18 at 13:00
    
No, just moving over a jack stud. The main header that carries the roof of the main building is concealed in the bulkhead of the bay window, that is the main structure, that is not fiddled with and will not need to be, with the question that is asked. The reason I asked to add more pictures is to see the headers that carry the weight of the very small roof that is over the bay windows. If that header carries over to meet the main header, if so then it is a matter of moving the jack stud (marked with the "X" on a continuous plate) over the 2" or so to get the bigger opening he needs –  Jack Jun 18 at 18:07
    
That is, if the header over the bay windows are sized heavy enough to carry the extra span by moving the jack stud. Again, that is why I asked about the extra pics. The header I expect to see should be above the continuous plate above the windows. –  Jack Jun 18 at 18:11
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2 Answers 2

No, no and again NO. Not the way you suggest it, anyway.

This is an exterior wall. It is therefore a load bearing wall. Those two 2x4s (called jack studs) support the header over the window.

enter image description here

The weight of the rest of the house above the window is protected by the header, which in turn transfers the force to the two jack studs (as in they jack up the house) carry that weight to the underlying structure. If you remove one of the jack studs, too much force may be transferred to the other one, causing it to bow or even possibly fail. Either scenario translates to having weight of the wall above the house coming to rest on the window itself - and that is a BAD THING (TM).

If you wish to restructure for a larger opening properly, you must open the wall up further and relocate the king and jack studs, and install a longer (and possibly wider) header as well. Otherwise you can cause many tens of thousands of dollars of damage to your house.

Do not fiddle lightly with structure.

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I don't think that is the part that the OP is wanting to move. You may be thinking the OP wants to enlarge the main opening the whole bay window is set into. He only wants to open up the RO of both small angled windows, the part that has only a tiny roof over it, at least it should be tiny in all of the bay windows I have seen. BUT the structure over those still need to be exposed to see what can be done. –  Jack Jun 19 at 1:59
    
I think Jack has the right visualization of the structure. What we don't know is what's on top of the bay, outside. –  Chris Cudmore Jun 19 at 2:14
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Since I can't post pictures in comments I will clarify what I think the structure looks like if the walls were opened up, as well as the remedy... That is if the framing is the same as the sketch I have.

Main beam

short rafters

The remedy for a larger RO??

Headers

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DO NOT DO THIS! At least not until we get an exterior picture. At this point, we have no idea what's on top of that window. This answer MAY end up being correct, but it's premature. –  Chris Cudmore Jun 19 at 2:13
    
These remedies are all depending on the exposure of the remaining framing. I thought I was making it pretty clear on all my postings.... –  Jack Jun 19 at 2:21
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