I would appreciate some help with a problem I'm having. Here's what my layout looks like:

I have 2x8 floor joists spaced 16" on center under the main floor of my 2 story home. There's an area with a basement window that sits at the same height as the joists. The 2 joists in this area were cut and tied into a header made up of 2 sistered 2x8s which then forms a box around the window. The span of the header and box is less than 4ft wide.

Now here's the problem:

We had an overzealous AV installer running cable in the basement and basically he drilled a 7/8" hole through the 2 sistered 2x8 (that form the header end of the box). The bottom of the hole is 1 1/8" from the bottom edge of the 2x8s. Obviously less than the 2" required by code. The hole is located about 4 1/2" from one end of the header (ie where it ties to the supporting joist).

What I'm trying to determine at this point is whether I need to rip out the drywall and try to build in some additional support. At 7/8" it's a not a very large hole, but I worry about the 1 1/8" from the edge and the fact that the load from two joists are tying into this header.

No sagging or any other issues at this point as this just happened yesterday.

Do you guys think I'm going to have issues with this?

I've included a sketch of what that side of the house looks like from the perspective of looking up at the floor joists from the basement:

Joist Sketch


  • A picture would make your post clearer. You already know it is a code violation, you probably know this too; that there is a reason for building codes, and violations create unsafe conditions (not a revenue stream for inspectors or the government). Was the AV installer contracted by you or friend/family? If you contracted them; contact that company and have them remedy the situation for you. Friend or Family? Well how much is your friend or family worth :-) kidding.The 2 inch rule allows for the stress to be managed; what can end up happening is the 1 inch area can become overloaded. – Ken Jan 8 '18 at 6:26
  • Thanks for the comment Ken, I've edited my original post to include a sketch of the layout with measurements. – SBC Jan 8 '18 at 13:09
  • 2
    This isn't a concern unless the header already had structural issues, say from extraordinarily large knots or other flaws. It's near the end of the header, and the header has plenty of capacity designed into it. Codes are also written with safety buffers built in. Code violations may create unsafe conditions. It's unlikely that this one will. – isherwood Jan 8 '18 at 15:13

You say, “less than 4’ wide.” Therefore, only 2 joists At 16” oc could be supported by the header.

Generally, short spans are limited by shear, not bending. Your “box header” will support about 800 - 1200 lbs. per linear foot, depending on the species, grade, etc. of the wood. Can you fill in some info?

You say, “two story home.” What rests on that bearing wall and header? (1 floor, 2 floors, 2 floors and a roof?) What is the span of the joists that rest on the header?

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks Lee, I've added a sketch to my original post with measurements which should make things a bit clearer. As far as load, the joists run under part of my living room. My couch sits right over where the I-beam runs and that would be the area of the room that has the most load. Directly above the window in the sketch is my TV (wall mounted) so that side of the joists doesn't get much foot traffic. – SBC Jan 8 '18 at 13:17
  • I’m confused. Is the sketch looking at the wall or is it in Plan? If the load is coming from above, where is the header for the window? Is the header with the drilled holes UNDER the window? Hmmm...now there’s a steel beam? – Lee Sam Jan 8 '18 at 16:34
  • The sketch is basically looking up at the floor joists from the basement. I'm sure the window has some sort of header, but as I mentioned the window is at the same height as the joists, so the floor joists don't tie into the window's header at all they basically box around the window. The I beam runs down the center of the house and sits on multiple posts. One side of all the floor joists is supported by the I beam and the other side by the foundation. I'm adding a pic of the window for further clarity. – SBC Jan 8 '18 at 17:06
  • So the “Load” on the double 2x8’s is from the 2-2x8’s. Based on Code required loading of 40 lbs. per square foot live load (people load) plus 15 lbs. per square foot dead load (flooring, sheathing, carpet, etc.) you have a maximum load of 250 lbs. per linear foot on the double 2x8 header, which is well below the 800-1200 lbs. per linear foot allowed (with the 7/8” hole). I think you’re okay. – Lee Sam Jan 9 '18 at 1:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.