I am working on a home addition and I plan to change an existing window into a doorway. The window currently has a 2x8 header and a small cripple wall below the header to frame the window.

I need to add a new header to support the load of a new beam that's been installed, so my question is rather than remove the old 2x8 header, can I just place my new LVL header below the existing header? I have plenty of room in both height and width so it's not a problem, I'm just not sure if I can edge stack headers or not.

My guess is it will be ok as long as I toenail the old and new headers together and perhaps place some straps or CDX over the face of both headers to prevent twisting. The house is 20+ years old so I'm not worried about the dimensional lumber of the header shrinking vs. the LVL.

Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.



Image of existing and proposed framing..

  • 1
    This would probably be acceptable if you were not installing the new beam. But since The end of your new beam is not over a jack studs or a post support you’re going to need an engineer to determine whether or not it is acceptable.
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 19:42

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can stack headers like that when you're not attempting to combine them to meet loading requirements. Here we assume that the new LVL is adequate by itself.

Crush probably isn't a concern unless there are more than two stories above the beam, and strapping probably isn't necessary if there are other means of laterally fixing the components (end nailing or toenailing).

All that said, there may be factors I can't see from my house. What you've shown us looks fine.

By the way, the new king studs aren't necessary. Eliminate them if you'd like to maximize rough opening width under the new beam.

  • 1
    Thanks for the input. You are correct that the new LVL is sized to take the load on it's own. I was merely trying to avoid the work of digging out the old header since leaving it seemed to do no harm. The new beam (green box) is actually part of the truss system for the addition and there is nothing but roofing members above all of this so I think I'm good to go.
    – rdautel
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 20:32

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