My broad question is what tools/technique to use to remove (in order to replace) load-bearing studs and headers on an existing wall with lap siding nailed into said studs. Any videos or tips are appreciated!

My specifics:

I'm remodeling my bathroom and have a 40"x36" rough window that appears to have insufficient support after removing the interior walls.


I believe I'm supposed to replace this with 2-2x6 top plate, plus new continuous jack studs, keeping the existing king studs and installing a slightly narrower sill plate. This seems fine, but I'm not sure on the mechanics of how to remove the existing structure? The sheathing (around 1x7 wood lap siding) is nailed into each of the studs, which are nailed to one another. Given the continuous top plate and temporary nature of the fix, I think I don't need to build a temporary support wall.

If my framing plan is bad, please let me know, but mine is mostly a question of technique. My plan is roughly:

  1. Remove the window to expose to rough opening.
  2. Use a pry bar and chisel to pull any accessible nail heads.
  3. Use a pry bar to try to tease apart the quasi-jack studs from the king stud and use a reciprocating saw to break the nails.
  4. Try to pull the stud away from the siding, bracing my pry bar with some plywood to avoid putting a hole through my house. As soon as siding nails are accessible, if the stud doesn't pull easily, cut with a multitool.
  5. Use a reciprocating saw to cut the headers and sill plate in half and pry them loose from the studs that I assume are face-nailed in to them.
  6. Use a multitool and plyers/hammer to round/break off broken nails.
  7. Use a hand saw/reciprocating saw to cut the remaining studs to length.

Any tips/tricks I missed, or things I should pay attention to?

I'd like to maintain the existing rough width since I have the replacement window on hand fitting the rough width.

  • 1
    If you are happy with the size of rough opening don’t mess with it. – Kris Jul 23 '18 at 23:02
  • 1
    Are you sure you need to replace the header, top plate and sole plate? Your existing “header” seems to have performed fine in the past. (It’s what we call a “box header”...) – Lee Sam Jul 24 '18 at 1:04
  • Thanks for the feedback. Oh yeah, I'd quite prefer not to rebuild the wall. But at least the structural engineer I brought over and even the plumber pointed out that this would be something I should consider and I'm pulling a construction permit for my bathroom remodel so want to anticipate what the building inspector will fail me on. I don't want to go to the trouble of installing the window in the existing opening and failing inspection on framing, but I can't call the building guy over until the window is installed. Perhaps I could just try installing in existing and begging forgiveness. – Steven Jul 24 '18 at 7:22
  • You may find diy.stackexchange.com/questions/32553/… helpful. I don’t think you need to alter the framing at all to be code compliant. If you were changing to a larger window that would require some modifications. – Kris Jul 24 '18 at 12:18
  • Did anyone notice that almost every stud on the wall is notched out, hard to tell how deep the notches are in the photo but they look deep. – Platinum Goose Jul 24 '18 at 14:43

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