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We're remodeling a room with a severely undersized doorway - it is much shorter than the standard 6'8", so much so that I hit my head on the jamb if I don't duck when walking through it.

After demolition, I discovered a "header" (circled in red) with a good amount of empty space between it and the top plate:

False header above door

It seems to just be toenailed into the king studs on the side, and isn't supported by anything except the thin jamb strips. Therefore, I doubt it is doing much in the way of supporting or bracing this wall in any way.

Can I just remove this "header", and move the jamb to the bottom of the top plate? Or do I really need to install a new header+jack studs? This is a single-floor house, and the only load on this wall is (perhaps) the roof above. It seems to me like the doubled-up top plate and king studs are more than enough to support the load.

A bigger picture:

bigger picture

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    I should wait for one of the framing experts, but I am sure you are right that this member is supporting nothing. It doesn't even deserve the term "header". The thinner boards on the sides could also be removed to make the rough opening wider if necessary. What is the distance from the floor to the underside of the top plate? What is the width inside the two 2x_ studs.? What size door do you want to put here? Are these 2x4 or are they 2x6 studs? – Jim Stewart Oct 2 '18 at 18:52
  • @JimStewart looks like floor-top plate is 78", stud-stud is 25.5". I don't really care what size door, as long as it's tall enough. The room will be a laundry room, so I need enough width to get the washer and dryer through the opening. – alexw Oct 2 '18 at 19:00
  • A laundry room door should be at least 30" wide and really 32" wide. It looks like three stud widths of 2x_ lumber on the right could be removed, leaving only the dark colored stud on the right. Along with removing the old door jamb this would gain 5.5 inches. You need to gain at least 6" and more like 8" or 9" to make a rough opening suitable for a 30" or 32" pre-hung door. Framing experts should make comments/give answers. – Jim Stewart Oct 5 '18 at 12:23
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Yes, you can remove that. Its purpose was solely to support drywall and whatever door or trim was installed. It is a header, just not a load-bearing variety. If it was there would be something transferring load from the plate above, and it would be taller.

Modern code aside, you may find that a pre-hung 24" door (should you find one available) slides right in after your rough opening height adjustment. If you can't find one, it's not too difficult to reduce a wider door and jamb.

  • I'll probably make the doorway wider while I'm at it, since I need to get the laundry machines in. Why on earth would someone make a door so short, especially when there is so obviously extra space available above? – alexw Oct 2 '18 at 19:18
  • Darn good question. Maybe they had a door on hand they wished to repurpose. – isherwood Oct 2 '18 at 19:20
  • Quite plausible, actually. Everything in this house seems to be made of leftover scraps from other projects. We even discovered one wall that was composed as a "mosaic" of leftover drywall scraps! – alexw Oct 2 '18 at 19:23
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    @JimStewart that horizontal beam up top is a ceiling joist, not a rafter. – alexw Oct 2 '18 at 19:47
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    I agree with @isherwood it’s not a load bearing header...it’s merely to provide a place to nail off wall finish. – Lee Sam Oct 2 '18 at 20:30

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