This is a smaller load-bearing wall that we want to create a kitchen passthrough in. The walls are 12' on the dining room side and 8' on the kitchen side. The house is a single-story with a concrete foundation and was built in the late 1970s.

The stacked 2x4s threw me. Should I place a header and the jack studs for the opening? Or can I roll with it like it is - without the header? Wall Header

passthrough opening

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    – isherwood
    Mar 1, 2021 at 16:45
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    Is the spacing between the studs 16" or 24"? How wide is the passthrough to be? What are all the dimensions of the pass-through and how far from the floor will the bottom be? Mar 1, 2021 at 17:10
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    The spacing between studs is 16". The passthrough will be 62". The height from floor to bottom of the passthrough is 42". Mar 1, 2021 at 17:24
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    So 62" wide, but how tall will the opening of the pass-through? What will be the distance from the top of the pass-through to the bottom of the double top plate? Mar 1, 2021 at 20:39

1 Answer 1


You absolutely need a header. From what I see there, doubled 2x10s should do.

The wall was apparently built like that because 12' studs were expensive or unavailable, so they built a standard-height wall and then extended it. That probably wouldn't fly with modern code due to the effective hinge point in the load transfer path.

None of that changes the fact that you need to support the framing above the opening as normal. In your situation I'd lay the header in above the existing double plates, then fill down below them to your opening height. This approach retains the lateral integrity of the wall as much as possible.

           |  |            |  |             |  |<-- pin studs (existing, shortened)
   |                                                      | 
   |                header                                | 
_____________________________________________________________ <-- double plate
_____________________________________________________________ <-- top plate
    |  |  |________________________________________|  |  |
    |  |  |           ^-- filler block             |  |  |
    |  |  |                                        |  |  | <-- king stud
    |  |  | <-- trimmer studs -------------------> |  |  |

Be sure to temporarily support the framing above. There are a few good posts on that here if you need advice.

  • Thanks! The height of the opening is 92". Mar 1, 2021 at 16:45
  • I have no experience with framing design, but if I wanted to cut this pass-through I would want to put the header below the double top plate, if that gave acceptable height. It looks to me that this would be much easier and the insulation above could retained. Mar 1, 2021 at 20:57
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    If the opening is at 92", and if the studs are standard pre-cut length (92-5/8"), the underside of those plates is at 94-1/8". So, there isn't room below.
    – isherwood
    Mar 1, 2021 at 20:59
  • I misspoke, the rough opening is 92" from the bottom of the floor. Our plan for the opening is 52"H by 62"L (the cut opening without the jack studs). We're doing the 10" header, so the opening should be approx. 42"H x 60"L. Mar 1, 2021 at 21:44
  • I'd need to see a drawing to really get this. You don't plan to cut the double top plate, right? Mar 1, 2021 at 21:49

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