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I am planning to remove a portion of a non-bearing wall that separates two rooms, one of which has a vaulted ceiling. I want the horizontal ceiling to continue all the way to the wall in the room with the vaulted ceiling, i.e. I want any required header to be in the ceiling. The span will be about 10 ft.

Although this wall is non-bearing, it does support the "knee wall" between the lower ceiling and the vaulted ceiling.

I was originally prepared to install a double 2x12 header across the span, with king and jack studs on either end. This would be sufficient for a load bearing wall with the same span, so I suspect this is more than required for a non-bearing wall.

One difficulty I'll have with a double 2x header is that this is a 2x3 wall and there is a ceiling joist right against the wall. So in order to double up 2xs, I'd need to shave ~1/2" off of the thickness of one of the boards.

The ceiling joists are 2x6s and are not engineered truss components.

My current plan is to trim the bottoms of the 2x3 studs in the knee wall (above the point where the plaster is removed in the photo below), install a 2x6 + plywood header (single 2x6 sandwiched in plywood to match the thickness of the 2x3 wall), and add king/jack studs at either end.

Is this reasonable?

Photo of framing in existing wall Finished opening

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    The level ceiling is 2x6 joists running parallel to the wall I'm opening up. There is an attic crawl space above that ceiling, but no second floor. The roofline from the vaulted ceiling continues over the attic.
    – Kerry
    May 4, 2022 at 19:15

1 Answer 1

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I'm concerned about relying on essentially a single 2x6 for a 10' span, even with plywood. It's just not tall enough to be rigid. The plywood adds something, but it's not a good header material as half the plies are cross-grain.

I think I'd try to get a 2x8 or 2x10 let into the knee wall, flush on the bottom with the rest of the level ceiling joists. I imagine it looking something like this:

RIGHT END ELEVATION VIEW

                         |    |   
                         |__  |<-- knee wall stud (notched)
                         |  | |
                         |  | |__
                         |  | |  |
     new 2x10 header --->|  | |  |<-- existing ceiling joist
                         |  | |  |
                         |__|_|__|

There are many ways to do those notches, but one quick-n-dirty technique is just to set your circular saw to 1½" depth (or slightly deeper) and run a series of slices across each stud, say every half inch. The remaining stubs will snap right off on the grain.

If they're not already attached, nail the knee wall studs to the adjacent ceiling joist after notching. Be sure everything is flush along the bottom for a good drywall finish and stay away from the ends to prevent splitting.

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