I'm hoping to enlarge a window in an exterior wall on my house. It's a gable end wall on the 1st floor of a 1.5 story house (attic space above). The joists above and below the room (and trusses of the roof) run parallel to the exterior wall (see photo below, red is new rough opening, blue are the floor joists, black is the framing).

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The 38" existing rough opening for the window will be expanded to about 90".

I'm planning to:

  • Remove the moulding
  • Cut out the drywall
  • Remove the existing window and window framing
  • Cut the center out of the existing studs that are in the way (leaving some at the top and bottom for crippler studs)
  • Add in jack studs next to existing studs on the outside of the R.O.
  • Add my header (2x6's) and sill
  • Cut out exterior wall
  • Install new window

My first question is: does that sound about right?

Second, I'm wondering if I need to build a temporary wall to hold the weight of the house while the existing window faming is removed. It's a gable end wall so not sure it's carrying much weight. But if I do need a temporary wall, how would I build it? (It seems like building it parallel to the wall would just transfer the weight onto a single joist in above / below as it'd be parallel to the joists. So would I build 2 temp walls perpendicular to the wall, build them at an angle, other options?)

I don't have much experience with this all, so sorry if I made any mistakes. Thanks!

2 Answers 2


That sounds about right, except that 2x6 isn't adequate for a span of over seven feet. Even though it's not strictly load-bearing, it needs to robustly withstand sag so as not to damage the window. 2x8 is more appropriate, and 2x10 is better. If nothing else it gives more lateral stability.

You didn't explicitly mention king studs (though they're in your drawing), so I'll mention their importance. They provide critical rigidity between the top and bottom wall plates for the header. Don't be afraid to double them for that long span. Face nail into the header before adding second ones.

Whether you need a temporary wall partly depends on the nuances of the wall and roof system above:

  • What type of sheathing is on the wall? This can provide adequate shear support.
  • Is there any center bearing for the roof, such as a ridge beam? I think I'm seeing a hand-framed roof and not manufactured trusses.
  • Is there anything above such as a heavy window?

I would analyze the situation, and if none of those factors seem concerning I'd take the existing window framing out and assess settling. Take an initial measurement to the wall top plate and see if anything moves as you remove studs. If nothing is happening, carry on. Try to minimize human activity above. It should be fine. If you need to pause the project for more than say overnight, stick a couple temporary studs in there.

If anything does settle and you need to get it back in place, a common screw or bottle jack should do, or you may be able to bash a leg in to wedge it back up.


I had a contractor do this same setup in my place and he did not construct a temporary bracing wall. I dont even know how you could build one even if you wanted to given that all the beams are running pararell to the wall you want are cutting into

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