I recently posted asking whether my closet wall was load-bearing... but I've since determined it is. Prior to wall demo, had I checked the attic and crawl space and the wall appeared to be non-load bearing. But it wasn’t until I removed the drywall, saw what looked like joists meeting above the top plate (2x4) and header, and went back to the attic and was able to pinpoint the wall in question (by seeing light coming through the gaps). The top plate not only supports perpendicular joists, it also supports at least one angled roof support. From this, it must be load-bearing (?!?).

Based on that, I know I can't remove the wall and plan to instead lengthen the header. The space is 10’ wall to wall. The existing header is 4”x12”x64", and there is a gap between the header and the single jack stud on each side (one of the reasons I thought it wasn't load bearing).

From what I can gather online, I need to remove all except the top plate and bottom plates. Then for that 10-foot space I need a 4"x12" header (same as now, but longer) with anywhere from 1-2 king studs and 2-3 jack studs per side for support. Can anyone help me determine how many king and jack studs are necessary?

If the answer is "get a structural engineer", then that's fine -- I plan to do so! Hoping to educate myself before then. Thanks for the help!

wall before demo after demo gap between header and jack stud (same on other side) my first clue that the top plate & header was load-bearing -- joists run perpendicular and meet on the top plate view from the attic, looking down. Rows of paired 2x4 and 2x6 joists meet at the top plate. The stud with the three nails at the bottom is the angled roof support shown in the next photo at least one roof support rests on the top plate, next to where the 2x4 and 2x6 meet.

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    I wouldnt be too worried. There is not a lot of weight being supported there. Its a single 2x4 holding up a single 2x6 beam with splices mid span. Which was hold up a slate roof at one point but not now. Now You want to put a 4x12 beam with up to 8 2x4s. That would be for a header holding the whole roof not a midspan support. Lumber is cheap so do what makes you feel comfortable but don't over complicate it or sacrifice your design for that beam. 2x4 wall is plenty.
    – justin j
    May 9, 2023 at 0:14
  • The single 2x4 is holding up a 2x6 going one way, and a 2x4 going the other, and it appears there are multiple sets like this above the header. But as you said, I don’t suspect it carries much weight. Less worried about design — the difference in width is minor between 3, 4 or 5 2x4s protruding from the wall to support the header — just want to make sure it’s supportive enough. I think I’ll go with two kings and two jacks.
    – Travis
    May 11, 2023 at 4:49

1 Answer 1


Engineers are always useful, but in this case, the IRC says 2 jacks and 3 kings at each end.

IRC 2018 table

Admittedly, the 3 king studs sounds like a lot (it's mostly for deflection, which probably doesn’t apply that much in this setting), but lumber is relatively cheap. If your design balks at having 3 kings, I imagine an engineer could optimize that.

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    Lumber is much cheaper than it was 2 years ago. Even then, though, it was cheaper than having the roof collapse. +1
    – FreeMan
    May 8, 2023 at 16:54
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    The cost is minimal, $5 per 2x4, so I’m not worried there. I’m thinking 2 kings and 2 jacks, but adding an extra king won’t kill the design. There will be slim walls on each side of the header regardless, whether they’re the width of 4 or 5 2x4s makes little difference.
    – Travis
    May 11, 2023 at 4:52

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