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We hired a local bathroom renovation company to redo our upstairs bathroom. As part of the project we are having them frame out and install a new window in the back wall which is an exterior facing wall.
Here are some before and after shots:

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I just got home and reviewing their framing it seems like a pretty poor job from what I know about framing windows. They put a faux-header and footer in for the window and some jack studs, but it seems like it's only really functionally supported on the left side!! This is because on the right side this contractor decided to simply screw the header and footer horizontally into the adjacent stud. So by my logic, any weight coming down on that side of the window header is only being supported by the strength of the horizontal construction screws. I added a crude mockup I did of how they framed the new window opening:

crude mockup of framing The carpenter who did this thought it was fine of course, but I'm 99% sure this is a crappy framing job. But since we're already this far, I'm willing to live with it if it realistically poses little to no risk to our house so I'm reaching out on reddit to get a gauge of what people think in terms of risk: This is an exterior wall running parallel with the ceiling joists, I believe it's 2x6 studs, and the only thing above it is an empty attic space. So, although I'm convinced this is a poor framing job, my gut says it's still probably "strong enough" and realistically going to hold up the wall no differently than before.

Let me know what you guys think: my anxiety about this is pretty high so some reassurance that my assessment of the unfortunate situation isn't way off would be nice.

Happy to answer any other questions!

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  • Does your local building department require a permit for this work. If so the inspector should know/see it on their inspection. Myself I would use full jack studs and a double header on top just to be safe, but I am not an engineer or builder, so over building is in my best interest.
    – crip659
    Jul 13, 2023 at 14:24
  • If it is a bearing wall there are real issues. Is the wall it is in, a gable end or is the overhang of the roof along the wall with the window? Otherwise, yes it is not a typical framed rough opening there is jack studs supporting the right side as well.
    – Jack
    Jul 13, 2023 at 14:26
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    wow....that's a red flag against them. I guess it now depends on how much you care to argue.
    – RMDman
    Jul 13, 2023 at 14:45
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    Yeah, I just talked to them and said we are going to ask them to pause their work and get this job properly permitted. It's going to take longer but the fact they are trying to avoid inspectors is making us nervous it's a shotty rush job. I will post back here hopefully in a few weeks when the rough-in inspection is done, I'm extremely curious to hear what the local building inspector is going to say when he sees this framing and wouldn't be surprised if he makes them redo it.
    – givitumee
    Jul 13, 2023 at 15:14
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    Should also find out if they have insurance if something happens. Good chance your own home insurance can be denied for non permitted work. Have everything in writing/recorded.
    – crip659
    Jul 13, 2023 at 16:54

1 Answer 1

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Yes, this is wrong. You are missing the jack studs on the right. It's about $6 worth of lumber, so I can't imagine a good reason to skip it other than being in a hurry.

Having said that, it's not the end of the world. It is a small window, and even though the 'header' is only one 2x4 instead of 2, the weight from that single missing stud is easily transferred by that horizontal 2x4. The worst that could happen is that the horizontal 2x4 will bend and push against the window. But all of this framing is also being held in place by the sheathing, so the chances of that happening are null.

The excuse about not getting a permit because it "delays things" is pure BS. All framing work requires a permit. If they don't get a permit, they are doing illegal work. When it's time to sell the house, buyers can see you did not pull a permit and suspect, with reason, that it's shoddy work. So spend the extra $100 on the permit, and get the inspector to come see the work. I can understand not wanting to pull a permit when a homeowner doing their own work, but if you are paying someone else to do it, the only one benefiting from the lack of permits is the contractor.

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  • Got the building permit - now I spoke up about this to the contractor saying the framing wasn't done correctly based on the answers to this questions here and I said I don't think it is going to pass inspection, but he says it "doesn't seem to be incorrect to anyone and it most importantly does not violate any building rules". Which one of us is right? Is he just thinking this is a non-loadbearing wall since it's a gable end?
    – givitumee
    Jul 17, 2023 at 14:35
  • As to whether it will pass inspection: ask your Local Authority Having Jurisdiction, aka the inspector's office. If it doesn't, it's on the contractor to fix it.
    – keshlam
    Jul 17, 2023 at 14:35
  • I asked about that if the framing will be inspected since they already concealed it with insulation and plastic and he said "their main priority will be Taking a look for Fire caulking, insulation and metal plating done rather than the framing".
    – givitumee
    Jul 17, 2023 at 14:37
  • Sure, then tell the contractor that you will let the inspector be the one to say that they don't care about framing. All inspectors I know can see through clear plastic sheets, and the insulation goes between the studs, so it does not fully hide the framing. But as I wrote earlier, even though it's missing a jack stud, it's not like your house will collapse, so the inspector might OK it. And now that you had it inspected, when you go on to sell the house, you have some paperwork.
    – Cheery
    Jul 17, 2023 at 18:46

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