exterior wall

The walkout basement has 2x6 walls, 9' tall with double top plate, and there are 2 floors above it. There is an 11' wide steel header above a large, folding patio door on the exterior wall in question. There are 2 bays on either side of the patio door that are 23"wide.

I want to add as wide a window I can put in each of those bays that flank the patio door.

Do I need to add jack studs and a header to these bays that will take up an extra 3" of potential window width?

If so, what header size?

Colorado (roof and ground snow loads: 30 psf)

This is what this wall looked like as originally built. Very little sheeting. Essentially I'm just replacing windows with a door and windows. Wall as originally built


  • 1
    The wall sheathing on that exterior wall is already looking pretty sparse. Such sheathing tends to provide the lateral system of homes. Are you sure that its okay to cut away that sheathing?
    – popham
    Commented Oct 7, 2023 at 23:55
  • @popham I added a pic of how the wall was originally built. There was very little sheeting before.
    – crichavin
    Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 15:33
  • codes.iccsafe.org/content/IRC2015/… says that you should have studs at 16" centers. Your header looks engineered, so if an engineer spec'ed that 24" stud spacing, then you still need no header. If that 24" stud spacing arose outside of an engineer or qualified architect's authority, then you do need a header and your house's floor-plan becomes relevant. The table for this latter case is at codes.iccsafe.org/content/IRC2015/….
    – popham
    Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 18:58
  • @popham thank you so much for that information. That is exactly what I was looking for. The engineer did not do any design related to these remaining gaps on either side, so 16" OC is what I need unfortunately. If you post this as an answer, I will accept. Thanks again!
    – crichavin
    Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 15:30

1 Answer 1


A header's purpose is to carry loads instead of wall studs. Since you're not displacing any studs, you need no header. No header? Then no jack studs.

  • I just added what the wall was like as originally built. I did remove existing headers for those original windows that existed in the space in question.
    – crichavin
    Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 15:35

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