I'm opening a 6-foot wide opening in a 19-foot section of load bearing wall between two rooms on the main level of two-level-with-basement home. I'll be installing a built-up 4x10 header (using (2) 2x10 boards) with the requisite jack/cripple studs.

My question is how many jack poles I should use to shore up the upper floor's floor joists while I'm installing the header?


1 Answer 1


Each of the two temporary structures (one in each room) will need to mimic the section of wall that is being removed. So if the jack poles are resting on a single bottom-plate and are holding up a double top-plate, then jack poles 16" on center are called for. If something more substantial than the double top plate and single bottom plate are used, then fewer jack poles are required. In the extreme, it'd take only two jack poles placed 6ft apart to hold up their own temporary 4x10 header. The first floor's floor will need similar support in the basement.

I'd build the temporary support structure using lumber that I could use again somewhere else.

All that is assuming the ceiling joists are perpendicular to the wall in question and that the support structures are placed close to the wall in question.

If instead the ceiling joists are parallel to the wall in question, then there must certainly be a 2nd flr wall that is on top of the wall in question, in which case all the temporary support structures will need to be installed up on the second floor.

Personally, though, my choice would be to do it like this, without shoring up ...

0) pick through the pile at the lumber yard for straight 2x10s

1) open the wall on both sides

2) install the king and jack studs

3) notch the top of the studs on one side to let in one 2x10

4) install the that 2x10 onto the jack studs

5) shim between the cut tops of the studs and 2x10

6) cut off the stud ears (produced by the notching) that are on the side

7) nail off the 9" wide rippings of 1/2" plywood filler

8) install the second 2x10 onto the jack studs

9) nail off the header

10) remove the shims

11) remove the old studs

  • Thanks for the answer. I decided to go with a professional carpenter instead of risking destroying my house. I'm glad I did because one thing I hadn't thought about was what the jack studs would rest on. I was planning on them resting directly on the subflooring but he installed additional blocking under the subflooring to the support below, in this case the metal beam that runs the length of the basement. So considering the support in the level below should be added to this answer.
    – Spig
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 16:37
  • 1
    Glad you got er done, and thanks for coming back to report the outcome! Your concern was already in the answer. See the last sentence of the first paragraph. Also, the answer discusses what the jack poles will be resting on. The method outlined in steps 0-11 does not require temporary supports such as jack poles.
    – mike
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 22:25

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