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I'm finishing my basement, and am framing in a room. I have 81.5" of ceiling clearance to the ceiling joists, and am in the process of framing in a door for a bedroom. My question is, since this wall is not load bearing, is it required to have double studs, as there's no structural header to hold up. In this case, due to clearance issues, the header is also the top-plate of the wall.

I've attached a rough picture to give you an idea of what I'm planning on doing.

As you can see, the top plate extends the full length of the wall. There is no room to install an additional plate as a header, the top plate will serve this function. Since there's no normal header to hold up, is a jack stud needed, or no? Is it ideal to provide support in the wall, or just not necessary?

Rough MS Paint drawing of my plan

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This is perfectly fine. There is in fact a whole building science based protocol for not using double top plates or double studs even on structural walls. If the name comes back to me I'll provide a link to it.

Advanced Framing. Developed 40+ years ago and still not accepted by half the carpenters who learned from daddy who learned from daddy who...learned from the guy who's daddy thought he was nuts to move out of a perfectly nice cave.

The only possible benefit of a double stud in this application would be if you wanted to use 3-1/2" hinge screws. Sections of 2x4 scrap scabbed onto the stud in the right places would to that just as well.

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Just to add what Ecnerwal is saying - and he is 100% correct - I often use pocket doors in basements with lower clearance. You can screw pocket door frame directly to the joists and save and inch or two.

  • Pocket door isn't a consideration for me. I plan on doing that for the furnace room, but just not a bedroom. Just personal preference – amace Dec 2 '14 at 22:20
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Please keep in mind that headers are made to absorb some of the twist and vibration when someone decides a door needs to be slammed, leaned against to keep out little/big brother/sister, and other abuse.

I would build as you suggested, and if it becomes a wall cracking/splitting issue near the door frame, then make a header with a double 2x4 or 2x6 instead of 2x12 (and obviously cut down the door to fit to the new size.)

I also highly recommend screws not nails for this situation. I've seen "decorative walls" fall over from too much "action." Good luck with mounting to the floor!

  • That is true and why I suggested a pocket door. – DMoore Dec 2 '14 at 18:44
  • I think I'll go ahead with my original plan, and if it does become an issue, I'll look into doubling up the top plate as a header. I only use screws, never nails. They just hold a lot better. (At least in my mind anyway). Nails will definitely be faster, but I've got a good impact driver. – amace Dec 2 '14 at 22:25
  • Just side note: Do not use deck screws to hold these walls to joists - they're unthreaded at the top to give the boards some play when exposed to moisture, which would make your walls a bit "wibbly." Also: Given your drawing, there doesn't appear to be any room for a pocket door. – Bee Kay Dec 17 '14 at 19:10

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