How to Reinforce a Garage Door Header
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Leonard in South Carolina on the line who’s doing a roofing addition to the garage. What can we do for you?
LEONARD: I’m coming up with 10-foot studs, 16 inches on center. I’m putting a 10-foot wide, roll-up aluminum door. The first question is: if I breach this 10-foot opening with two 12-foot 2x8s, should I put – do I have to put a flinch plate between them or can I put ½-inch plywood?
TOM: That sounds like a pretty small header for a 10-foot-wide door; 2x8s sound really thin. In terms of do you need a flinch plate or not – and for those that are unaware what a flinch plate is – so a flinch plate is like a metal – a thick piece of metal. It’s about a ½-inch thick. It’s the same width as the 2×8, 2×10 – or I should say the same height as it. So if it was a 2×10, it would be 9½ inches.
And it’s designed to go in between the wood beams, so you basically make a sandwich out of the headers, plus the flinch plate is in the middle of it. And it’s kind of like having a wood I-beam, if you can imagine that. It’s a combination of wood and steel and really stiffens that up.
But I would think that a 2×8, which is only 7½ inches tall – or it’s a 10-foot span? Is that what you said?
LEONARD: Yes, I’m going to span 12 feet to make sure I move the studs a good ways.
TOM: Oh, boy. Twelve feet? Yeah, there’s no way you’re going to do that with 2×8, even if it’s just a gable wall. I’d probably use at least a 2×12 for that. But I tell you what, what don’t you – you’re going to have this inspected by the local code-enforcement folks?
LEONARD: I’m so far out in the country, I don’t even know if they know I’m alive.
TOM: They’re not – nobody alive that’s going to be coming to that?
LESLIE: “I’m not asking anybody.”
TOM: Alright. Don’t ask, don’t tell, huh? Easier to apologize than to ask permission? You’re sort or proceeding along those lines?
LEONARD: Well, we’re not going to have any – no electricity, no water. It’s just an addition room.
TOM: Alright. So I would – if I was – it’s just an addition but it’s a garage, right?
LEONARD: Yes, it – you have three sides to an existing garage.
TOM: This door is going to be a big roll-up door? I would use at least a 2×12.
LEONARD: OK. Yes, sir. I certainly appreciate your help.
TOM: Now make sure you run that design by your wife now, too, Leonard. Alright?
LEONARD: Actually, she designed it.
TOM: Alright. As long as she’s happy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.