Load Bearing Header Size Chart

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In construction and engineering, load-bearing headers play a crucial role in providing support and transferring loads from above to the foundation. Choosing the right header size is essential for ensuring structural integrity and safety. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive load-bearing header size chart to assist builders, architects, and engineers in making informed decisions.

Factors Affecting Header Size

Several factors influence the appropriate header size, including the span of the opening, the weight of the loads it will bear, and the building code requirements. It’s crucial to consider all these factors to determine the correct header size for a specific application.

Header Size Chart

Here is a load-bearing header size chart that can serve as a reference point:

Opening Span Header Size
Up to 4 feet 2×6
4 to 6 feet 2×8
6 to 8 feet 2×10
8 to 10 feet 2×12
10 to 12 feet 2×14
Above 12 feet Consult Structural Engineer

Understanding the Chart

The chart provides general guidelines for header sizes based on the span of the opening. For example, if the opening span is up to 4 feet, a 2×6 header is recommended. As the span increases, the header size needs to be adjusted accordingly to accommodate the additional load.

Local Building Codes

While the load-bearing header size chart serves as a valuable reference, it’s crucial to consult local building codes and regulations before finalizing any construction plans. Building codes may vary depending on the region, and it’s important to ensure compliance to meet safety standards.

Structural Engineer Consultation

In cases where the opening span exceeds 12 feet, it’s advisable to consult a structural engineer. They have the expertise to determine the appropriate header size, accounting for factors such as the type of load, the building’s structural design, and other specific considerations.


Choosing the correct load-bearing header size is crucial for ensuring the structural integrity and safety of any building or construction project. The load-bearing header size chart provided in this article serves as a valuable reference, but it’s important to consult local building codes and, in some cases, seek the expertise of a structural engineer. By considering all the relevant factors, builders and engineers can make informed decisions and ensure the longevity and stability of their structures.