header is made with only four pieces, two studs and two tracks. Another is made with three, two tracks and a stud. The exact method of fabrica- tion of these assemblies is not standardized, but varies from contractor to contractor and even worker to worker.
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with screw heads protruding from them. Bulges in wall surfaces either result in an uneven fi nish or extra remedial work to conceal the unevenness. One solution for the connection issue is a
pre-fabricated clip that is attached to the jamb stud and then receives the header. This approach standardizes the connection. It eliminates incon- sistencies caused by fi eld fabrication—including metal overlapping metal and protruding screw- heads on the wall surface—which improves the fi nish of the wall. It also halves installation labor. In the past, one worker had to hold the header level while another screwed it in place. With a clip system, one worker installs the clips and then snaps the header into place. The clip is gener- ally made as part of a complete, pre-engineered header system.
A three-piece built-up header made from one stud and two tracks.
Built-up fabrication is well established in
A fi ve-piece box header, made from two studs and three pieces of track, attached by screws. This is considered an industry standard built-up header. The internal screws designed to attach the header to the top of the Hollow Metal Frame are often omitted in construction because they are inaccessible.
the industry, even though it causes multiple problems. It incurs high cost at the engineering phase because there are no standards, so rough openings have to be individually designed and detailed. On-site cutting and construction of these labor-intensive assemblies also raise costs, waste material, increase construction-site waste and add job-site safety risks. On-site cutting and construction also create
quality and consistency issues that should be of special concern to design professionals. They tend to lower the consistency, quality and reli- ability of the framing, and can compromise the quality of the drywall fi nish. (For an example of these problems, see sidebar, “Bad Connection.”)
Header Systems Connecting built-up headers to studs can also
A four-piece built-up header, comprising two studs and two tracks, eliminates the middle piece of track from the fi ve-piece structure.
cause aesthetic problems. Metal-over-metal over- laps created by tabs of built-up headers compro- mise wall fi nishes. Interior wall gypsum board or exterior sheathing may not lay fl at over metal tabs
This clip—part of a pre-engineered, code-approved header system—is screwed to the jamb stud. The header is then snapped over it and screwed in place permanent- ly. It eliminates overlapping tabs attached on the wall surface face of the stud. Other header systems mate with their clips in different ways, such as fi tting inside a clip. A clip system makes header installation a one-person job instead of a two-person job.
The reason for building up several pieces of
bent metal into a header is to provide something stronger than a single piece of track to support the wall above the opening. Since bends stiffen the metal against buckling—effectively creat- ing mini beams within the larger planes of the