NetZero Home Building: Engineered Headers

Posted by Tim Biebel on Aug 14, 2017 2:33:00 PM

Parallam PSL beams are quick to install and strong.


For the window and door headers, we used 3 ½-in.-thick Weyerhaeuser Parallam PSL beams. Using Parallam PSL speeds up the framing process as they don’t require any assembly, such as sandwiching a piece of ½ in. plywood between two pieces of dimensional lumber would. Cut them and nail and screw them into place.



Cut and install. The 3 1/2-in.-thick beams are the same thickness as the 2×4 wall; no need to build up headers.

Although the exterior 2×4 wall provides the support for the roof system, the load is shared somewhat with the interior 2×4 wall in the assembly. Because of that we opted to use Parallams on the interior wall openings as well as the exterior wall openings. In addition, the interior wall carries the floor system, so a little extra header strength doesn’t hurt.

There is more than 4 in. of space between the interior and exterior headers, which allows for an ample thermal break. I’ll detail how we insulate between the headers in an upcoming post.


This article first appeared on by Tim Biebel.


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Tim Biebel

by Tim Biebel

Tim Biebel is Vice President of Prudent Living, a leading net zero and energy efficiency building company located in Windsor, VT.




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