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Old 03-26-2020, 06:56 AM   #1
Duckologist
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I need to cut an access hole through an upstairs bedroom drywall that goes into an attic/crawl space to access the inside AC unit. The access panel will need to be approx 32" wide(so remove one stud) and approx. 30" high. I know a header or strong back will need to be installed at the top of the hole to brace up the removed stud. I need some guidance on accomplishing this task and then dressing up the new access as this will be in a bed room. The end goal is to replace the AC unit. Basically the house was built around the old unit. There is access through the bedroom closet but it is to the wrong end of the AC unit. All of the working end, the electronics, fan motor etc etc is on the end where the new hole needs to be. I am not finding any decent resources on you tube but I'm not sure I'm searching correctly.
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:17 AM   #2
abilliott
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Do you have the room to make it a door? You can get pre-hung doors and install one for access, a door company will even make you a custom "short" door if you needed one shorter as well. If it were me, I would install a door, case it out and install a handle on it.

You have the header idea right, you will just need to add some studs UNDER the header so that the header sits on top of them, not just an added piece of wood spanning in between the existing studs.
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:47 AM   #3
Duckologist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abilliott View Post

You have the header idea right, you will just need to add some studs UNDER the header so that the header sits on top of them, not just an added piece of wood spanning in between the existing studs.
My thought was to scab a piece of 2x4 to the studs on each side to support the ends of the header?
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:51 AM   #4
Dusty Britches
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abilliott View Post
Do you have the room to make it a door? You can get pre-hung doors and install one for access, a door company will even make you a custom "short" door if you needed one shorter as well. If it were me, I would install a door, case it out and install a handle on it.

You have the header idea right, you will just need to add some studs UNDER the header so that the header sits on top of them, not just an added piece of wood spanning in between the existing studs.
The door is the way to go.
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:56 AM   #5
Scubasteveo
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Cut in the header to the next two studs, run jack studs down to the floor from the bottom of the header. Then put your sill plate in and then all of the cripple studs from the sill down to the floor. They make access panels that have a drywall ring around them.

Tons of options here. https://www.bestaccessdoors.com/drywall-access-panels/

If you google window opening framing it will give you the general idea of what you need to do. Most examples will be for exterior applications, but the principle is the same, just not as heavy duty, unless the wall is load bearing. If it is then follow the framing design shown for exterior walls.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:00 AM   #6
Duckologist
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Originally Posted by Scubasteveo View Post
Cut in the header to the next two studs, run jack studs down to the floor from the bottom of the header. Then put your sill plate in and then all of the cripple studs from the sill down to the floor. They make access panels that have a drywall ring around them.

Tons of options here. https://www.bestaccessdoors.com/drywall-access-panels/

If you google window opening framing it will give you the general idea of what you need to do. Most examples will be for exterior applications, but the principle is the same, just not as heavy duty, unless the wall is load bearing. If it is then follow the framing design shown for exterior walls.
This hole will go down to the floor plate so in that case I wouldn't need a sill plate correct?
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:27 AM   #7
Walker
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If its a non supporting wall you dont need a header.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:30 AM   #8
Chootem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckologist View Post
This hole will go down to the floor plate so in that case I wouldn't need a sill plate correct?
Correct
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:32 AM   #9
Chootem
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Get a tiny drillbit and drill some test holes at the top of the existing wall so you can “feel” around. If it has a double top plate it is a loadbearing wall. In this case you will need a header. If it has a single top plate it is a non-loadbearing wall and you can just frame it out with 2 x 4.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:39 AM   #10
Duckologist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chootem View Post
Get a tiny drillbit and drill some test holes at the top of the existing wall so you can “feel” around. If it has a double top plate it is a loadbearing wall. In this case you will need a header. If it has a single top plate it is a non-loadbearing wall and you can just frame it out with 2 x 4.
I can actually get behind the wall and look. There is an access panel in the closet that goes in there but it's useless for the AC application. I don't thing it's a load bearing wall. It's not even 6 feet tall. The way the roof/ceiling pitches down leaves this a short wall. It's an inside wall leading to attic/crawl space. It is not an outside, roof supporting wall.
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:34 AM   #11
Scubasteveo
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Then you should be fine just framing an opening like a typical interior door. Cut out the studs and throw a 2X4 horizontally in there at the top of your opening. Throw a couple scrap pieces above it on the existing studs and nail or screw it to them.
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