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Community and Q&A

Insulating Headers

Philip Thompson | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

My builder was suppose to place rigid foam insulation between the headers. They put up a lot resistance to it, and I relented on the condition that they place the foam on the inside, so they left an 1″ on the inside of each header. I really regret doing this now, but it is done. I am planning to use 1″ of foil back Polyisocyanurate.. It is pretty dense and sturdy. However, I am a little worried about hanging drapes above the windows because I do not know how the rigid foam will hold up.

Any suggestions?

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  1. Riversong | | #1

    If there is no window casing to attach to, Install the drape hangers in the king studs.

    Alternatively, you can install a decorative valance board over the windows and attach hangers to that.

  2. Hunter Dendy | | #2

    It's not ideal, but if you feel you need a center rod bracket you could interrupt the rigid foam and put a 2x2 vertical in the middle of the header as a nailer. It's not as good as continuous thermal break, but better than none.
    If you are having window casing, you'll need to figure out how it will fasten to the wall at the head- and make sure that's communicated to the trim carpenter, otherwise they'll try to nail through the gyp bd with standard finish nails which won't hold in the foam.

  3. Michael Chandler | | #3

    We do it that way all the time.

    Assuming you have 3/4" jamb extensions 1/2" from the RO you have nailing from the reveal to 2 3/8" in from the edge of the trim, easily adequate for up to 3 1/2" casing and most flood using back band would pin it to the edge of the casing anyway so you are good so long as you set your brackets on the casing or, as we generally see, on the inside of the jamb extensions.

    As we say here in North Carolina "no worries mon".

  4. Riversong | | #4

    Interrupting that little bit of foam won't make any noticeable difference. It sounds as if the carpenters used a triple 2x header in a 2x6 wall (4.5" of solid wood, leaving 1" to the interior). A triple header sandwiched between 2 king studs and supported by 2 jack studs, with possibly a double sill and additional sill jacks and maybe that next o.c. stud next to the whole enchilada - creates so much thermal bridging that 1" of foam over just the header is virtually worthless.

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