I'm curious about a structural issue that's got me baffled. We have an 8 foot wide Arcadia steel sliding glass door in a bearing wall. Above the door is a 4x6 header, flat - therefore non-load bearing, I assume; above the header is a pair of 4 foot wide transoms, with a 4x6 post in the center, bearing on the flat header right over the middle of the door. This post supports one of the 4x roof beams above, which are spaced 4 feet on center, with exposed T&G roof decking on top. So - we have a 4x roof beam - tributary area 4 feet wide - supported by a 4x6 post which is supported by a 4x6 (flat) header over the center of an 8 foot slider - and it looks as tho the slider is supporting the roof beam. There is no other header between the roof beam and the slider. It's all in fine shape - no deflection, and the slider slides just fine.
We want to replace the slider but are concerned about the structural issue. Is it possible that the Arcadia door is carrying the load from the roof? The head profile and the center post are a little beefy - but they dont LOOK structural. Any advice or similar experience would be greatly appreciated!
Sure anything is possible, but you likely would see some evidence of load being carried by the door (a really tight fit in the center post of the unit, glass craking, door not being 100% plumb and level, etc).
A very common way of spanning door/window openings is to post use a header (sounds like the flat 4X6 is being used as that, and the idea is that the load from the post transmits to the framing members (2x4 or 4x4) adjacent to the door or window. Now from what I know about roof loads in most Eichler homes, 8 feet is too wide a span for a 4x6 flat or otherwise; so it would seem likely that the door is assisting in the roof load.
It is best to talk to an experienced builder, or and engineer, and evaluate before throwing some aluminum or other less structually sound window product (than steel) in the opening. You can email me direct for some info on this. Good Luck.