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exterior home design

What Is A Header?

What Is A Header?

Learn about the Header

Today's blog post is brought to you by the letter L - and L stands for L-Header!

An L-Header is one of the most versatile and innovative products in the catalogue. Exactly as described - an L-shaped length of our realistic synthetic wood - these products are used to give the illusion of a timber header across the length of a doorway, arch or window; without any major cutting, shaping or customization.

What is a 'Header'?

Doors, windows and archways are large areas of unsupported space - not providing any structural rigidity to the roof above them. In order to make sure that the roof remains where it's supposed to be - up on top of the building! - it's important to span the width of these openings with a strong, rigid 'header' to bear the weight pressing down on it.

In modern homes, these headers are normally concrete or steel beams, that stretch from one supporting wall to the other. These materials can support a massive amount of weight; but they're not exactly pretty.

Before the development of these more modern building materials, lengths of timber were used. In many older homes, these headers are left exposed, and have become a very attractive feature. The problem is, its typically impossible to get the look of a timber header without actually installing one - and in addition to being a major structural undertaking, most timber headers wouldn't be strong enough to support a modern ceiling.

This old French building demonstrates how timber was used as a structural header.

A more modern apartment in Provence also demonstrates the structural use of timber as a header.

That's where our L-Headers come in. These are synthetic wood veneers which install seamlessly across the exposed spaces, and give the appearance of timber, while retaining the original header. This means you can get the beautiful look of an old timber doorway, window or arch - without a huge investment or a back-breaking renovation.

How To Install Headers

Our headers are L-shaped lengths of high density polyurethane foam, created from molds of real timber using our innovative injection molding process. The end result perfectly resembles real timber, but is really easy and intuitive to install.

Our headers are available in a wide variety of colors and styles - to suit any project!

When it comes to installation, there are as many different ways to 'do it right' as there are different types of L-Header, but one technique is to install the header across the top of the doorway so it runs flush with the drywall or stucco surrounding it. This makes it appear as if the timber really is embedded in the wall - like a genuine timber would be - and is the most realistic way of installing an L-header.

The real stone veneer is cleverly installed flush with the faux wood L-Header, to make it appear like a supporting length of timber.

An easier and more common method of installation is to simply install the header over the existing surface. While this means it won't fit flush with the wall, the end result still looks great and a quick search of historic homes reveals that headers often were over-sized to produce an effect like this. An added element is to cut the interior length (the one that goes inside the window or doorframe) slightly shorter than the exterior length (the section that goes against the wall) so that it appears as if the header is extending beyond the length of the opening - as it would with a real timber header.

This header was trimmed to be slightly longer than the width of the window opening - making it appear like a genuine structural support.

There are so many different ways to install a faux wood L-header - the only thing that they all share is how good they look.

If you've used our L-Headers in any of your projects, we'd love to see pictures - we might even feature them on this blog!