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-   -   cutting brick to add window in bathroom (http://www.diychatroom.com/f19/cutting-brick-add-window-bathroom-10254/)

DoubleD07 07-29-2007 07:54 PM

cutting brick to add window in bathroom
 
I have 2 bathrooms with no windows and would like to add a small row of glass blocks(4- 6" blocks) to let some natural light in each shower. The inside is just sheetrock but the outside is brick. These would be very high on the wall approximately at 6.5' or 7'. How hard is this to do and what kind of saw(tools) would I need to cut the brick out? Also there may be 2 to 3 rows of brick across the top of the glass blocks how would I support these?

Thanks,
Derek

sandyman720 07-30-2007 01:50 PM

I am no expert but I recently cut through brick and cinder block to make a door way.

If all you are doing is that small area you might be able to chissel them out of the morter. If you want to do it quick then rent a concrete saw or get a masonry blade for your skill saw (might not cut deep enough though) and they are pretty messy!

Ron6519 07-30-2007 02:15 PM

You need to support the framing with a header and the brick above the window with a lintel.
You can use a diamod blade on you saw or rent one from a tool rental place. I've cut openings in brick with a 7 1/4" wormsaw. The last inch or so needs to be chiseled. The rough part of the brick was covered by the door frame.
Ron

DoubleD07 07-30-2007 03:10 PM

How do I get the lintel in there? Do I just chisel out the mortar and slide it in between the bricks and mortar it in place?

Ron6519 07-30-2007 06:01 PM

A grinder would be less trauma on the bricks. There's a good chance that some or all of the bricks over the opening will fall out on their own. If that happens, you can just incorporate the lintels into the opening when you put them back.
Is this a brick veneer house, or solid brick?
Ron

DoubleD07 07-30-2007 09:02 PM

brick veneer, brick outside, stud walls and sheetrock inside....I think, I'm no expert

Cement Man 07-30-2007 10:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DoubleD07 (Post 55381)
brick veneer, brick outside, stud walls and sheetrock inside....I think, I'm no expert

If it is brick outside then like said you need to use a skillsaw with a masonry diamond blade in it.
Lowes has a pretty cheap diamond blade that should be good enough for what you need to do. I 'think' it cost about $15.00-$20.00.
Only problems I can see is that if you have a really cheap skillsaw the thicker diamond blade may not fit. A friend of mine had the cheapest Sears skillsaw and it would not accept the thicker diamond blade.
As for the lenthal header on top get rid of the top row of bricks and cut or chizel the mortor joint on each side to accomadate the lenthal. From my experience with regular brick cutting once you cut the bricks out the top row will not come down.
Check for wiring-pipes or anything else that may be hidden in the area you are going to cut out.
BTW: Home Depot and Lowes carrys the glass blocks. Make sure to allow enough room on the sides and top to accomadate the glass block joints and about 1/2" for each side and top and bottom.

troubleseeker 07-31-2007 10:12 PM

I would just totally remove enough bricks fom the area large enought to complete the window work, then hire a mason to reset the bricks. Just remove the two or three courses that will be above the window, because they are going to be in the way of installing the lintel anyway. The mason will weave the bricks back in and return the end pieces properly for a quality finished job. Just cutting through the bricks as you suggest will not work because most residential bricks are cored (have holes through them) and cutting is going to expose them to view.The mason will also set the lintel as he lays up the bricks.Remove the first couple of bricks by either cutting the morter joints, or just beat them out with a hammer and chisel.Once you have a couple removed you can salvage the rest by tapping along the morter lines with a brick chisel until they loosen. Just take your time and you will be able to save enough for the repair work. If you get a mason to look at it first, he may recognize it as a readily available brick and not woth the trouble of trying to save.
And like Ron said, you will probably need to install a header directly under the wall plates anyway.

Cement Man 08-01-2007 07:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by troubleseeker (Post 55600)
I would just totally remove enough bricks fom the area large enought to complete the window work, then hire a mason to reset the bricks. Just remove the two or three courses that will be above the window, because they are going to be in the way of installing the lintel anyway. The mason will weave the bricks back in and return the end pieces properly for a quality finished job. Just cutting through the bricks as you suggest will not work because most residential bricks are cored (have holes through them) and cutting is going to expose them to view.The mason will also set the lintel as he lays up the bricks.Remove the first couple of bricks by either cutting the morter joints, or just beat them out with a hammer and chisel.Once you have a couple removed you can salvage the rest by tapping along the morter lines with a brick chisel until they loosen. Just take your time and you will be able to save enough for the repair work. If you get a mason to look at it first, he may recognize it as a readily available brick and not woth the trouble of trying to save.
And like Ron said, you will probably need to install a header directly under the wall plates anyway.

---
After cutting through the brick, yes, there will be the end with a hole showing but the glass blocks will hide that.
As for hiring a mason, he original was asking about him doing the work.

troubleseeker 08-01-2007 09:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cement Man (Post 55747)
---
After cutting through the brick, yes, there will be the end with a hole showing but the glass blocks will hide that.
As for hiring a mason, he original was asking about him doing the work.

I know the original question, but still believe that a DIY brick attempt, in place, is going to look like crap. He will not get the lintel in place without loosing the top three or four courses of brick that he refers to; neither a circular saw or grinder with a diamond blade can cut throught the full depth of the bricks in place, so the typical solution is to try to break them the rest of the way, almost always resulting in the brick shattering anyway and/or breaking the morter bond to the surrounding bricks. And to make the window look correct in the brick wall, bricks need to be cut and set at an angle to form a sill at the bottom of the window. All of these can be peformed by a HO, but the bricks must IMO still be removed to accomplish it, if you want the job to look like a positive enhancement to the house and not a botched home project. I stick with my original reply, do all the prep work, and pay a brick guy to finish the job correctly.
The key to most successful home projects is knowing what to do yourself and what you are better off paying someone to do.

Cement Man 08-02-2007 12:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by troubleseeker (Post 55788)
I know the original question, but still believe that a DIY brick attempt, in place, is going to look like crap. He will not get the lintel in place without loosing the top three or four courses of brick that he refers to; neither a circular saw or grinder with a diamond blade can cut throught the full depth of the bricks in place, so the typical solution is to try to break them the rest of the way, almost always resulting in the brick shattering anyway and/or breaking the morter bond to the surrounding bricks. And to make the window look correct in the brick wall, bricks need to be cut and set at an angle to form a sill at the bottom of the window. All of these can be peformed by a HO, but the bricks must IMO still be removed to accomplish it, if you want the job to look like a positive enhancement to the house and not a botched home project. I stick with my original reply, do all the prep work, and pay a brick guy to finish the job correctly.
The key to most successful home projects is knowing what to do yourself and what you are better off paying someone to do.

`
1-It will not look like crap. I have done it for years.
2- WHY would he loose 3-4 top layers of bricks? You won't loose them 3-4 rows. :no:
3- Blades CAN cut thru the brick. If needed cut both sides. Or cut as deep as you can and with just a tap of a chizzle from the inside the rest will come out. Very simple!
4- Bricks on the bottom need to be cut and SET on an ANGLE??? There has to be a FLAT surface to accomadate the glass blocks! Where did ya get that from???
5- BOTCHED HOME improvement job??? A successful home project??? Sure he asked and I replyed. Maybe you wouldn't be able to do it but with him getting guided from a pro like me or another pro he can do it.
Its not really rocket science ya know!:wink:
My sons were only 14 years old when they did jobs like this. I guided them like I guide here.
You keep saying 'window'! He wants to put glass blocks in. Perhaps that is what you are mixed up about?

The best way to do it??? Call a mason like me to do the job. LOL! I thing he should go as far as he can go because the experience will do him good as a homeowner. I can't hire everyone to work on my houses and if I did I would be broke.

troubleseeker 08-02-2007 10:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cement Man (Post 55835)
`
1-It will not look like crap. I have done it for years.
2- WHY would he loose 3-4 top layers of bricks? You won't loose them 3-4 rows. :no:
3- Blades CAN cut thru the brick. If needed cut both sides. Or cut as deep as you can and with just a tap of a chizzle from the inside the rest will come out. Very simple!
4- Bricks on the bottom need to be cut and SET on an ANGLE??? There has to be a FLAT surface to accomadate the glass blocks! Where did ya get that from???
5- BOTCHED HOME improvement job??? A successful home project??? Sure he asked and I replyed. Maybe you wouldn't be able to do it but with him getting guided from a pro like me or another pro he can do it.
Its not really rocket science ya know!:wink:
My sons were only 14 years old when they did jobs like this. I guided them like I guide here.

You keep saying 'window'! He wants to put glass blocks in. Perhaps that is what you are mixed up about?

The best way to do it??? Call a mason like me to do the job. LOL! I thing he should go as far as he can go because the experience will do him good as a homeowner. I can't hire everyone to work on my houses and if I did I would be broke.

OK cement pro.. you must have a MUCH bigger circular saw than me ( I guess the pro version) because to cut the bricks from the inside of the building he would need a minimun of 5" of depth of cut before even touching the back side of the bricks; 3 1/2" stud, 1/2" drywall, 1/2" plywood sheathing or blackboard, and 1/2' to 3/4" air space between the exterior sheathing and the brick.

He will probably loose the top couple courses of brick because they will fall down during the process of installing a header in the wall or the lintel in the bricks.

There will be a flat surface for the blocks, it is in the plane of the wall, not the plane of the bricks, only the outermost inch of so of the blocks should be in the brick plane. Perhaps you never noticed before, but windows are set in the wall of a house, not in the brick veneer, and they have an angled brick sill to help shed water. Anything set in a flat bottomed cutout in a wall that depends solely on a temporary solution (caulking) to stop an on going permanent problem (water intrusion) is a gauranteed future problem.

I agree that he should do what he can, but he has to be realistic about what he can accomplish properly. Every remodeler out there can tell volumes of stories about well intentioned HO or cheapest priced handyman jobs that range from the simply humorous to downright dangerous.

It is obvious that we have different levels of expectationf for the work we produce, and we will not see eye to eye, so I will close by sticking with my previous recommendations.:whistling2:

DoubleD07 08-03-2007 07:52 PM

OK well I hadn't intended on causing a rukus here but I see I have one.

I honestly belive I can do the job, I've never done any masonry but like cement man says its not rocket science and its only 4-6 glass blocks for each bathroom.

I do have a question as I am confused by some of the postings. as I understand it the glass blocks will sit ON the bricks and be flush with the outside of the bricks and on the inside of the bathroom I will trim out the wall to the glass blocks, adding a header to the studs in the wall. Is this correct?

Mortaring, do I just laydown a bed 1/2" or so thick and place the blocks on the bed and mortar between them and on top of them? Whats the easiest way to completely fill the gaps with mortar? Whast the setting time for mortar? Any special type of mortar to buy?
I actually have over 300 extra bricks from when I took out the fireplace hearth so If I break some getting them out its not a big deal.

Many thanks for the advice guys

Pennyroyal's 08-06-2007 11:42 AM

The glass block sits on the studs usually but often ends up straddling the studs and brick. The brick exterior sill has to be pitched to drain. Both the interior top studs and exterior bricks need support. The interior may be a 2x flat if it is a narrow opening. The exterior brick needs to be removed to your cut then toothed out for the mason to weave in the finished edges and install a lintel and match the header to the rest of the house brick. Do as much as you are comfortable with and call a mason, you have more important things to do than learn a new trade possibly at the expense of devaluing your home with (nothing personal) shoddy work. Joe.

dmaceld 08-07-2007 03:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DoubleD07 (Post 56112)
I do have a question as I am confused by some of the postings. as I understand it the glass blocks will sit ON the bricks and be flush with the outside of the bricks and on the inside of the bathroom I will trim out the wall to the glass blocks, adding a header to the studs in the wall. Is this correct?

Mortaring, do I just laydown a bed 1/2" or so thick and place the blocks on the bed and mortar between them and on top of them? Whats the easiest way to completely fill the gaps with mortar? Whast the setting time for mortar? Any special type of mortar to buy?

You can get a lot of these questions answered by checking out the installation instructions on the Pittsburgh-Corning web site. They offer several options for installation. Mortar is a specific glass block mortar. If you do more than one row they have spacers to help keep the blocks set just right. There is a little more to it than just slapping down mortar and setting a block in it, but you can do it. I installed a 5 block high by 8 block wide glass block window in a bathroom wall several years ago. A friend helped. We mortared it in flush with the exterior of the brick veneer. Didn't come out perfect, but it was pretty d*** good! :yes: When we sold the house last year the buyers were gah-gah over the window. What more could I have asked for!:thumbup:


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