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Old 01-03-2011, 04:15 PM   #1
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Moving a doorway in an exterior brick wall


As crazy as it may sound, I'm planning to move the doorway to the carport from the laundry room to the kitchen. The laundry room is very tiny and does not make for much of an entrance to the house so I will be changing it so that you walk directly into the newly remodeled kitchen. The exterior wall is a 2x4 insulated wall with brick facing. The house was built in 78' and luckily the previous owner kept several extra bricks so I wont have to worry about matching the color of the existing ones. I know that I will have to cut out the concrete door ledge of the opening that is being covered and pour a new concrete ledge for the new opening. I will be reusing the door and frame for the entrance to the kitchen which is a 32" door.

Anyway, I have a few questions about the project:
-When I brick up the old opening, do I need to take down the 4 or 5 rows of bricks above the opening or can I somehow squeeze all of the new bricks in?
-Do I need to install brick ties that connect the new bricks to the framing? If so, what is the spacing?
-Will I need to install a steel angle iron brace to hold up the layers of bricks over the new opening? If so, how do I get it in there with out taking all the top bricks down?

Any other hints/suggestions are greatly appreciated. Oh, forgot to mention, I've never worked with brick and mortar before.

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Old 01-03-2011, 04:25 PM   #2
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Moving a doorway in an exterior brick wall


If this is an opening that you're going to be walking past every day, then my tip is to get a professional to do it.

Bad brick is forever.

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Old 01-03-2011, 08:21 PM   #3
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Moving a doorway in an exterior brick wall


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Originally Posted by GeauxCajuns82 View Post

Anyway, I have a few questions about the project:
-When I brick up the old opening, do I need to take down the 4 or 5 rows of bricks above the opening or can I somehow squeeze all of the new bricks in?

That is really an aesthetic question, and depends on the brick coursing heights. If there's only a few course above the door, I would take them down & remove the angle for use on the new opening, if possible.

-Do I need to install brick ties that connect the new bricks to the framing? If so, what is the spacing?

Yes, a good rule is 2 sq. feet maximum per wall tie, which typically equates to 16" centers both ways. More won't hurt either, and be sure to get 7" galvanized, 22 gauge minimum for the ties.

-Will I need to install a steel angle iron brace to hold up the layers of bricks over the new opening? If so, how do I get it in there with out taking all the top bricks down?

Yes, and you don't. You need to take enough courses out above to fit the angle iron lintel to make the job look decent. If there is a lot of brick above, you may need an additional angle iron to slide in backwards (upwards leg facing out & up) to temporarily carry the weight.

Any other hints/suggestions are greatly appreciated. Oh, forgot to mention, I've never worked with brick and mortar before.
Sure. Take your time, it's going to take at least 2-3 times longer to do a good job than you currently envision. This kind of brick work is slow & tedious, even for a mason like myself who's done ton's of "tooth'in's" in his career. Also, make sure you have at least 25-50 extra brick before you start, because your guaranteed to break some of them, it's just how many is the question.

Good luck.
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:54 AM   #4
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Moving a doorway in an exterior brick wall


When bricking up the old doorway you could consider stepping the brickwork back from the existing brickwork as shown in the photo for window frames, although this is a feature used on door openings as well.
This method is actually a feature used on new builds here.
The advantage for using it on an existing doorway is that no toothing is required, and even if the bricks and mortar don't quite match it doesn't look out of place.
As Jomama has said, it's really difficult even for a mason to get it looking right.
Moving a doorway in an exterior brick wall-rtat1.jpg
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Old 01-05-2011, 04:39 PM   #5
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Moving a doorway in an exterior brick wall


Thanks for the suggestion, Stuart, but I want the wall to look as if there was never a doorway there.

And thanks for the info jomama. However, the more I research this the more I'm considering hiring a brick layer to do this. Any idea how much something like this would cost?

One more question though: is there a a maximum number of layers you can do at a time so that the mortar from the bottom bricks doesn't start to squeeze out from the weight of the upper rows? The exterior wall is just over 7 feet tall.
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Old 01-05-2011, 04:53 PM   #6
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Moving a doorway in an exterior brick wall


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Originally Posted by GeauxCajuns82 View Post
One more question though: is there a a maximum number of layers you can do at a time so that the mortar from the bottom bricks doesn't start to squeeze out from the weight of the upper rows? The exterior wall is just over 7 feet tall.
It depends on the type of brick used. On site with your average face brick 5ft a day was the normal allowance. With a heavy engineering brick a couple of ft was usually enough. Most bricklayers would probably want to build in the frame in the same day.
How are you doing the new opening. Cutting out with an angle grinder, or making a larger hole, toothing out and building in the frame?
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Old 01-05-2011, 05:16 PM   #7
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Moving a doorway in an exterior brick wall


If you do attempt this job, remember, the mortor must be mixed so it'll support the brick, like in not runny. Keep track each mix on the ratios. Some brick you can't use muratic acid to clean up when finished, and be careful with the acid with kids around. Use a straight edge to span the opening and tooth in the brick. You can do it ,just step down and take a look now and then.

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