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timbo59 04-11-2013 10:39 AM

Turning a window into a doorway
We have a 52 wide window in our master bedroom that looks out to an area of our yard thats tailor-made to turn into a private garden area. What wed like to do is knock out the blocks below the window to turn the opening into a doorway leading out to the garden. Whats the usual method for doing this? Do I take a sledgehammer to the middle blocks and then carefully start working loose the individual bricks to either side? And what about the blocks that will need to be halved? Do you crack them in half, or remove them one by one and replace them with half blocks?

Installing the framework and door itself I can handle Ive done it before. Its just the brickwork that Im not sure on.

jagans 04-11-2013 10:49 AM

You cut the brick and block with a rescue saw with a masonry blade, then knock out the remainder. 4-0 door.

oldhouseguy 04-11-2013 12:00 PM

I put a very large Pella Architectural sliding door in the back of a brick bungalow where there was a much smaller window.

I have a suggestion you might want to consider.

If I had it to do over again, I would hire someone to make the cuts in the brick and then stop and let me take over from there.

The above post tells you the type of saw you really need. I did not have that saw, and renting it was really expensive for a really short period of time. I just didn't feel comfortable with using it at the time.

I had two chalk lines and I cut into the brick with an angle grinder and then scored the back side. and then each brick I tapped with what I think is called a brick chisel, and they just broke in half, then I removed it. Then onto the next one down.

While I got it done, and it looks awesome now, I would have gladly paid someone to cut the bricks where I needed them cut and then I could have done the rest. It would have saved me a few days.

I can't overemphasize planning this project enough. I was younger when I did it, and I just remember standing at the back of my house with a roughly 6 feet wide enormous hole in my brick house...

Everything was braced properly, I don't remember exactly how I did that, but I just remember thinking... "well, no turning back now!!!!!" :eek:

I am sure you know it, but you are going to probably have to do some structural changes, moving studs, putting in a header, etc....

Good luck, it sure can be done, and it changed the entire usefulness of my house. :thumbup:

timbo59 04-11-2013 12:22 PM

Well no, thankfully I don't have to consider putting in a new header or any of that, as there's already one in place for the window. See, I'm not planning on expanding the width of the opening, just taking it down to ground level and putting a door in. It's already 52" wide, so there's plenty of room for a doorway. Enough width for a sliding glass door would be nice, but the structural work needed would be just too much trouble. A basic glass door with some additional glass filler on the side will do just fine.

jagans 04-11-2013 12:30 PM

Yeah, going bigger to smaller is one thing, going the other way requires a new header, or in your case, a lintil .

timbo59 04-11-2013 12:42 PM

Yeah, that's the only reason I'm considering this, as it would otherwise be an expensive and painstaking process. This way all I'm having to do is remove a window and about 4' in height of block.


oldhouseguy 04-11-2013 09:00 PM


Originally Posted by timbo59 (Post 1156918)
Yeah, that's the only reason I'm considering this, as it would otherwise be an expensive and painstaking process. This way all I'm having to do is remove a window and about 4' in height of block.


I can vouch for both the expensive and the painstaking part... what a job it was.

joecaption 04-11-2013 09:11 PM

Got a picture?

ktkelly 04-11-2013 10:04 PM

Been there, done that.

It can be a really simple job. Just take your time cutting the brick.

I used a diamond blade in my trusty circular saw, and a diamond blade in my 4" Angle Grinder to cut the bricks. worked like a charm.

One other issue that you'll probably have is rerouting some electrical, because it most likely runs across the wall below the existing widow.

timbo59 04-11-2013 11:37 PM

@KTKelly. Good point. There's an outlet just to the right of the window at the base of the wall, and odds are the wiring runs below the window to the other outlets in the room. Well, no one ever said it had to be easy, but I guess if re-routing wiring on this job was the worst of my chores I'd consider myself lucky!

Seeing as a few people have now mentioned, it, I may well go with using my trusty Makita angle grinder to cut/score the appropriate blocks.


hand drive 04-12-2013 07:29 AM

36" is the biggest average single door available and outside to outside of the brick molding will be about 40". the brick will butt to the outer edge of the brickmolding. you will be reducing down 12" to get the brick to the brickmold.

timbo59 04-12-2013 09:24 AM

Yeah, that's why I mentioned in an earlier post that I'd use a glass filler strip to make up the difference, especially as I want to keep as much light as possible available for the room. If I can't find a stock frame that will do the job for me I'll just custom make the frame myself and mount the glass and door myself.

hand drive 04-12-2013 11:59 AM

your best bet might be to get a door with a single side light on one side, that could fit in your opening maybe? 36" door with 12" side light and use 5/4 cpvc trim to trim out the door jamb and seal to the brick

timbo59 04-12-2013 07:40 PM

Yeah, that's along the lines of what i was thinking.

jagans 04-12-2013 07:58 PM

You can rent an electric rescue saw with a diamond blade for half a day and knock this out quick. You will probably need a 20 amp circuit and a heavy cord though.

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