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How to Convert a Window to a Door: Exterior Demolition and Notching the Brick

Host Fuad Reveiz begins this phase of the window conversion project by determining where the new door will go and by marking the brick where the exterior demolition will begin.

More in Remodeling

transform windows into beautiful entryway
  • Time

    Day

  • Price Range

    $250 - $500

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard

Highlights:

Step 1: Cut the Side Bricks

To notch the brick for the window removal, start by measuring over 1-1/2" and draw a line using a level down both sides of the window.

Next use a quicky saw with a masonry blade to cut the brick. This extra room is needed for the new door, and it'll make taking the windows out much easier.

cut the side brick

Step 2: Remove the Bricks Below the Window

Once both sides have been cut, use a hammer drill to remove the bricks underneath the window (Image 1). Getting the brick started requires some effort and muscle, but once the first couple bricks are out they start to fall fairly easy by just placing the hammer drill in the mortar joints.

Follow along the mortar joints to loosen the bricks, and then pull out the pieces by hand.

The bottom row of bricks can be left intact especially if the sub-floor inside is higher than this row, that will give you a head start when you come back to lay the row lock under the threshold.

Tip: Placing the hammer drill in the mortar joints about every three bricks (Image 2) or so it will give the best result. They'll just sort of peel right off.

Step 3: Remove the Window

To remove the window, use a nail punch to push the finish nails through the brick molding. Simply drive the nails into the studs they were attached to, and then take a utility knife and cut the caulk seal across the top of the window. With all the nails pushed through, the window has nothing holding it in place.

Have one person on the inside "push" the window out while two others catch it as it comes out. This is actually the easiest part of the job.

Before moving on, address the bricks that were cut on both sides of the opening. It will not look good if the door is put up against these, so they have to come out and some new ones have to go in.

remove the window

Step 4: Cut the Mortar Joints

Since more dust will be created, put some plastic up over the opening to keep it out of the house. Use a staple gun to create a tight seal all the way around.

Use the quicky saw to cut away the horizontal mortar joints between the bricks, and be sure to switch to a diamond-tipped blade since these cuts need to be more precise (Image 1).

Note: Accuracy is very important and doing this correctly will make "toothing" out the brick much easier, and it will keep other bricks from breaking in the process. It takes about 30 minutes to make all the cuts for each side. Know that the saw gets heavy when making these types of cuts at this angle. It's definitely a hard workout.

Once all the joints have been cut, chipping out the unwanted bricks is next. Use a hammer and masonry chisel and work up the wall. Be careful not to break the bricks that will be kept.

Tip: The trick is to make sure and not only remove the brick but the old mortar as well. This way there will be room to install the new ones when the time comes.

If you do this process correctly, every other brick is left untouched and the "tooth" pattern (Image 2) becomes apparent.

To close up the opening leave the lower wall and studs that were under the window so there is something to attach the 1/2" OSB plywood to for the night.

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  • Doors from Masonite Doors

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