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How to Convert a Window to a Door: Installing the Door and Laying New Bricks

From DIY's Weekend Remodeling, host Fuad Reveiz continues the process of converting a window to a door. These steps demonstrate how to remove the wall studs, install the door and lay the new bricks.

More in Remodeling

transform existing set of windows into entryway
  • Time

    Weekend

  • Price Range

    $1,000 - $2,500

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard

Highlights:

Step 1: Trim Back the Drywall and Sheeting

Remove the OSB plywood you used to close up the opening overnight. Remove the house wrap to see where the sheeting for the wall ends. If it stops at the floor, use a reciprocating saw to make some vertical cuts in the middle to remove that section. Cut the nails along both sides and pull each of the sections loose. Trim back the excess drywall and sheeting, and make sure that everything is even all the way down to the sub-floor.

trim back drywall and sheeting

Step 2: Frame the Entryway

Next, the top and bottom of the opening will need to be frames to accommodate the new entryway. At the bottom add a new 2" x 4" bottom plate across the sub-floor, and at the top frame down the header by installing two 2" x 4"s. This lowers the opening to match the dimensions for the new door.

Once the framing is up, add a strip of plywood on the face of the 2" x 4"s to bring them flush with the rest of the framing.

frame the entryway

Step 3: Install the Door

The moment of truth has arrived — time to install the new door.

Note: A three-panel pre-hung door weighs a ton, so you'll need to enlist help.

Before actually setting the door in place, add some silicone caulk (Image 1) around the face of the opening and around the bottom plate as well.

Set the door in place.

Check to make sure the door is plumb and level. If the door isn't level, you may have to use some shims.

Secure the door to the frame with 10 penny finish nails (Image 2). Just like the windows, nail through the brick mold into the stud framework.

Tip: To keep from marring the brick mold, come back and use a nail set to recess the nails.


Step 4: Set the Bricks

To dress out the area over the door, add a ripped 1" x 4" to trim out the plywood.

Masonry work begins by setting the first row across the bottom. Run a string (Image 1) to act as a guide while you set this row.

Lay out some mortar, butter the ends of the brick and then set it in the mortar bed, pushing down lightly to get it even with the string line.

With the first row complete, start on the row lock. These are bricks that have been cut in half and turned sideways. As you install these, make sure to tilt them (Image 2) away from the house a little to allow rain to run off.

As before, move across setting the bricks by the string line. This row hangs over the regular row a little, which adds a nice touch.

As you move up the sides, lay some mortar on the brick that was notched out earlier, and then butter the end of a new brick and set it in place (Image 3).

Repeat the previous step working up the wall. The important part of this process is to keep the finished side of the brick facing out, and make sure to set the bricks tight up against the brick molding on the door. After that, you can come back to "tuck and point" the tops of the bricks.

Step 5: Apply Mortar and Dress the Joints

Push the mortar in the joint by sliding it off the trowel. This fills the cut lines made by the saw blade as well. Use the edge of the trowel to cut down the bricks for the smaller pieces. Once they're the right size, in they go.

Work this way up both sides of the new door.

The final step is dressing the joints. When the mortar has stiffened, but not completely set up, use a joint tool to remove the excess mortar and smooth out the joints. Be sure to use the same type of tool used when the original brick was set. This makes the joint lines match perfectly.

Note: Right now the color of the mortar looks a little different, but in about a month — when it's fully cured — you'll never be able to tell this was a remodeling job.

use joint tool to remove excess mortar

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