Removing Doorway From Solid Masonry Wall - Remodeling - Contractor Talk

Removing Doorway From Solid Masonry Wall

 
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:04 AM   #1
 
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Removing Doorway From Solid Masonry Wall


This is a solid masonry home (3 wythes, ca. 1923)
I have a non-original doorway in a solid masonry exterior wall that I'm removing. It was installed 30 years ago. An original window was also removed (and bricked over), and a doorway to the porch was cut out that partially overlaps the hole for the missing window. No lintel was installed to carry the load to the ground. The brick pier was built to hold the left jamb.
I finally got the thick door framing out, after chiseling out mortar and bricks they had parged on top of the door framing. I guess they thought the door frame would hold it up, but the jambs weren't in full contact with the floor. Some of the brick & plaster above the doorway move slightly if you push on them. The interior plaster is cracked but hanging on. I dont think anything is going to cave in or even settle much more but obviously, I don't want to push on this too much. I need to stabilize this as much as possible and close this mess up!

Can I make a beefy header out of 2 x 6 to stabilize this combined with conventional studs to attach the new wall to? I thought I'd get the header and top plate to barely touch the existing brick and fill the void with mortar.
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Old 08-15-2008, 11:25 AM   #2
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Re: Removing Doorway From Solid Masonry Wall


Better pix, more information.
What is above?
Floor joist bearing on that wall?
(Looks like a good possibility.)
What is below?
(Does the masonry carry all the way
to a footing? Is there a beam below
the return on the right of the opening?)
Cellar or crawl?
Details, details, details.

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Old 08-15-2008, 12:27 PM   #3
 
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Re: Removing Doorway From Solid Masonry Wall


Yes, there are floor joists and a main girder running perpendicular to this wall (same orientation for the 2nd floor joists in the ceiling above).
This is a rectangular house with a wide center hallway running form the front to the back.
The wall to the right of the door is part of that load-bearing hallway wall (at the rear of the house). All girders in this building rest on brick (holes were left in the masonry for them, the carpenters & masons probably worked together).
There are wood sills around the perimeter of the basement for attaching floor joists.
The masonry beneath the door carries all the way through the full basement to ground. There was no poured footing in this type of construction - just masonry.
Of course, the entire roofing structure also rests on the masonry - zero timber framing on the exterior.
The two inner wythes of masonry are interlocked with header bricks, and space in-between. The outer layer (veneer) is a decorative brick connected to the center wythe with metal ties.
The thickness of the entire wall system is about 14 inches. This end of the house is about 45 feet wide, the total height is about 30 feet from cellar to attic. In relation to that this doorway is not a big hole.
I can post pics of the interior of the wall a bit later.
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Old 08-15-2008, 05:23 PM   #4
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Re: Removing Doorway From Solid Masonry Wall


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamison View Post
Yes, there are floor joists and a main girder running perpendicular to this wall (same orientation for the 2nd floor joists in the ceiling above).
This is a rectangular house with a wide center hallway running form the front to the back.
The wall to the right of the door is part of that load-bearing hallway wall (at the rear of the house). All girders in this building rest on brick (holes were left in the masonry for them, the carpenters & masons probably worked together).
There are wood sills around the perimeter of the basement for attaching floor joists.
The masonry beneath the door carries all the way through the full basement to ground. There was no poured footing in this type of construction - just masonry.
Of course, the entire roofing structure also rests on the masonry - zero timber framing on the exterior.
The two inner wythes of masonry are interlocked with header bricks, and space in-between. The outer layer (veneer) is a decorative brick connected to the center wythe with metal ties.
The thickness of the entire wall system is about 14 inches. This end of the house is about 45 feet wide, the total height is about 30 feet from cellar to attic. In relation to that this doorway is not a big hole.
I can post pics of the interior of the wall a bit later.
Are you framing in the opening, of replacing
the door with a cased opening or another door?
Either way, this is the perfect get an engineer.
CYA situation.
It's obvious that the last guy got it very wrong.
Those cracks, and the fact that you find the
masonry over the opening scary, tell me that it
needs to be replaced clear to the joist above.
I'd shore up on both sides of the wall, bring the
masonry up from the cellar to floor level (or at
least to support the joist) and replace every thing
with masonry, or frame it up properly as a bearing
wall.
I would be hesitant to point load an old foundation
like you describe.
They only worked through distributing the load,
and I would want to do the same.
At any rate, you need to carry the load of
the second floor joist all the way to the footings,
and a 4X6 header seems a bit flimsy to me.

That said, I can't see it, and I ain't no engineer.
It's your sweet butt on the line.
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