How to Replace an Exterior Door with Block
Remodeling an old building is the process of performing a number of small jobs to make a big difference in appearance. One small job you may encounter when remodeling an old building is removing an exterior door. One of the most effective ways to eliminate an exterior door and make the wall as sound and secure as possible is to use cement blocks to fill the hole. Cement blocks can be placed in the hole so they are flush with the exterior wall of the structure. Once the cement hardens you will have one solid wall.
Place the tip of the screwdriver against the bottom of one of the hinge pins in the door. Tap the handle of the screwdriver with your hammer to pop the hinge pin free. Remove all of the hinge pins from the door. Lift the door from the frame and discard it or set it aside for future use.
Place the tip of the small end of the nail puller next to one of the trim pieces encasing the frame. Hold the long end of the nail puller securely and hit the tool with your hammer to drive it under the trim. Pull the handle of the nail puller to remove the trim from the frame. Remove all of the trim from the wall leaving only the open where the door and frame once stood.
Dump 5 gallons of water into the cement mixer and turn on the machine. Add 2 bags of cement, 30 gallons of sand and 5 more gallons of water to the running mixer. Add more water to thin the mixture if necessary. Let the ingredients mix in the machine until it has the consistency of thick oatmeal. Pull the dump pin and tilt the hopper of the machine to fill the wheel barrow with cement while the mixer is still running. Lock the hopper in its upright position and turn off the mixer.
Scoop cement from the wheelbarrow and make a 4-inch bed of mortar across the doorway with your trowel. Place blocks on the bed of mortar. Keep the face of the blocks even with the exterior of the building. Leave a 1/2 inch gap between the blocks. Fill the gaps between the blocks and the holes in the blocks with cement. Scrape the excess mortar off the blocks and put it back into the wheelbarrow.
Bend two brick ties so they each form a 90-degree angle. Set one of the metal ties on each side of the blocks so the upward arm rests against the door frame. Drive a masonry nail through the hole in the brick ties with your hammer to secure the metal to the wood. Add brick ties to each course of blocks in the wall to bind the new blocks to the existing structure.
Continue laying blocks in the hole. Place a 4-inch bed of mortar on top of the previous course of blocks for the new course to have an adequate roof to sit. Scrape the excess mortar off the blocks as you go to keep the work area clean and to conserve your cement. Refill the wheel barrow from the mixer as necessary. Wait 15 minutes after the last course is laid and scrape the point of your trowel across each mortar line to compress and texture the cement. Let the cement cure for 48 hours before touching the wall.
- Always alternate your mortar lines by keeping the ends of the blocks away from the ends of the blocks in the course directly below them. Cut blocks in half by striking them with the sharp edge of a masonry hammer. Use the half blocks where necessary to stagger your masonry lines.
- Work gloves and safety glasses are required when using hand tools.
- A dust mask is required along with your gloves and glasses when mixing cement.
After learning electronics in the U.S. Navy in the 1980s, Danny Donahue spent a lifetime in the construction industry. He has worked with some of the finest construction talent in the Southeastern United States. Donahue has been a freelance writer since 2008, focusing his efforts on his beloved construction projects.
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