How to Cut an Internal Doorway

Making a doorway in an existing wall may be necessary if you’re changing the use of the room or improving its layout: this is typical when converting a kitchen, where fitted units dictate the positions of access and exit doors. As with fitting a hatchway, it’s necessary to install a lintel to ensure the stability of the wall itself and any other load which bears on it.

Preparing a brick or block wall

First check whether the wall is non-loadbearing or loadbearing. If the former, seek approval from the Building Control Officer (BCO). Mark the opening on one side of the wall, then examine the coursing of the bricks or blocks by exposing a small area; move the opening if necessary to align the perimeter with the vertical joints.

Internal Doorway

The height should allow for the height of the door plus 1 0mm tolerance, the thickness of the soffit lining and a new concrete or steel lintel. The width of the opening should be the width of the door plus 6mm tolerance and twice the thickness of the door jamb lining. Allow a further 12mm for fitting the lining.

Carefully prise off the skirtings from both sides of the wall. They can be cut and reused later. Prop the wall and fit the lintel before cutting out the bulk of the masonry. Leave overnight for the bearings to set hard. The next day, starting from the top just below the lintel, chop out the individual bricks using a club hammer and bolster chisel. At the sides of the opening cut the half or three-quarter bricks protruding into the doorway. Chop downwards where you can. If the wall is built from lightweight blocks, use a universal hand saw or a masonry saw to slice through the bonding.

Bag up the rubble frequently in stout polythene sacks and stack whole bricks out of the way for re-use. Spray the area with water from a plant sprayer to settle the dust.

At the bottom, chop out the brickwork to just below floor level so that you can continue the flooring.

Fitting the door lining

You’ll have to fit a timber frame within the new doorway to which you can attach the stop-bead, door and decorative architrave. Make the frame from planed timber 25mm thick and the width of the wall. Fit the lining to the sides of the opening with galvanized metal frame cramps mortared into slots cut in the brickwork, or fit wooden wedges in the mortar joints and nail the frame to them.

Dealing with a stud wall

First locate the positions of the studs, then prise off the skirting. Mark out the position for the opening on the wall then remove the plasterwork. For lath-and-plaster walls, chop through to the laths with a bolster chisel, then saw the strips off. For a plasterboard wall, saw through the cladding or use a sharp trimming knife. If there are studs on each side of the opening, cut the laths or plasterboard flush with these timbers. The hole position often won’t correspond with the studs, so cut back to the centre of the nearest stud on each side. Cut one or two studs to the required height—door plus 1 0mm tolerance and the lining thickness plus a 50mm (2in) head member.

Level up and skew-nail the head member to the remaining studs at each end. Also dovetail-nail it to the ends of the cut studs. Saw through and remove the floor plate to the width of the door, plus 6mm tolerance and twice the thickness of the door lining. Cut and nail the new studs, which will form the door jambs, to fit between the head and sill. Fit noggings between the new and original stud or studs. Cut and nail plasterboard to fill the gaps between the original wall surface and the new studs. Make and fit the door lining. Finish the surfaces with plaster, fit the architraves and replace the skirting.

Alternatively, cut the cladding from floor to ceiling and refit the studding flush with the cut edge. Mark the width of the opening, saw through the plaster from both sides of the wall then strip the plasterwork and knock out the exposed studs and noggings. Cut the floor sill level with the plaster and remove. Drive the studs into the cut edges until flush. Nail them at top and bottom. Fit a door head member between them and a short vertical stud above it. Cover the space above the doorway with plasterboard.

Filed Under: Home & Maintenance


About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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