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How To Install A Door Frame Into Brick Wall

In this article we go over the how to's of installing a commercial hollow metal door frame into a brick building. Brick construction is very popular and often used on school buildings and universities, banks, museums, warehouse buildings, and many other applications. Brick offers strength and structure to any building and is architecturally a great looking masonry material. Hollow metal doors are often installed as exterior doors for brick buildings since they are constructed from heavy duty steel and offer great security for a low cost. If you are in the market to replace an old existing steel door on your brick building, or if you are looking to add a new hollow metal door to your brick building, we will cover step by step what you need to do to install your new door.

Step 1: Know Your Rough Opening

For brick construction, the hollow metal door frame butts up against the brick wall. The rough opening height is equal to the frame height + 2-1/4" and the rough opening width is equal to the frame width + 4-1/2". For example, if you want to install a 3'-0" x 7'-0" hollow metal door, then the rough opening would be 40-1/2" x 86-1/4".

If you are replacing an existing door and frame, as long as you are installing the same size door and frame as the old door, it will fit in the opening no problem. So if you measure the existing door to be a 3'-0" x 7'-0" door and frame, then be sure to replace it with the exact same size door and frame. If a larger or smaller door and frame is chosen, then additional masonry work will be needed to either close in the opening or make it bigger.

Step 2: Creating The Rough Opening

Now the fun part! Demolition time! But before you go hammering holes into the brick wall, let's go over a proper game plan.

If Your Installing A New Door In A Brick Wall

If this is a new door installation and you need to create your rough opening in your brick wall. First outline the rough opening on your brick wall using chalk.

Now for the cutting. We recommend using a mortar saw for this since it can precisely cut along the outline. Some people use grinders, but we find the mortar saw is well worth the money and makes the job much easier. An illustration of a mortar saw is shown below.

It is important that you always use the proper safety equipment such as a ventilation mask and a face mask or safety glasses when doing this. Once the outline has been completely cut out we recommend using a power drill to drill into the grout lines of all of the bricks you wish to remove as shown in the illustration below. The grout line is the weakest part of the brick wall and once the holes are drilled, the bricks should come out very easy.

You may still need to use a hammer and chisel for the removal of the bricks. Be sure to take your time. If you get going to fast and remove many bricks in one go, you might accidentally take out a few bricks you were not supposed to! Also, you don't want to damage the bricks you remove. Try to keep them whole, since you never know when you will need them later and it is much easier to have the same colored bricks as back ups just in case you need them later on for some other project.

If You Are Replacing An Existing Door In A Brick Wall

If you are replacing an existing door then you will need remove the existing door and frame. First look at the door frame for any visible anchors. If there are screw holes in the door frame, loosen them. If not, then the old door frame most likely was mortared into the wall by wire anchors or tee anchors. We recommend using a hammer and chisel to loosen up the door frame. Typically the door frame is filled in with mortar, so it will need to be hammered and broken loose. Be careful not to damage any of the bricks when doing this step. Eventually, through digilent work the mortar should break loose using the hammer and chisel. If any of the anchors are present such as existing wire anchors or tee anchors, you may need to use the grinder to detach them from the door frame. Once the door frame is removed clean the rough opening by getting rid of any mortar that might be sticking out, and get ready for the new door frame installation!

Step 3: Installing The Door Frame

We recommend a door frame with punch and dimple anchors. A punch and dimple anchor is also known as existing opening anchors or pipe and strap anchors. They are designed to be used with masonry sleeve stud anchors and provide structural support to the door frame, so that the frame does not flex when secured to the brick wall. The punch and dimple anchors are welded into the door frame. The door frame is pre-punched with holes that line up with each tube anchor.

So first set the door frame into the brick wall's rough opening. Place a wood spreader at the base of the frame and the center.

Plumb the door frame and use a square on each door frame corner.

Once the frame is level, identify the pre-punched holes in the door frame. Use a power drill to drill a 3/8" diameter hole into the brick no less than 4". Next use a hammer to pound in the 3/8" x 4" sleeve anchor bolts. Carefully tighten the anchor bolts until the door frame is secure.

Step 4: Hang The Door

Attach the door the to the door frame using hinges. Be sure to shim the door so there is even space between the door and frame, when the door is in the closed position.