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How To Install A Steel Door In An Existing Block Wall

As with most building owners or contractors, a new door and frame is often needed in order to replace an already existing broken door. In this article we explain how to install a steel door in an existing block wall. Maybe your building was broken into late last night, and the vandals destroyed the door and frame in the process of entering your building. Or maybe your rear steel exit door was accidentally backed into by a moving or loading truck. Or it might be as simple as your steel door is very old and doesn't look the best and you want a new door. Whatever the case may be, we are here to cover every aspect of how to replace that old door in your block wall and install a brand new one.

Step 1: Remove Old Door

Remove your old steel door and frame. The easiest way is to first remove the door hinges and separate the door from the frame. Since the original door was most likely installed when the building was first constructed, then the anchor types used were probably masonry wire anchors or masonry tee anchors. If this is those anchors will need to be cut. Remove the floor anchor and saw off the wire anchors so the door frame can be removed from the block wall.

Step 2: Installing New Anchors On Door Frame

You will have been furnished with a pipe and strap anchor also known as punch and dimple anchors. Loose anchors are installed by forcing the anchor between the inside of the rabbet and the return. Put anchor into place at an angle and twist until horizontal. Be sure holes through anchor are lined up with the hole in the frame stop.

Step 3: Confirm Rough Opening

For an existing block wall installation, the door frame is designed to butt against the wall. The recommended through dimensions of an existing opening in masonry wall is:
Rough Opening Height = Frame Height + 2-1/4"
Rough Opening Width = Frame Width + 4-1/2"

Step 4: Set Door Frame

Place the door frame into the rough opening.

Step 5: Install Wood Spreader

Install the wood spreader into the bottom of the door frame. If your door frame was welded and came with spreader bar, be sure to remove it, and replace with a wood spreader. This is to ensure that the door frame is level. The spreader bar is not an accurate jig. Next, add another wood spreader in the middle of the frame.

Step 6: Plumb Jambs, Header, and Square Corners

Level the door jambs. Then level the frame head. Finally square all corners of the door frame.

Step 7: Pre-drill For Anchors

Next drill 3/8" diameter holes no less than 1-3/8" into the masonry wall.

Step 8: Install Anchor Bolts

Use 3/8" x 4" sleeve anchor bolts to secure the door frame to the masonry wall.