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  • Lisa Gardener

Blocking up an external doorway

Renovations offer many opportunities to rearrange existing spaces - and this often goes hand-in-hand with changing the position of doorways and windows

There are plenty of reasons why renovators decide to block up existing external openings. Perhaps the existing layout of the house would benefit from the front door moving to one side, or even to a different wall, or maybe the back door is no longer needed due to a new extension.

Whatever your reasons, it's essential to get the job spot on, both from an appearance perspective and a structural one.

Getting started

You should begin by choosing the materials that you plan on blocking your opening up with. This will very much depend on the final finish of the wall.

If the wall is going to be rendered externally, using blockwork may be an option, whereas if you want the new brickwork to blend seamlessly with the surrounding brick walls, you are going to have to spend time finding a good match.

You also need to assess the type of wall you are dealing with - something that will depend on the age of the house.

Preparing the opening

Before blocking up can begin, the opening needs to be cleared. Take out the door, lining and any architrave to leave you with a clear opening. You may need to remove screws and wall plugs flush to the wall. Sometimes bricks above the doorway will have been laid in a different bond or will arch - these should be removed so that there is no evidence that a doorway existed.

It is not uncommon in old houses to find that linings extend into the floor at the bottom - if you find this to be the case, saw through the lining so that it is flush with the floor and prise it away.

Internally, the plasterwork needs to be cut back around the opening - around 15cm should suffice.

Brush loose material and dust off the inside faces of the bricks.

Before the opening can be filled in, a damp-proof membrane should be laid at the base of the wall.

Tying into the existing wall

With the opening fully cleared and prepared, you or your bricklayer can begin to fill it in. There are several ways to do this, but the brick bond method tends to be regarded as one of the best in terms of aesthetics and strength.

This method involves removing half bricks from either side of the opening at every fourth course. This is usually done by chiselling or drilling the mortar out around the half brick to be removed before knocking it. The new bricks can then be laid to match the existing brick course. At every fourth course, a whole uncut brick is inserted into the gap by the removal of the old half brick.

Finishing touches

Once the opening has been blocked up, the wall can be plastered internally.

Externally, take care to match existing mortar. For a truly seamless match, some people choose to repoint the entire wall.


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