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removing front door frame from 1960's style house

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  1. #1
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    Default removing front door frame from 1960's style house

    hi guys,
    i want to remove my existing door frame to replace it with a new frame that is stained instead of painted and will be a standard frame instead of something that will require a custom door.
    The house is a double brick exterior wall.
    I have pulled the trims off around the frame and it looks like the frame is secured to some blocks of wood between the 2 brick walls.
    I want to pull it out in one hit as i assume it will take me a little while to get the new door and frame in place properly, or at the least save the foot step part as i would like to strip it and re-use it (i am not able to buy a replacement that is as thick as that piece..it is approx 65mm thick and i can only get a 42mm thick piece of meranti to replace it with..the same wood as my new replacement door jambs so the complications of making up the extra 2 cm odd seems harder than just stripping and re-using)
    but how does it come out.
    the jamb and stop appear to be one piece
    the top lintel appears to be wider than the brick work frame (this doesn't appear to be a problem though because there aren't bricks on the inside of the house at the top where the lintel is so i can see the edge on one side clearly enough and assume the same is true on the other side)
    on each side of the frame there it appears that the jamb is attached to what looks like 2 blocks of wood each side....I don't know if these blocks of wood are secured in anyway other than to the frame, i assume this is more to keep the frame in place rather than to secure it to the brickwork.
    I thought if i can get these blocks of wood out, the frame should theoretically pull inside as one piece.
    I have stripped the paint off around the frame where i thought this block of wood was secured but i can't see a nail or anything so i assume the block was secured to the frame from the back.
    this leaves me even more confused as to how the frame goes into the cavity and how i get it out.
    Does anyone know how these old frames are usually installed into double brick homes?
    the era of the home is the 60's in the tonsley area in adelaide (working class/old trust area type build) if that gives an idea of how the house was constructed.
    pics below of frame...

    this is the edge of the top lintel, you can see the end of it so i assume it pulls out this way (to the inside of the house)

    this is the door hinge side of the frame there are 2 blocks of wood roughly a third up the door and two thirds up the door

    a close up of the block of wood connected to the frame. if peer through the small gap between the brick and frame, the block of wood is about 20 cm long, 5 cm wide (roughly the width of the double brick cavity) and 2cm deep so it is not exactly a big piece of securing structural wood, you can see i stripped the paint on the frame to see if i could remove some nails that could possibly be connected to it but it appears that it was secured to the frame from the block of wood not to the block of wood from the frame.

    the bottom step...i didn't know if this was important to working out how it was secured for someone so i took the photo anyway.


    Any ideas how to remove the frame at all?
    cheers
    Barnsey

  2. #2
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    The timber frame was positioned before the brickwork went up. You will find that the frame is secured by galvanised steel straps nailed onto the back of the frame and bent 90 degree to be embeded into the mortar joints on the internal brick wall.

    Your best way to remove the frame would be to run a saw cut across/through the door jambs cutting them in half and then lever/pull out.

  3. #3
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    so i guess that is a reason why the bricks on top of the top part of the frame doesn't have that really solid piece of metal plate like all the internal doors seem to have (to support the bricks) and why there are cut outs for that top jamb.
    ie they didn't cut each end off when the frame went in and just bricked around the ends instead.
    this might proove interesting getting the new frame in now, it would mean the only way i can secure the new frame would be to nail into the internal bricks but then i have to cover up an ugly huge nail hole as opposed to hopefully securing the frame under where the door stop would be...and theoretically it would be easier to lever the jamb out as it isn't secured to the external bricks in any way
    (i will post a picture of what i mean later, currently work doesn't appear to like me uploading pictures to photobucket)

  4. #4
    1K Club Member autogenous's Avatar
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    Cut the frame in the centre of either Jamb.

    Using a Jimmy bar or small crow bar (flat) lever the cut jambs inwards and the jambs will pull from the frame straps which should be clouted in. You maybe able to lever the straps and clouts out or cut the straps once you get a look at where the straps are.

    Probably 5 a side but maybe 4.

    There will also possibly be cavity blocks so it is important that the jambs come away inline with the wall inwards.

    The straps should pull from the nails. Cut the sill and the head in the centre too and do the same levering in the centre near the cut to strip them out.
    https://www.instagram.com/perth_bricklayer_wa

  5. #5
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    well that solves the 'wanting to remove in one piece' hope. Oh well.
    now for securing the new frame....
    for the internal walls it was easy as i could just drill 2 holes into a brick, one slightly off the centre to the left, and the other off to the right but both suitably centred so i could cocer the nails and spaghetti with the door stops.
    Alas it doesn't look like i will have that luxury with the front door as there won't be anything to secure it to where the door stop will go to cover the nail and spaghetti.
    any suggestions for securing it? ideally i don't want to see the chunky big holes where it was secured.
    pic below of what i mean.
    thanks for the help so far, i am hoping to make this as seamless as possible so that there is minimal time in which the house doesn't have a front door, thus avoiding any possible pitfalls before they arise.

  6. #6
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    This may sound naive, but can you simply get a wider jamb? That or move the jamb forward and backfill the gap between the edge of the doorframe and the internal linings.

    Alternatively make a reveal fixed to the internal and external brickwork (with a moulding on the outside edge to soften the transition to the brickwork) and then fix the doorframe to that - this would require the frame to be narrowed by the thickness of the reveal. In essence this is just making the jamb wider anyway.....

    How protected the front door is from the elements may affect the viability of the above suggestions.

  7. #7
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    the widest the door/timber place was able to supply me for the jamb was 42mmx140mm
    so the 140mm covers all of the internal side of the brick and to the inside edge of the outside brick.
    an obvious solution would be to bring the door jamb forward slightly so that it straddles both the internal and external brick and secure with a single nail to both sides, this would mean it won't laterally move and would be secured to both internal and external bricks.
    BUT then i have to deal with the unsightly nail and spaghetti holes...
    hmm i wonder if i used slightly bigger hinges and one of the holes was used to go through the hinge, jamb and into the brick... same thing for the other side with the screen door, ie hide the gaping hole under the hinge?

  8. #8
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    have you considered putting timber blocks into wall space make them interference fit and use construction adhesive then you can just fix door frame to the blocks
    Some people are like slinkies - not really good for anything, but they
    bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs .

  9. #9
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    how good is the construction adhesive going to be to hold the block of wood in place?
    i like the idea, but it would highly depend on the ability of the the blocks to stay in place while i hammer a nail into it and then over 20+ years for the adhesive to not fail...
    i have never used construction adhesive so i don't know how strong the stuff is.

  10. #10
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    well i attempted to get the frame out today, i cut through the jamb set near the bottom and proceeded to pull the frame out.
    it was held in on the inside brickwork onlythe blocks of wood attached to the frame from the back were just to keep the frame centered but were not attached to the wall in any way
    the only way the frame was held to the brickwork was by 2 metal straps whith 2 nails in them.
    Again this confuses me how the frame was installed into the brickwork because i can't see how the nails would have been hammered into the frame unless they did a few internal lbrick layers, put the strap in to the mortar, bent it at right angles and hammered a couple of nails into it and the frame before proceeding to to the next layer of bricks.
    I am still struggling to get the rest of the frame out though, that being the bottom parts of the jamb connected to the base board.
    It appears as thought the jambs are somehow morticed into the baseboard as well as nails, and again the board is wider than the internal brickwork so i simply cannot get it out as a whole without cutting it
    i am still trying to get the jambs out of each side (i can get a crowbar under it but for some reason it still won't pry upwards and i can't seem to cut through whatever is holding it there with the tools i have available). but if that fails it looks like i will have to get a new baseboard.

  11. #11
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    i would screw frame (using batten screws) once blocks are attached to frame it wont move unless brickwalls come down then cover with door stop
    Some people are like slinkies - not really good for anything, but they
    bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs .

  12. #12
    1K Club Member autogenous's Avatar
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    Jam cavity blocks (300 long) into the cavity 3 per side.(top, bottom and middle) Drill into the new frame and fit heavy screws through the frame to the cavity blocks centre to where the door stop will be.

    Fix the door stop over the screws.

    Batten or Quarter round the frame jambs where you may see gaps.
    https://www.instagram.com/perth_bricklayer_wa

  13. #13
    1K Club Member autogenous's Avatar
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    Here's something I prepared earlier
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails newdoorframe.jpg  
    https://www.instagram.com/perth_bricklayer_wa

  14. #14
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    well it turns out that the internal brick was somewhat more closer to the centre of the door jamb than i had thought it would be.
    i was able to get 2 nails into the internal brickwork and still be under the door stop by skewing the outside one a little bit.
    the frame doesn't laterally twist either and when i put up some quarter round or whatever around the frame, it should come up like apples
    I also gave the cavity a little bit of mortar to fill in the void slightly in preparation for some selleys no more large gaps to create a sound seal around the whole frame without using masses of the product (i did try working out how to secure some battens in there but the angle on the nails to secure to the brickwork looked like it would be too hard and there wasn't really a flat surface either due to the mortar from the brickwork).
    I was able to save the bottom foot board also although now it is no longer connected to the door jambs (wow the original method is somewhat impressive and sturdy i must say, i used a combination of standard saw, hacksaw blade and chisel to get the jamb stubs out of the board.)
    To my knowledge, the foot board is essentially loose and not secured to anything other than the bricks themselves holding it in place. but it sanded back alright bar one or 2 grains of the existing pink paint and came up reasonably with some lacquer applied.

    i will post photos of the installed door when i get home for prosperity and assistance to others.
    thanks for all the help

  15. #15
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    you guys are wonderful

    installed door:


    method used to install door frame (note the architrave or quarter round still needs to be installed and i still need to fill in the void before doing that):


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