Header Decisions

It’s amazing how many post I can write about a door opening! Nothing is ever simple in a concrete block house. Read about the whole process (1, 2, 3).

Door propped up

With the rough door opening cut, we had to decide what sort of support we were going to install above the door opening. Traditionally, a wood header or metal lintel would be installed to support the blocks above the doorway. Plus, we really needed to extend the header 6″ on either side of the door opening to support the weight, but the wall doesn’t even have that clearance.

Our second thought was just to take out all the blocks above the door frame and the doorway. We knew the wall was not load-bearing, so removing it wouldn’t be too difficult. Once it was out, we could re-frame the entire wall with wood and build the header into it.

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All this talk about headers made us start to wonder what support was above the bathroom so we decided to investigate.

Bathroom door header

What we found was old termite damage along the whole concrete side of the doorway that needed to be replaced. It was very similar to the damage we found in our master bathroom.

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With this latest development, taking out the remaining blocks above and next to the door was an easy decision. Now we could replace everything at once.

Nate cutting concrete

So early Saturday morning, Nate cut and broke out the remaining concrete blocks (with Dean’s handy diamond blade).

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This time, we successfully put up a plastic barrier to keep the concrete dust contained so cleaning was pretty easy.

The boys building out our door frame #dadsarerad

My dad came over midday to help us with the framing. I know I say this a lot, but Nate and I are total novices at this stuff, so we really are thankful to have knowledgeable family, friends and neighbors around to help us work on these projects.

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First thing we did was replace the termite damaged wood above the bathroom doorway with a solid blocked support. It was important to have this header in, so we would could secure the wall framing later on.

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Next we built the frame for the closet doorway outside to order.

Framing the wall

We laid out all the pieces and then secured them so we could bring the whole framed piece into the house.

Frame built and ready to be installed.

Unfortunately, we ran into a snag when we tried to install the frame, but let me catch my breath and tell that story in the next post.

Next up, finicky concrete block throws us a curve ball…

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