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Question DetailsAsked on 1/31/2016

move exterior doorway in brick wall

We have a small Philadelphia brownstone and we're considering our options regarding a kitchen remodel. the kitchen is in the back of the house. The back exterior brick wall, which is 11 foot wide, has a doorway in the corner of the room. This limits the kitchen layout greatly. We were wondering what it would cost to move the doorway to the center of the wall so that the kitchen could accommodate a galley kitchen floorplan.

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Cost would depend greatly on several things:

1) size of doorway opening, if more than normal 36" width

2) whether the brownstone is in good condition (and able to handle a temporary opening till the reinforcing metal framing is put in place), or if ti is going to need significant temporary support during construction.

3) whether there is any significant support member above the new door location that is going to require unusual support - say an end support for a doorway or porch or such at the next level up, or if your brownstone is the type that has periodic columns (stone or concrete) built into the wall as the primary support for the building, if one of those comes down where the new door would be.

4) what you are going to need in the way of porch, steps, etc from new door to ground

5) what you are going to do about rain/snow control at the door - porch or shed roof, awning, etc.

Cost - if using an architect for this, he/she should be able to give you a ballpark as part of the conceptual or preliminary construction cost estimate.

I would say I would be VERY surprised, in a brownstone, if you got into the normal $500 - 1000 range for a wood frame house door move (with reused door or new box store quality door included). You don't say if you are planning on reusing the existing door and frame or get a new one, but I would count on ballpark $1000 plus or minus a few hundred PROVIDED none of the cost-increasing factors in 1) through 5) add to the cost. You might get lucky and get the door move ONLY (no porch, steps, roof, etc) in the $500-800 range if conditions are ideal - but I would not count on it. If have also seen door relocates like this cost a couple of thousand in structures where the temporary opening could not be counted on supporting itself, or where the door frame has to be solid stone pieces rather than steel for aesthetic purposes.

Make sure you get a General Contractor (possibly your kitchen remodel one) who has done cut-throughs for a door in brownstone a number of times before. Use an inexperienced one and you could end up with serious wall damage - structural and/or aesthetic, because brownstone is a weak rock in the first place, and is likely a quite old place so it likely has weakened joints at least here and there, and probably some locked-in settlement stresses from the years gone by, so cutting a hole through it can cause unpleasant issues to an inexperienced Worker - I have seen partial wall collapses from homeowners and handymen attempting this. If your GC does not have this experience, require (or have it done yourself) that an experienced Masonry contractor do the cut-through and the plate steel or inverted channel (I much prefer this) reinforced framing needed to support the opening. My recommendation - do NOT allow just wood framing for the opening - require welded or seriously bolted heavy steel frameout tied into the brownstone joints, which the doorframe is then installed in.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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