How to Install a Door in a Block Foundation
Block foundations are building foundations made out of concrete blocks rather than poured concrete. In the event that you do not have an exterior entryway to the base level of the building, which in most homes sums up to be the basement area, you can install your own. It is advisable to first contact an architect before you go about filling your wheelbarrow with dirt. He should be able to do an overall assessment and determine the durability of the block foundation to the nature of your project. He can also point you out to the best location to construct your door. This done, let us look into a way of installing a wooden door into your block foundation.
Step 1 – Begin with Excavation
From outside the building, use a shovel to excavate an area of about 6 feet square to expose the foundation. Most basements are located a few feet into the ground. Do not forget to create a degreed slope on either side as you dig to prevent a cave-in.
Step 2 - The Opening
Once you have established the precise location for your door on the block foundation, use the tape measure to mark out the opening. It should be at least 3 inches wider than the door frame all round. Leave extra inches above to fit in the steel lintel that will support the load above the door, which should extend at least 6 inches on either side of the door. If you want a threshold, make provisions for this also. Keep in mind that all these measurements are subject to the size of your door.
Use the sledge hammer and the mason chisel to cut through the area you marked out on the blocks. You can also use a concrete saw for this task although this option is noisy and you cannot have anyone standing near you as you go about it. These cuts can also be made from the inside of your basement, as it must be more appealing than the dug out murk you created outside.
Step 3 – Installing the Door
The wall opening should be an even edge so if you created hollows during your cutting, fill this in with sludge, mortar or wood.
Above the door, install the steel lintel then fix in your door frame. Make sure that it is as centered as possible in the opening. Use a level if necessary to determine an accurate fitting. The frame should have a jamb depth equal to the thickness of the wall. Drill 2 holes each as close to the corners as possible and on all sides of your frame all the way into the block. Some frames already come with punched in holes. Fix anchor bolts into these holes using the screwdriver to fasten them as you go along.
Attach the hinges to the frame then attach them when you are done to the door itself. The spacing between the door and the frame jamb should be equal all around.
Add the caulk to the seams between the frame and the block or add trim around the door, whichever you prefer.