In construction made of wood and drywall or plaster, wooden door frames are usually used for door installation. However, when the walls are built of masonry bricks or blocks, a steel door frame is preferred: This is because masonry walls retain moisture and steel is more moisture resistant than wood. Steel will not rot, warp or decay as a wood frame would in a masonry wall. Steel doors and their frames are usually installed during construction of masonry walls, but there are times when a new steel door and frame needs to be installed in an existing masonry door opening with special door anchors called expansion bolts.
If you need to install a door in a masonry wall, read on for all you need to know.
Select the Right Door Frame
A typical steel frame door frame that is intended for installation in masonry walls will have a four-inch header to accommodate the width of the masonry. Before purchasing a door, measure the thickness of the walls; the width of the door frame should equal this measurement. Next, measure the size of the door opening: With regards to the size of the door, the door frame should be 1/2 –inch less than the width of the opening and ¼-inch shorter than the height; this will ensure that the door fits properly into the opening. A masonry door will already have dimples punched into its surface so that wall anchors can be inserted.
How to Install the Steel Door Frame
Before the door can be installed, you must use a drill bit to create holes in the masonry so that the frame can be secured to the masonry walls. To do this, measure the location of each dimpled opening on the door frame and mark those locations on the wall; be sure to double check your measurements before drilling the holes into the wall. Set the metal door frame into the opening and align it with your pre-drilled holes. Use expansion bolts to attach the frame as directed on the packaging; some expansion bolts are hammered into place while some are set with a ramset gun. After the frame is in place, the steel door can be hung in normal fashion.
Installing a Steel Door Frame before Masonry Walls are Built
In new construction, the steel door frame may be installed before the masonry walls are built. The width of the door frame should be the same as the width of the planned finished walls and should be fitted with wire or T-strap anchors. Follow the architectural plans to locate the position of the door and set the frame in its designated place; level the frame, using shims if necessary. The base of the door frame will have sill anchors that can be used to secure the door frame to the concrete floor using concrete bolts. The door frame should be firmly braced to keep it from moving until the walls are built. When the walls are built, wire or T-strap anchors on the door frame will be fastened between the bricks or masonry blocks to permanently secure the door.
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