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Timber frame and brick skin house - replacing door and window with patio door
We're renovating our kitchen and thinking of replacing an aluminium sliding door and regular window with a big set of bifold doors. My specific question is because our house is timber framed and all the info I can find on line is geared to 'normal' brick cavity or solid brick walls.
Our house is timber framed with a single layer brick skin on the outside. The construction seems to be: timber frame with a plywood skin, then a gap (? not sure about this) and then the single brick skin. It was built in 1981 by Laing and is a pretty bog standard kind of house for its type.
The region in question is the back wall (ground floor of a 2 floor house). There is a 1800mm sliding door, then about 600mm of wall, then a 1200mm window - all of which I want to swap for a big opening with (3.6m) bifolds. The width of the whole wall (well our side, it's a semi) is 4.5m so the opening would be most of the width of the house. The current openings (door and window) each have a soldier course of bricks above with some kind of metal support just visible - the brick wall in between is normal brickwork. By the way, the windows upstairs have the same configurations, so the bit of wall between window and sliding door goes all the way up, between the windows upstairs to the eaves. I imagine it has some great big wooden beams in it that are holding the house up.
So basically - first I'm wondering whether the wall between the window and sliding door *can* be taken out (for example, whether this would contain some cross bracing which is essential for the rigidity of the structure) and secondly what this would involve - would you put in an RSJ to hold up the brick wall above, and how does this relate to the timber structure?
Thanks, I realise if we are going to actually do this I would need to get a builder in to quote on the specific job, but am trying to 'read up' first and figure out the possibilities and I just can't find anything online about timber frame construction with brick skin.
Hi, the simple answer is yes you can fit a bifold door by forming a bigger construction opening, removing the brickwork panel in the process.
The existing outer brick skin and the inner timber frame will be tied together using metal ties, and the masonry above the existing window and door openings will be "held up" by existing steel lintels as you indicate. These existing lintels would be removed and replaced by one single longer lintel that would need to be specified by a structural engineer, who would also advise on the installation of additional ties to tie the timber frame to the brickwork, as you will be removing some when you take away the existing panel of brickwork between the existing door and window.
To sum up ENGAGE A STRUCTURAL ENGINEER! and make sure you submit a building notice to the local authority and obtain a completion certificate from it, so that any future sale of the property is not delayed.
Answered 13th Aug 2013