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Cutting a hole in a brick wall

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by nola mike, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. nola mike

    nola mike Feeling the Heat

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    Thinking about a direct vent v. vent free heater for my upstairs bedroom. Would prefer vented, but am concerned about what's involved and if it's structurally ok to cut a 7" or so hole in my 12" 100 yo brick wall...

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  2. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I'd hate to see you have to cut into brick that old.
    Could you go through the roof? There are roof mount coaxial vent/supply pipes for direct vent units.
    We used to have a direct vent stove in our fireplace that used two co-linear 3" dia. pipes that terminated at the top of our chimney 25 ft. above.
  3. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    The co-linear vent kit is for fireplace inserts or in the case of Regency (& possibly some other mfrs.), DV fireplaces, that are vented thru an existing flue.... I agree though, vent your unit vertically & preserve your 100-yr-old brick wall. If you can install your DV unit in a corner, you can conceal the vertical venting with a false wall that will STILL leave you room for a mantel shelf. The vent will pass thru a flashing on the roof with a storm collar & if installed correctly, will not leak...
  4. ROVERT

    ROVERT Member

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    You'll be fine with a hole of that size. Even if you have to take out a full two bricks worth, that only exposes one single brick to the risk of falling.

    Here's a pic that gives you an idea:

    [​IMG]

    I personally would go through the wall rather than the ceiling and roof. That is just my choice though.

    With little care, you should be able to remove two full bricks and two halves doing very little damage to the bricks. This should leave you with a hole as big as you need and leave no bricks unsupported. If you ever wanted to close the hole back up, it could be done quite neatly with the salvaged bricks.
  5. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Consider a core bore for round holes in brick. I drill some ridiculously expensive/old stone/brick whatever with my core rig. It cuts with a grinding action, no impact so damage is very unlikely.
    LEES WOOD-CO likes this.
  6. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I'm probably not understanding your comment.
    We've had two different DV units, one freestanding (Jotul Allagash) and one built-in (Heatilator). Both could be used with coaxial flues. The Jotul was later converted from coaxial to co-linear for use inside an existing fireplace with ceramic flue. The coaxial setup for the (freestanding) Allagash is shown below.

    [​IMG]
  7. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    You caught me. I corrected my original post. I had my "Cos" mixed up. Apologies..
  8. greg13

    greg13 Feeling the Heat

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    There's NO way I would want to try to hold a hand held core rig with a 7" bit on it!!! That's just asking for trouble.
  9. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    I've never seen or used a hand held core drill with 7" bit.1" to 5" dry cutting bits for cutting brick/block,softer stone & non-reinforced concrete are available with 5/8-11 threaded arbor holes to fit heavy duty 7" or 9" electric angle grinders though.What would work is using the 4 holes in the base that regular sized 'floor model' rigs have to anchor them to a brick,concrete or stone wall with 3/8" or 1/2" wedge anchors.

    Takes 2 people to set it up & anchor it obviously,plus scaffold,heavy saw horses with 2 x 12's across them or similar staging.Like certain other procedures it often takes more time/effort to get things ready & then tear it down than doing the actual job.
  10. ROVERT

    ROVERT Member

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    We've bolted our core drill to walls on several occasions where blocking it up wasn't practical. We usually just drill a 1/2 hole the whole way through the wall and then bolt the drill on with a piece of all thread. We typically drill through basement walls, so another small hole isn't a big deal.

    For brick, especially on a second story, I wouldn't go to the hassle of setting up the core drill. Just drill out the mortar and remove the bricks.
  11. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Me neither. That's why I said core rig.
    I routinely hang my rig from one anchor bolt, if the vacuum pump will not hold it.
  12. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    No apology required. I wasn't trying to "catch" you and didn't realize I had. I just didn't understand your response and wanted to clarify that I'd definitely seen both coaxial and co-linear direct vent systems (my terms for them, they may have others).
    Cheers.
  13. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Structurally I wouldn't think it's an issue. Most times I've caused a problem in old brick has been from drilling inside-out. Keep this in mind.

    If you don't want to drill the brick I've used a grinder with a masonry blade to remove the mortar and loosen the bricks with very little impact.
  14. nola mike

    nola mike Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah, that's what I thought. Seems like a huge PITA. Going through the roof means going through either a) 100 year old slate or b) going horizontally to get to 100 year old tin. Neither is particularly appealing. I think the wall is 3 courses of brick thick, so knocking out individual bricks would likely not work.
  15. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    You would only knock out the individual bricks on the inside and outside layers, the middle layer you could just bust out. Old bricks are usually pretty easy to break if you want them to.

    Through the slate would be the easiest and most easily reversible. Just place the hole the best you can so that you minimize the amount of slate cutting that will need to be done.
  16. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    I'd rather go through a dozen course of brick than touch a slate roof.
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  17. greg13

    greg13 Feeling the Heat

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    Well, Since it is brick a vacuum base is out of the question. Trying to bolt 100 pounds of core rig to a wall is difficult at best. I think the best option would be to remove enough bricks to make the hole, cut the circular pattern on the outside remaining bricks and re install.
    Any way you do it, it is not going to be a fun job.
  18. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Not really, I have done it countless times. The core drill is easily the best, easiest solution, as well as causing the least damage, especially since the wall is so thick.
  19. nola mike

    nola mike Feeling the Heat

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    Where does one get a core drill? Sounds like I'd have to pay to have it done...
  20. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    You could look into renting. Plumbers and electricians sometimes own them, otherwise a concrete cutting company. During this economy, the fee could be somewhat negotiable.
  21. greg13

    greg13 Feeling the Heat

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    Any rental house should have them, I know we have 4 or 5 of the core rigs plus a few hand held.
  22. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    I'd look at both options of renting vs renting the job out. You have to rent the bit as well as the drill, and often the quality of the bit is suspect. Come to think of it you might have a hard time finding that size hole in your average rental shop.

    A 7" hole is not a small hole. You have to be careful with the machine, the setup, a lot of stuff. If the difference between renting and hiring was $100 I'd hire it out, and I've spent weeks of my life staring at a core rig.
    Dune likes this.
  23. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    I had a concrete cutting company core a 4" dryer vent through my basement wall. Took em less than an hour total, maybe 5 mins for the cut. A few hundred $$ IIRC.

    I'd at least get a quote.

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