House Renovations – Knocking down doors

Our house is over 100 years old – and over the years, people have made some (strange) decisions about the layout. We have 3 bedrooms, the biggest of which is at the front of the house, with the stairs separating it from the other rooms across the hall way.

Over the stairs, is a cupboard. It has a radiator in it, and some closed off water pipes. There’s a vent in the wall, so we assume this was once where the boiler lived, some kind of airing cupboard. The door to enter this room was in the 2nd bedroom, despite it backing on to the main double bedroom at the front of the house.

We were never too sure about what to do with this cupboard – it’s big, plenty big enough for a toilet, basin and shower. So of course, I was thinking “whack an ensuite in there, job done”. I emptied the cupboard out, and took the floorboards up to see what was going on plumbing wise.

There are two pipes running up to the room, I guess it’s the loop from the old boiler, so probably cold water. Which is fine for an ensuite, but my biggest issue was how to handle the waste. I could have drilled through to the outside wall, and plumbed in a waste pipe to join the main waste pipe, but to be honest, it really wasn’t worth it.

So with all that in mind, we decided the best thing to do was to close off the door in the second bedroom (Graysons room) and to add a new door in our bedroom, to make a large walk-in wardrobe.

Never one to hold back (!), I checked the wall for pipes and cables, and without any further consideration, started to smash through a doorway.

The wall was just a stud wall, not load bearing at all.

Please do not start smashing down walls in your house unless you know what they are doing. If a wall is load bearing, you can’t just knock it down. Please please please check first!

The wall, pre-knocking down. I’ve marked out where I want the door to be, around where the existing stud work is.
Took the glass blocks out first to check what was going on inside the wall. All clear to demolish…..!
Plaster removal

Once started, the dust from Plasterboard was insane. I had the hoover running most of the time whilst working on this – it didn’t help much, but it was removing some of the mess at least.

I also can’t emphasise how important it is to have a good, sharp saw for things like this. These studs needed cutting out and moving to create the frame for the door – so a good saw made cutting them really simple.

I’ve never fitted a door (like most DIY jobs in this house, I’ve never done most of them before!). The most important thing; get the frame square. If you don’t, you’re in for a world of pain when it comes to fitting the door itself. No one wants to be planing inches off a door to get it to fit, so make sure you find a door that fits the space you have as close as possible, before knocking the stuffing out of the wall!

Here you can see the frame in place. There was, of course, some residual damage to the plasterboard around where I knocked through and fitted the door frame – which was to be expected. This got filled and sanded down.

I also had to move a plug socket – again, if you are not happy doing this, then simply don’t risk it. If you do decide to tackle it, please please please ensure you turn off the electricity, and use an electrical insulated screwdriver to ensure that you are a bit more protected, should anything go wrong. If in any doubt, then just get an electrician in. Ok? Good.

Once the door was fitted, we added some carpet and hanging rails inside the (now) wardrobe. We have half the space each, and there’s plenty of space for drawers, rails and shoe racks, so we don’t have to lose any space in our bedroom with wardrobes and such.

The finished product, with the door in our master bedroom. We’ve blocked the other door off now, in Graysons room. You can read about his bedroom here

The old door in the 2nd (Graysons) Bedroom
Removed and plastered up

It now means the master bedroom has a walk in wardrobe, which could become an en-suite if we ever get the urge.

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