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I'm redoing a bathroom and would like to add a window (36x12) in the shower. This involves cutting through brick. A contractor I spoke with said he could cut it with a angle grinder (diamond blade?), but wasn't all that confident. The brick would be cut on the mortar on the horizontal but would still show unfinished edges on the vertical. So, my questions are: is the angle grinder an appropriate tool to cut brick, and are there any dos/don'ts for cutting brick? And, What are my options to cover the exposed brick cuts and make the window opening look professional? I won't be able to match the other windows since they have brick detail around the window which I don't think can be replicated

Here's a photo. The window would be aligned at the top of the other windows and be about a 36" x 12" awning

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try this page, 3rd post –  jberger Apr 7 '12 at 15:49
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Is that wall load bearing? If it is, there seems to be two windows either side and so you could be cutting away at a wall that supports the lintol for the two windows on wither side. If you are not sure I would definitely seek advice on this one before cutting. –  Ian Turner Apr 10 '12 at 12:52
    
Thanks for all the great suggestions. I decided not to do it because it seemed to be a lot of expense for perhaps little gain. I'm sure the responses here will help others. –  Andrew Apr 13 '13 at 15:58
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2 Answers 2

I won’t say I'm an expert; I've worked with someone doing something similar in the past and may at least give you some guidance.

Personally, I would use a concrete saw (larger blade than an angle grinder) and/or a chisel to cut the opening. Make sure you have help as you DO NOT want to drop the removed section(s). You can use these bricks later (see below).

Don't forget the header. I know I'm using the wrong term, but I'm referring to the steel plate that holds up the brick over the window.

I would then use a chisel to remove the halved bricks and either turn them around or replace them with good ones from the removed section.

I would also recommend that you at least talk with a mason. They may be able to replicate the detail work around the window with the bricks from the removed section.

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The steel plate is known as a lintel. +1 and welcome to the site. –  BMitch Apr 8 '12 at 11:37
    
The lintel can be concrete as well as steel. It just needs to span the opening (plus enough to bond into the walls) and be strong enough to support the wall above the window. –  ChrisF Apr 8 '12 at 12:05
    
Don't forget the water. If you keep the bricks wet while you cut, you'll produce less dust. It will be messy, so thick leather gloves, safety goggles, and a good dust mask. –  Tester101 Apr 8 '12 at 13:41
    
Where would I find a mason or someone with the skills to handle this task? –  Andrew Apr 8 '12 at 14:59
    
A good general contractor will be able to outsource knowledgeable people for this job, if he doesn't already have a guy who can do this working for him. It sounds like the GC you talked to doesn't meet that description of "good"; look harder. One thing; when looking for a GC you simply cannot do too much research. Check the BBB for complaints. Get references for the type of work you want him to do (in this case find someone else who needed brick cut for a window or door) and follow up, in-person. There are PLENTY of people happy to take your money who have no clue how to do the job. –  KeithS Apr 9 '12 at 15:06
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You will be able to use a 9 inch angle grinder with a 230mm blade. I've done lots of them, although I'm a retired bricklayer and can confirm it's very tricky. Go to any hardware store for your masonry blade its cheaper than a diamond tip ($5 to buy one blade, which will do the job). I've never used a concrete saw because they are too heavy and too expensive ($120 a day to hire).

Start by using a plumb level to mark out the area with white chalk. It's not a load bearing wall so you will be ok. Then stand on two woodensaw horses: plank them out with 4 or 5 planks (don't laugh - I always put safety first and never had an accident in 55 years of using the blade). Start by cutting out the perps, not the horizontals; they will come out easier. Then you will be able to take out a couple of bricks from the centre panel to get at it. Once the centre is out, the saw won't cut right through the brick so knock off half the brick then use a lump hammer (ie. mash hammer) with a cold chisel and bolster and an old carpenders saw. Then chisel off the back of the brick - if you are careful enough you can turn the bricks around and still use them after 2 weeks clean down with a 8 to 1 ,8 cups of water 1 cup of spirots of salt 500 ml (from a hardware store).

Use 6 sand to 1 cement to make up some mortar. Mix in a bucket with a couple of inches of water and then add teaspoon of dish washing liquid and stir it up to make the mortar plyable.

Hope this helps.

ps. have an assistant behind you in case the angle grinder kicks - and they will - you must hold it firmly while your offsider can pull the plug ie, pull the socket out. That's how we did it - the best and safe way is to a trady in cheers.

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There's some good info in here, but the entire answer needs to be properly formatted. As it stands there is no capitalization, paragraph breaks or other punctuation that would make this readable. –  Steven Jan 2 '13 at 20:47
    
Indeed, this is a bit hard to follow but I think we should be careful not to criticize others that want to contribute but may not have the best writing skills –  Andrew Apr 13 '13 at 16:02
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