= Adding exterior patio door to brick bungalow =

My 1922 bungalow is small and adorable. I want to add a large patio door that almost takes up an entire wall to make the “master” feel larger. Problem is, nobody seems to know how to open up an 80” span in this type of wall. The exterior is brick, then there’s a small gap, then a second interior brick wall. So my question is, how do I install a header to cover this span without the brick courses above falling in? It’s a gable wall, FWIW, so less structural weight to carry

An engineer will help with beam sizing and permit drawings. 80” is not an overly large span. It should be a simple task

I’d echo this. You’ll want to get an engineer. They’ll spec what the new lintel for the opening is. Then you’ll need a mason to do the work on enlarging the rough opening. And finally a carpenter to install the door, insulate, finishing carpentry, etc

My biggest challenge is that here in Chattanooga, TN it is extremely difficult to get skilled professionals to do the work. For this project (and many others) I’m anticipating having to do the work myself. What I’m hearing is if I get a structural engineer to draw up a plan, there should be a way to get this job done without the wall collapsing?
Brick veneer or solid masonry? You’re going to need a steel lintel and possibly a building permit. A double one if you’re looking at solid masonry. This isn’t complicated, especially considering it’s a bungalow (not supporting two floors of solid brick above). Where do you live? I’m in Canada and our national building code has prescriptive charts that tell you what size your lintel needs to be depending on whether it’s brick veneer or solid masonry, how tall your wall is, how big your span is, etc. No engineer required. Talk to a mason, they do this stuff in their sleep, and will be able to recognize any complicated conditions that may require engineering. They will likely also have an engineering contact who will do a small amount of work for cheap

And then get a general trade to do the rest, your window company will install the door for you

Edit: saw you updated to provide more information. Google image search double lintel solid masonry wall to see what that detail looks like. When masons do this type of work, they use something called jack posts to act as temporary support while they work. You should not attempt this work yourself, you’re begging for a disaster

This is really helpful, thank you! It is solid masonry, and the mortar is very soft. Only 3 courses of brick will be held by the lintel, and of course the gable
80" of actual brick?
you are going to need a steel header that is pretty heavy duty metal. AND a place on either side of that steel to return the load into the foundation

a good mason could probably do the job, but would need help lifting that steel header!
i am not a mason, but i bet installing the header WITHOUT the wall caving in, is going to require some sort of scaflolding/support
it might be possible to make the header out of granite too, which would look much nicer

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