How to cut through cinder block load-bearing walls

Written by keith allen
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How to cut through cinder block load-bearing walls
Breeze block walls can be cut even if they support other parts of the structure. (concrete wall image by bayu harsa from

Cutting a door through a breeze block load-bearing wall poses several challenges. Placing bracing to carry the wall's load after the portion is removed is relatively simple. Cutting and removing the blocks, on the other hand, is a hard and dusty task requiring special tools and equipment. Despite these challenges, most do-it-yourselfers can complete this project with a little preparation and the right tools and skills.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 2-by-4 lumber
  • Power saw
  • Masonry blade
  • Sledgehammer
  • Tape measure
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Header beams

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  1. 1

    Mark out the area of the wall to be removed. If possible, mark out both sides of the wall, making sure that cuts will occur at the same point on both sides.

  2. 2

    Build a ceiling support on one side of the wall. Place this close enough to replace the support of the wall but far enough away to allow room to work. The ceiling support should include studs braced to the floor supporting a header and top plate directly under the joists overhead. A second support on the other side of the load-bearing wall may be necessary if two sets of joists, one for each side of the wall, overlap at the load-bearing wall.

  3. 3

    Knock a hole in the wall with a light sledgehammer. This confirms that the marks for the planned cuts are on identical spots on opposite sides of the wall. It also allows dust to be vented during the cuts.

  4. 4

    Cut with a circular saw with a masonry blade along the marks. Once cuts have been made on both sides of the wall, use a hammer and chisel to break the blocks along the score lines and remove the planned area of the wall.

  5. 5

    Build a supporting structure into the wall. If a door is planned, the support structure will provide a rough opening for the door while supporting the overhead joists with a header, a supported beam above the door opening, and studs extending to the joists and providing support. Once the permanent supports are built into the opening created in the block wall, remove the temporary supports from the joists.

Tips and warnings

  • Contain the dust in the work area by hanging plastic sheeting. If possible, use fans to vent the area outdoors rather than allowing the dust to accumulate in the home.

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