Lintel failure is a common problem that we are asked to deal with. Structural movement in buildings can be the result of many different factors acting either in isolation or having a combined effect.
Lintels are used above openings in walls such as windows or doorways to support the weight of masonry above. They consist of a horizontal member supported either side of the opening. In modern construction Lintels tend to be made of steel or concrete, in older buildings they are commonly found to be made of timber, stone, steel or concrete.
Masonry Arches of Brick or Stone were also commonly used in older buildings to support the higher levels.
Structural movement is not readily accommodated by Masonry Arches and in the event of outward movement, howsoever caused, cracks readily appear (see Arch Repair).
In some structures the Lintel may be partially supported by the window frame itself. This can lead to problems long term such as when windows need to be replaced.
Timber Lintels can be attacked by Wood Rotting Fungi (see our pages Wet Rot and Dry Rot) and/or infested by Wood Boring Beetles (see our pages Woodworm). Timber Lintels, particularly in older buildings that have not been well maintained or subjected to long term exposure to excessive moisture, can appear sound on exposed surfaces but be significantly decayed where they are in direct contact with Damp Masonry.
Steel Lintels, even in modern buildings, can corrode leading to expansion. This causes horizontal cracking and spalling of surrounding masonry as rainwater penetration occurs.
Protectahome have an extensive range of Lintel Repair strategies available that may include the formation of Masonry Beams, Consolidation, Anchoring, Crack Stitching, Pinning and Traditional Repairs. Where new openings are being formed we can also provide Masonry Reinforcement with Masonry Beams and new lintel provision reducing the need for costly temporary support.