What Is A Brick Lintel?
A brick lintel is an architectural component commonly used in construction to support the weight of a structure above an opening, such as a doorway or window. It’s typically made of bricks arranged in a horizontal pattern and designed to distribute the load evenly across the span of the opening. The brick lintel is affixed to the masonry on either side of the opening and acts as a bridge, transferring the weight of the structure above to the supports on either side.
What Causes Brick Lintel Failure?
Several factors can cause a brick lintel to fail, including poor design, inadequate materials, substandard workmanship, and environmental conditions.
One of the most common causes of brick lintel failure is inadequate support. If the walls on either side don’t adequately support the lintel, it can sag or crack under the weight of the masonry above it. This can result in severe damage to the structure, including cracks and bulges in the walls.
Another cause of lintel failure is moisture damage. When water infiltrates the masonry, it can cause the mortar to deteriorate and weaken the structure as a whole. This can lead to cracking and sagging in the lintel and the walls surrounding it.
Additionally, improper installation can also lead to lintel failure. If the lintel is not installed correctly or the mortar isn’t mixed and applied properly, it can fail to fully support the weight above it, leading to sagging and eventual collapse.
Finally, environmental conditions like freeze-thaw cycles and seismic activity can also contribute to lintel failure. These events can cause the masonry to crack and shift, leading to structural damage that can ultimately cause the lintel to fail.
Is A Cracked Lintel Serious?
A cracked lintel is a cause for concern as it can indicate potential structural issues. Cracks in the lintel can cause it to weaken and compromise its ability to support the weight it was designed to hold. If left unaddressed, a cracked lintel can lead to more severe problems, such as sagging or collapsing walls, which puts the safety of the building’s occupants at risk. If you see a cracked lintel, immediately contact a professional foundation repair contractor and ask for an evaluation.
How Long Does A Lintel Last?
The durability of a lintel depends on the material used to build the lintel, the construction quality, and the environmental conditions it’s subjected to, such as exposure to sunlight, moisture, and temperature fluctuations. Additionally, the weight that a lintel supports can also influence its lifespan. Regular inspections can detect damage early and allow for timely repairs, thus preserving the lintel’s structural integrity. A well-built and maintained lintel can provide reliable support for many years or even centuries.
When Should I Replace My Lintel?
A brick lintel typically has a long lifespan. However, several factors can cause it to deteriorate and eventually require replacement. These include the following:
- A cracked or crumbling brick lintel is a clear sign it needs to be replaced.
- A sagging window or door frame may indicate the lintel has failed.
- While brick lintels can last many years, they can become weaker and more prone to failure as they age. If your lintel is over 50 years old, a professional should evaluate it to determine if it needs to be replaced.
It’s worth noting that replacing a brick lintel is not a DIY job. This type of work requires specialized knowledge and equipment, and it should only be undertaken by a professional who is trained and licensed to perform this type of work.
How Much Does A Lintel Replacement Cost?
The cost of replacing a lintel can vary depending on several factors, such as the size of the lintel, the severity of the damage, and the location of the building.
A brick lintel replacement typically costs between $2-$4k, but the cost can climb significantly if a larger or custom-made lintel is required. Other factors that can inflate the cost of lintel replacement include the difficulty of access to the area, the type of wall that needs the support of the lintel, and if any additional work, such as masonry repairs, is required.
Brick lintel replacement is one of AMC911’s specialties. Don’t let your brick lintels reach this point before giving AMC911 Crawl Space & Foundation Repair a call.