Swollen Rusted, Bent or Broken: Replacing lintels in brick

What is a lintel?

A lintel is a structural piece of material that sits flat atop and over an opening in a wall. Lintels are most commonly made from steel, but other materials are used and have been more popular in the past, like wood, concrete, or stone. Let’s talk lintels in masonry (Brick, block & stone.)

Steel wood concrete stone types of lintels

What a lintel is not…

An ingredient in soup

A bean or plant

A lintel is not a lentil.

LINTEL Beams are very different from LENTIL beans…..

Wood/Timber lintels

Pre-1920, wood lintels were a popular choice in brick construction, before steel was affordable and readily available. Unfortunately though, wood does not last as long or offer much in structural support, many of those original timber lintels have rotted, broke or deteriorated and since have been replaced and are seen few and far between, especially on exterior doors and windows.  Timber lintels can offer that finishing touch on cottage style craftsman homes, like homes found in the St. Louis Hills neighborhood. But reasons to keeps a wood lintel do not go much further than aesthetics. They also rot, make a good home for pests and don’t have the same life expectancy as…..

Steel Lintels/Angle Iron

Structurally superior, smaller, easier to work with and all around best option, Steel later replaced wood as the common choice for lintels. Steel lintels can, at a fraction of the size of wood, be made to support nearly any load required in door and window design. Like any other option though, it does have it’s pitfalls, Angle Iron, if left untreated, can rust and deteriorate. Keeping your steel lintels maintained: At the first signs of rust, be sure to have your lintels scraped, painted and caulked. Scrape and sand existing rust from the lintel, coat with an exterior grade paint, caulk the joint between the lintel and material above with a poly urethane caulk. Or you can let us do the work. Contact us for a Free Estimate.

Concrete & Stone.

Concrete and stone lintels offer the most options for visual appeal. Concrete can be cast into a desired shape with desired load strength. And stone can offer a look to an opening in need of appearing naturally natural. Not for good use below grade and the least resilient of the bunch, these types of lintels are prone to cracking with even minor settling and should be regularly maintained with a masonry sealer.

Signs A Lintel Needs Replaced

Inspect your lintels, every few years at least. Catching the warning signs early before settling occurs can save money. You’re lintel may need to be replaced if the following occurs…

signs lintel needs replaced

For Iron/steel lintels, look for signs of warping, bending, cracking and excessive rust. Steel lintels can rust so bad they cause a swelling effect. It looks like layers of metal one over the other. These signs are usually accompanied by movement of brick above the opening. Click the image above to enlarge.

For wood/timber lintels, look for cracks, warps or signs of rotting. Often-times movement of the brick block or stone above the window/door accompany these signs.

For Concrete and Stone, look for cracks and pitting on the surface area as well as movement of the masonry above the lintel.

Whether you’re looking for Lintel Repair, Replacement or Installation & You live in the Saint Louis, MO Area, Give us a call, text (314-629-2283) or fill out the contact form to the right. Questions & Comments from the rest of the world are also welcome and encouraged.