Lintels – what are they and what are the different types?

25/04/2019
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A lintel is a vital element of construction in any property. It is a horizontal beam that supports the building material above a window or door to protect it from any pressure. Lintels can be made of various materials, such as timber, stone, brick or steel, depending on the aesthetic and material of the building in question. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the types of lintel available.

Timber

Timber lintels have been used for the longest time out of any other material, but they have been replaced by more modern materials because they are more vulnerable to the elements and need regular repairs. Timber lintels are not fireproof and are prone to decay over time. Their poor durability and high installation cost make them an unpopular material, but they are still used in hilly regions were timber is more widely available.

Brick

Brick lintels are often used when the opening of the door or window is less than a metre in length and the load above it is lighter in weight. Brick lintels are not durable enough to be used alone, so they are often supported by other lintel materials, such as metal or stone. Brick lintels are generally installed for aesthetic reasons, as they tend to complement most home exteriors.

Stone

Stone is one of the most common materials used for lintels, but it is mostly used in areas where stone is widely available. Stone lintels are often used in older buildings but it is quite a vulnerable material because of its inability to withstand heavy loads. Stone lintels tend to be more expensive, and if the load is prone to movement, then cracks are likely to form. The thickness of a stone lintel varies depending on the width of the opening, to ensure that it can withstand the pressure.

Steel

Steel is the strongest material used for lintels, and so it is often used with extremely heavy loads and wider openings. Steel lintels are generally less vulnerable to the elements, including moisture and changes in climate, so they are a popular option for modern homes. Another benefit of steel lintels is that they can be perforated prior to installation, so they can be immediately applied with plaster.

If you’re in need of lintel repairs for your home or business, get in touch with the experts at Murphys Remedial Builders.

Photo: unit I0 | renovation by .FuturePresent. licensed under Creative Commons 4.0
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