What Are Lintels in Construction?

February 11, 2024

Lintels are used in construction to support the load above doorways, windows or fireplaces. They help to distribute the load evenly and prevent walls from collapsing or bending under pressure. They are available in a range of materials including stone, brick, steel, reinforced concrete and timber. The type of lintel you choose will depend on your building requirements, aesthetics and the load-bearing capacity required.

Wood lintels are a popular option because they can be used for decorative purposes as well. However, they are susceptible to damage from dampness and can rot easily. If you choose to use timber lintels, it’s essential to protect them with preservatives and coatings to prevent damage.

Brick lintels are a good choice for openings that will carry a light load, as they can be built to a specific width and length to fit your opening. They often feature small indentations, known as frogs, that help to prevent shearing and builders will fill these with mortar when they install the lintel.

Steel lintels, which are made from rolled steel joists embedded in concrete, are typically used for larger openings that require a greater amount of structural support. They are usually connected with steel plates to prevent them from bending under the pressure of the wall above. Builders will sometimes combine steel lintels with stone to improve their appearance. Concrete lintels are also commonly used for openings, as they can be built to a very precise length and width and provide the best strength and durability.

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