What is a Lintel in Construction?

March 2, 2024

Lintels are the horizontal beam that spans across an opening in a wall, like a window or door. They distribute the weight of a structure above the opening evenly and prevent the walls from collapsing. They can be made of stone, brick, concrete or timber and are a vital component in building construction. They are often considered to be the foundation of a wall and are crucial for its structural integrity, usability and appearance.

There are many types of lintels in construction, depending on the materials they’re made from and the load-bearing capacity they need to withstand. Some of the most popular lintels are concrete, steel and timber. Each has its own advantages, disadvantages and ideal uses. This article explores each type of lintel to help you decide which one is right for your next construction project.

A concrete lintel is a popular choice for new construction projects because it’s capable of supporting heavy loads and large spans. It’s also budget-friendly, easy to install and offers fire resistance. However, concrete lintels are susceptible to cracking over time. The reinforcements in concrete can also rust if exposed to water for long periods of time.

Brick lintels are constructed from bricks to provide a more uniform look for masonry buildings. They are lightweight and can support light to moderate loads, but they may be subject to lateral movement (racking) during earthquakes. Brick lintels can be reinforced with ties to improve their resistance to vibrations and shear forces.

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