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What is a Lintel and Why Should I Maintain It?

A lintel is a beam that has been placed on the top of a door or window to support the weight of the building materials above it. It’s a very common structural element and can be made using a variety of materials, including (but, of course, not limited to) timber, brick, concrete, steel, and stone. Here’s why you should know the answer to “What is a lintel?”

What is a Lintel Used For?

As mentioned, lintels are a ubiquitous part of construction. Windows, doors, fireplaces, and other types of wall openings are not designed to provide structural support. Thus, when they are added to a building, the surrounding walls of that building must be reinforced to account for the concentrated load bearing down at each opening point. Adding a lintel horizontally across the top of a wall opening helps distribute the weight of the building more evenly, thus alleviating the burden on the door or window’s vacant space. It also protects the building (especially those built using masonry materials) against wind, earthquakes, and other lateral load-bearing events. And in some instances, lintels are used for a two-fold purpose, not simply buttressing the building itself, but adding a decorative touch to it.

Why You Need to Maintain Lintels

Failing to install and/or maintain the correct type of lintels exposes your home to several potential catastrophes. You should inspect your property, especially the lintels surrounding your doors, window, and fireplaces, in order to:

  • To Protect the Structural Integrity of Your Home — Lintels provide structural stability to your home. If you don’t keep them well-maintained, your walls could literally fall down around you!
  • To Preserve the Functionality of Your Windows and Doors — Lintels also protect the opening in your walls, allowing whatever occupies that space (window, door, fireplace, etc.) to remain sturdy and to function as intended.
  • To Enhance Your Home’s Curb Appeal — Of course, part of your home’s aesthetics rely on the building itself being free of architectural flaws. Don’t dilute your home’s curb appeal by allowing sightly cracks, rust or other corrosion to settle in your lintels.
  • To Defend Your Home Against Water Damage — Water can seep into a home through the tiniest defect, creating a host of problems that range from cosmetic issues to mold and mildew growth and other serious structural damage that is hard to repair.
  • To Save Money — Needless to say, maintaining your lintels ultimately saves you money. A rotten, cracked or otherwise deteriorated lintel can be expensive to replace. Save yourself the headache and some cash by looking for and fixing small problems before they require total renovation.

Want to Learn More?

“What is a lintel?” is an important question, and one that all homeowners should know how to answer. Lintels protect the overall structure of your home, as well as the stability of all your wall openings. Don’t risk the integrity of your doors, windows and fireplaces or your home itself by failing to maintain your lintels. Our team here at Brickworks Property Restoration can help you better understand the value of lintels and how best to repair them should you ever encounter a problem with them. Please contact us today.

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