One of the most common yet serious structural problems that can affect a
house or out building is lintel failure. Above most windows and doors you
should have some form of lintel. Commonly these are brick lintels, steel
lintels or concrete lintels but can also be made of wood. The first signs of a
problem with a lintel are usually cracks in the masonry above the windows and
When lintels fail,
they often cause vertical cracks to appear in the surrounding masonry. Vertical
stepped cracks in the brickwork are therefore the clearest evidence that your
lintel has failed.
You will generally
see vertical cracks appearing diagonally up and in from the top corners of the
windows. Lintels generally bow downwards when they fail, which forces the
brickwork up and inwards resulting in cracks and bulging masonry. With failed
lintels, the cracks shouldn’t extend beyond the width of the window or door.
Picture shows typical damage caused by a failing lintel.
If you notice cracks above a window or door it will often be the first
indication that you have a lintel failure. It’s important to establish the root
cause of the cracking look for evidence that the lintel is cracked or blown. The
3 main causes would be structural movement, moisture and changing your windows
Problems with lintels are often noticed when hardwood windows are being
replaced, usually with new uPVC windows. Before agreeing to install new windows
check you have lintels or the condition of any lintels there are going to be up
to the job. If you have any doubts ask me for an assessment before undertaking
any work to prevent running into expensive problems later.
If you have any doubts or concerns about
cracking and defects ask me for a free and no obligation quote as it is
important to deal with these problems before a total failure. I can repair or
replace the lintel if there is just some small cracks and beginning to fail but
it is a much more serious if it fails completely as the masonry above it could
collapse. Not only is this bad news for the building it could cause serious
damage to anyone nearby so always worth having an inspection.
Repair in progress by Superpoint.
Superpoint owner Sam Yandall has been in the business for
over 20 years and as a qualified bricklayer before setting up his own company South
Downs Brickwork. Sam wanted to focus the business on re-pointing so rebranded
as Super Point in 2016 and has gone from strength to strength ever since. He is
now working as far afield as Horsham, Haywards Heath, and Brighton where
customers are happy to pay towards his travel costs. If you are in the local
area of Chichester, Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, Arundel and Worthing there is
no surcharge. He is happy to travel to where the work is and takes a lot of
pride in job satisfaction. Note the Free phone number 0800 689 4698 is likely
to be charged if you are phoning from a mobile phone but feel free to use the
form and Sam will contact you as soon as time allows.