Sunday, July 21, 2024

Understanding and Repairing Failing Lintels: A Comprehensive Guide

Lintels play a critical role in the structural integrity of buildings. These horizontal supports sit above doors and windows, bearing the load of the wall above and distributing it to the surrounding masonry. However, lintels can deteriorate over time, leading to significant structural problems if not addressed promptly.

Identifying the Problems with Failing Lintels

Failing lintels can manifest in various ways, often causing noticeable and concerning issues in the structure of a building. Common signs of lintel failure include:

  • Gaps opening up in the brickwork
  • Stepped cracks in the brickwork above windows or doors
  • Cracking in brickwork and stonework
  • Cracks in internal walls and ceilings above windows or doors
  • Dropping arches
  • Bowing or bulging walls
  • Difficulties in opening or closing doors and windows

These problems can compromise the structural stability of a building, making it essential to address failing lintels promptly and effectively.

Types of Lintels and Their Issues

Action Wall Ties (AWT), specialists in structural repairs, can address defects in various types of lintels. Each type of lintel can present unique challenges, and AWT employs tailored solutions to repair and reinforce them.

Timber Lintels and Bressumer Beams

Timber lintels, including Bressumer beams, are often found in older buildings. These can suffer from rot, warping, and general deterioration over time, leading to structural instability.

Stone Lintels

Heritage and period stone section lintels, ornate and carved stone lintels, and reconstituted stone lintels can crack or become displaced. These decorative elements require careful handling and precise repair techniques to maintain their aesthetic and structural integrity.

Brickwork Arch Lintels

Found in properties from the 1960s and 1970s, these lintels are typically built on a timber window frame with metal reinforcement. Over time, the metal can corrode, and the brickwork can crack, causing structural issues.

Traditional Solid Brickwork Lintels

These lintels, including 9-inch solid brickwork and various bond brickwork lintels, can suffer from cracking and displacement.

Contemporary Cavity Brickwork Lintels

Modern properties often feature cavity brickwork lintels, which can also experience cracking and other structural issues.

Concrete Lintels

Including concrete boot lintels and steel-reinforced concrete lintels, these can suffer from “concrete cancer,” where the reinforcing steel corrodes, causing the concrete to crack and spall.

Steel Lintels

Steel lintels can corrode over time, leading to weakening and potential failure.

Specialist Concrete Boot Lintel Repairs

Concrete boot lintels, particularly common in low-rise blocks from the 1960s and 1970s, are prone to defects that, if left unaddressed, can lead to masonry collapse. AWT has developed specialist equipment to realign and reinforce failing boot lintels, ensuring a durable and stable repair.

The AWT Repair Process

  • AWT’s approach to lintel repairs involves several key steps to ensure a tailored and effective solution:
  • Initial Contact and Information Gathering
  • Homeowners provide information, photos, and contact details to initiate the process.
  • Survey and Identification
  • A surveyor visits the property to identify the issues swiftly and accurately.
  • Detailed Report
  • A comprehensive report is produced, outlining the problems and recommended repairs.
  • Ongoing Support and Guidance
  • AWT remains available to clarify points, answer questions, and offer guidance throughout the repair process.
  • Expert Repairs with Minimal Disruption

Highly trained masonry remedial experts carry out the repairs with minimal fuss, ensuring the building remains occupied and disruption is kept to a minimum.

Matching Materials for Seamless Repairs

Where possible, repairs are made using bricks and pointing that match existing materials, resulting in near-invisible repairs.

Warranty

AWT offers a 25-year warranty on all their work, providing peace of mind for homeowners.

Lintels are vital components in maintaining the structural integrity of buildings. Failing lintels can lead to a host of issues, including cracks in brickwork and stonework, dropping arches, and difficulties with doors and windows. Action Wall Ties offers expert repair solutions for a variety of lintel types, ensuring long-lasting and minimally disruptive repairs.

By employing specialized techniques and equipment, AWT addresses the unique challenges posed by timber, stone, brickwork, concrete, and steel lintels.

Their comprehensive approach ensures that repairs are not only structurally sound but also aesthetically seamless, preserving the appearance and stability of the building. With a 25-year warranty, AWT provides a reliable and durable solution for failing lintels.