Lintel & Beam replacement
Lintels and arches transfer the load of the wall over openings to wall on either side. They must be strong and stiff enough to carry the load without deflecting and must be durable to withstand weather conditions. Arches are often the same masonry as is used for wall materials, like stone, brick or concrete.
Lintels are typically steel, wood or large pieces of masonry like concrete. Openings in exterior and interior bearing walls require lintels or arches. Lintels in masonry should have minimum of six inches of end bearing.
The most common issues with lintels include: sagging, rotating and/or leaning lintels, cracks around window and door openings, mortar deteriorating or missing around openings, masonry ( brick or stone ) damaged, deteriorating or missing, rust, problems with end bearing, rot and insect damage.
Rusting is the most common problem with steel lintels. If unprotected metal gets wet, it will rust and corrode. The wall structure above the lintel may fail if the steel lintel is rusted. The top edge of the exposed flange of lintels should not be caulked as water inside the wall will be trapped in the masonry veneer and lead lintel to rust. Only the underside of the lintel flange can be caulked to the top of the door or window.
The flashing and weep holes ( rope wicks ) above the lintels help water to escape and protect against damage. The rusted lintel due to chemical process can grow up to ten times its original thickness which will cause the metal to bow and masonry around to crack and shift under severe pressure.
Rusted and corroded lintel should be replaced with a new one, painted with a rust-inhibitor. New flexible flashing should be installed together with the weep holes.
The preventative maintenance of the lintels includes inspections and protecting the metal against severe weather conditions by paint coating it.