Common Lintel Problems
Most people associate damaged lintels with older homes, but nowadays we replace lintels on houses as new as two years old. The reason for this is that new homes are often built without any flashing or the flashing is too thin above openings in brickwork or it’s installed wrong. This allows moisture to rust unprotected steel lintel which in turn cracks the brickwork and mortar joints. The longer the rusted lintels are in place the more damage it causes to the brickwork resulting in higher cost of repair. Another common problem with lintels above garage doors and with openings more than six feet wide is that the steel angle iron (lintels) are too narrow in width and thickness and are not bolted to the headers (wood framing). This causes sagging and then cracking in the brickwork. Whatever amount of rust you see on the lintel, it’s five times worse behind the brickwork.
Rusted and Unbolted Lintel
This home in Friendswood,Tx showed rusted and unbolted lintels that will cause the brickwork to crack. If corrected early, it can be repaired without taking down the whole gable of brickwork. If let go, the whole gable will have to be taken down, which usually triples the repair cost. The house below was only seven years old.