Understanding Lintels

June 3, 2018 10:52 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The process of constructing a new building or modifying an existing one is not as simple as gathering nails, screws and four walls and erecting them. Building is a complex process that requires a lot of attention to the support and transfer of weight so the structure remains upright. One of the main ways buildings are able to sustain their shape and hold their own weight is because of a building component called a lintel.

What are lintels?

A lintel is a construction term that refers to a horizontal beam that lies above an archway, door, window or opening. Generally, lintels are placed above two vertical support beams on either side of the opening to act as load-bearing structural elements, meaning they hold the weight of the building above them. Lintels accomplish this by transferring load weight to the vertical sidewalls they rest upon.

Reasons to install lintels

There are two main reasons to install lintels: for structural support or aesthetics.

Lintels are typically called “lintel beams” if they support the weight above them. These lintel beams may look decorative if they have a special surface finish added to them, but they are constructed specifically to maintain structural soundness of the building they are placed in.

Local building codes typically require lintels in Indiana to ensure that buildings are safe and well supported. Lintels will help with the longevity of the building by protecting against collapse or sagging in the structure over time.

Lintels may also be added above fireplaces, windows and doorways as eye-catching decorative pieces. These lintels can be removed without damaging the structure, since they aren’t actually being used to support anything.

Which material is best?

Lintels can be made from a variety of different materials, including steel, wood, lime, stone, concrete and more. The material used for the lintel will depend on the amount of weight that needs to be supported.

Lintels made of wood are typically used for low loads and small openings, since wood is less strong than other materials. Timber lintels are sometimes ideal because wood is very low-cost and the lintels are easy to create on-site.

Precast concrete lintels are relatively common in modern buildings because they are low-cost and can support many doorways and windows.

Steel lintels are typically pressed or rolled into shape and are generally lighter than concrete lintels and easier to work with. Another advantage of steel lintels is that they are extremely versatile and can be shaped into a variety of styles, such as curves and corners.

Turn to us for steel lintels in Indiana

For over 45 years, Benchmark Fabricated Steel has remained at the forefront of steel fabrication. We are a full-service steel contractor that provides steel for commercial, business and corporate applications. No matter what the size of your project, our team will be ready to provide our wide variety of services, ranging from project design, drawings, site construction, product procurement and delivery to engineering and consulting and much more. Call us today to arrange a free estimate and set up a consultation!

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