What is Lintel? Types and Benefits of Lintel in Construction
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What is Lintel? Types and Benefits of Lintel in Construction

Have you ever wondered what lintel is?

This is a beam placed across openings such as windows or doors, used in buildings so it can support loads from structures above it. The width of lintel beams should be equal to the widths of walls, with ends of lintel built to those walls. These beams will provide support to the openings, transferring the load properly throughout the columns or masonry walls.

Lintels are classified depending on the material of construction used. Compared to arches, horizontal lintels are much easier to construct. Lintel beams are rectangular both in plan and section.

The bearing of lintel provided needs to be the minimum based on these three cases:

● 10 centimeters
● Height of the beam
● 1/10th to 1/12th of the lintel’s span

With that in mind, there is more to learn about lintel before you use it. Read on to know about the types of Lintels and their benefits here!

Types of Lintels Used

As mentioned, there are various kinds of lintels to use based on the construction material. These are:

1. Timber Lintel

Back in the olden days, people used timber lintel. However, they are now replaced with more modern techniques and materials. Timber lintel is still used usually in hilly areas, but itdoes have disadvantages, such as its higher cost and less durability. Furthermore, they are more vulnerable to fires.

2. Stone Lintel

Stone lintel is now one of the most common types used today, especially in areas where the stone is available. They are usually used over openings in brick walls, also in the form of one piece or multiple pieces.

A crucial factor when using stone lintel is its thickness. Its depth should be equal to 10 centimeters for every meter of a span, which a minimum value of at least 15 centimeters. These lintels are used up to spans of two meters.

However, caution is still required when using stone lintel, especially if the structure is subjected to intense vibratory loads, causing cracks in the stone material due to weak tensile.

3. Brick Lintel

Brick lintels are used when the openings are less than 1 meter and lesser loads act. The depth would vary, between 10-20 centimeters, based on the span.

Bricks with frogs are better used compared to normal bricks because when filled with mortar, frogs will provide shear resistance of end joints, known as the joggled brick lintel.

4. Reinforced Brick Lintel

These lintels are used when the loads are heavier with spans going over 1 meter. The depth of the lintels should be equal to 10-15 centimeters, or in multiples of 10 centimeters.

Bricks are arranged so 2-3-centimeter-wide space will be left lengthwise between the adjacent bricks, so mild steel bars are inserted for reinforcement. A 1:3 ratio of cement mortar will be used for filling up gaps.

5. Steel Lintel

Steel lintel is used when superimposed loads are heavy with large openings. These would consist of rolled steel joists or channel sections, using one single section or combinations, based on what is required.

When you use these lintels singly, the steep joist would be cladded using stone or embedded in concrete, so it will maintain the same width as the wall. When more than one unit is placed beside each other, they will be kept in position using tube separators.

6. Reinforced Cement Concrete Lintel

These kinds of lintels are used for spanning the openings of windows, doors, and other openings in structures because of the materials’ strength, fire resistance, rigidity, cost, and its ease of construction. These materials are great for any load and span, with the width equal to the wall width, and its depth based on the magnitude of loading and span length.

As you can see, each lintel type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Among all kinds of lintels, I highly recommend that you either use stone or steel for its strength, but this would again all depend on various factors, including the openings, your structure, design, and your overall budget.

Just be sure that you select the right company and professionals that use quality materials and have the expertise in constructing lintels for stronger support.

It is also best that you are aware of the signs of lintel failure, which can show in different ways, such as step cracking around mortar joints or cracking window panes. If this happens, it is quite costly to fix, which is why proper care and maintenance, along with detecting such issues earlier on, can help lessen the expenses.

The Benefits of Lintel

You’re probably wondering: Why use lintel over other kinds of support beams? This is because lintel comes with various benefits, such as:

● They are simpler and easier to build.
● Excessive load won’t be applied over the lintels’ ending supports. As a result, they don’t need to be constructed too firmly.
● It’s easy to center lintel, and its frameworks are more cost-effective.
● Lintels can bear higher amounts of load, provided that the load comes uniformly.
● Lintels are delicate, looking simple, and can look seamless in most building designs.

Wrapping It Up

I hope that this article on lintels taught you more about what materials you should use and why. If you believe a lintel is a great option for your next construction project, be sure to use them and take advantage of the benefits it offers now.

Do you have questions or want to share your insights on using lintel? Share them in the comments section below, all your thoughts are much appreciated.

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