Do I Need a Structural Engineer to Replace a Lintel?
31 March 2023
A lintel isn’t something that everyone takes notice of every single day. In fact, most people go through the week without even noticing the lintels above their doors and windows.
However, once that lintel starts to fail, that’s when it’s going to be front and centre of your attention. Lintel failure can lead to all kinds of different property care issues including damp, timber failure, and even structural issues like cracks in your wall or sagging masonry.
So, if you are concerned that your lintels might need some attention, what can you do to have your lintel repaired – and why is it vital that those repairs are carried out by a professional?
What is Lintel Failure?
If you have read this far and are a little confused about what might constitute lintel failure, lets quickly run through what it is and what it might mean for your property before addressing the repair process.
A lintel is the beam found above doorways and windows, taking the weight of the wall above and displacing it across its length so that the cavity in question is not warped by the weight of the building above.
Basically, it’s a load bearing beam that ensures your doorways and windows stay in the shape that they need to.
Your lintel failing means that your window might start bowing, or that your doorway could warp, making it difficult for the door to close, or easier for drafts to make their way through your windows. In any case, it won’t be long until these small issues, like a draught, turn into something much worse.
Damp, dry rot, woodworm, cracks in your properties walls, bowed cavities – they are all probable in the event of lintel failure, and the sooner that you spot the signs of a failed lintel, the sooner you can take action, and avoid drastic consequences of lintel failure.
Why Should You Avoid Repairing a Lintel Yourself?
When it comes to lintel repair you are always better off contacting an expert rather than tackling the problem yourself – unless of course you are qualified when it comes to structural repair.
Essentially what you are dealing with when it comes to lintel repair or replacement is the entire weight and integrity of the wall around the cavity, balancing on your work.
If the replacement of the beam goes wrong, then you could see your wall bow, collapse, or just warp in a way that drastically effects the integrity of your property. That’s only an immediate effect as well, the result of a bad job going wrong at the time – but its far from the only possibility.
If you were to use the wrong timber or material for your lintel for example, what are the chances that it holds up on installation – but slowly bows over time, as it isn’t able to take the weight? Realistically, it’s a very likely outcome, and if you don’t understand exactly how to best replace or repair a lintel then you may well just be kicking the can down the road.
That’s not to mention issues when it comes to timber repair. If you aren’t a trained timber specialist then what you might perceive as a ruined piece of timber could well be salvageable with the right skills. The inverse is also true – you might believe that a bit of wood glue and replacement timber can strengthen your lintel out, when really woodworm may well be active deep within the timber, and your lintel will remain at risk despite your intervention.
Realistically, you need a property care specialist to not only inspect your lintel, but carry out the repairs as well so you can rest safe in the knowledge that your lintel repair will last.
Do I Need a Structural Engineer to Repair my Lintel?
Realistically, if your properties lintels are in need of repair, then you need to contact an expert.
Whilst you might not need a structural engineer for a lintel repair job, having a technician certified in structural repairs take on the lintel restoration or repair is going to save you a lot of hassle and money in the long run – and come along with a guarantee if you go with a properly accredited company.
Calling in the services of Timberwise for example, will be immensely beneficial. The process starts with a survey, with a member of our team visiting your property to assess the extent of the problem, and outlining a course of action to set the problems with your lintel straight.
Once the problem with your lintel has been identified, and a solution proposed, our technicians can visit your property to set the issue straight. This might include the replacement or repair of your lintel, as well as any other work that might need to happen to your properties walls to ensure they aren’t bowed, cracked, or otherwise.
Our technicians will work to the highest of standards, taking care to ensure the integrity of your property as they go, whilst also keeping your space tidy, cleaning up after themselves once the job is finished.
After all the work is done, and your lintel is set once again, you will be left with a Timberwise guarantee. This guarantee ensures that our work is protected, and should you notice any further issues arise despite our repairs, our team will come out and rectify them for you free of charge.
Our team are well experienced at delivering comprehensive solutions, and we are ready to help you restore your properties lintels to their full functionality and original, undamaged look. You can call 0800 288 8660, or visit our dedicated lintel repair page to learn more.