Fitting a New Lintel

Filed Under: DIY Outdoor, Do it yourself, Remodeling    by: ITC

With the wall above the window opening supported by stout wooden needles and adjustable jacks, and the old window frame taken out you can remove the old lintel and brickwork from above the opening.

Remove the bricks from the outer layer first. These may be laid in horizontal courses across the lintel or they may be set vertically. If the house is old, they may form a self-supporting segmental arch.

Cut through the mortar joints with a bricklayer’s chisel to remove the bricks, making a gradually tapering, stepped opening up to the level of the wooden needle above. This will prevent any brickwork from falling while working on the opening.

Removing the bricks from the outer leaf of the wall will expose the face of the load bearing lintel set in the inner leaf. You should remove this next.

From inside the house, hack off the plaster above the window opening to expose the inner face of the lintel and the brickwork above it. Again, cut out the bricks to foam a stepped opening up to the level of the needle. Then cut into the mortar joints at each end of the lintel, working along the top, ends and underneath. Use a stout bar to lever the ends of the lintel upwards to finally release them. Then get some help to lift the lintel from its bearings in the wall.

the thickness of the wall. It may lodge and form a bridge for moisture to cross from the outer skin to the inner and cause damp patches on the inner wall.

Measure up the new lintel and draw its outline on the inside of the wall centered over the new window position. Remember, the new lintel should be at least 6in wider at each side of the window opening to provide decent-sized bearings. Also, allow an extra lin at each end and on the depth to provide enough space to manoeuvre the lintel into position.

Cut straight down through the plaster along the outline with the bricklayer’s chisel to provide a cutting guide and then hack off the plaster within the outline.

Go on to remove the bricks exposed by the removal of the plaster, again cutting through the mortar joints in an effort to keep as many bricks in one piece as possible. Clean up the bearing openings and make sure their surfaces are flat and level.

Whether you are using a steel or concrete lintel, you will need some help to lift it into place.

Trowel a layer of mortar onto each bearing and lift the lintel into place, setting it centrally over the opening. Check that the lintel is flush with the inner face and outer layer of the wall.

Hold a level against the underside of the lintel and check that it is horizontal. If necessary, correct this by packing pieces of tile or slate beneath the ends. When level, fill the gaps round the ends of the lintel with more mortar and brick offcuts, pointing the joints neatly flush with the surrounding brickwork.

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