Whether you’re aware or not, you’ll find at least a couple of door lintels in your home. Generally, a lintel sits above an internal door (or an external one!), but they can be found on other constructions, too.
After a long time, general wear and tear can result in you needing to replace the lintel beam or the lintel supports. So, while you don’t have to know what a lintel is, it will help you out if you need to source a replacement.
In this blog post, we’re going to discuss what a lintel is, what they’re made from, and where they can be found in your home and outside of your home.
So, What is a Door Lintel?
A lintel is a large block that sits horizontally at the top of an opening, between the vertical supports. So, in a doorway, the door lintel will be found sitting above the two vertical supports of the door frame. For a window, the lintel will sit at the top of the window frame.
A solid wall lintel differs from a door or window lintel in that the solid wall lintel is load-bearing. This type of lintel is installed to prevent the wall from becoming disfigured. A wall surrounding a door entry is likely to become disfigured without extra support, such as a lintel, as part of the wall has been removed. Sagging or disfigurement can be common if a door has been installed in a supporting wall.
It’s important to note that, even if you have door lintels in your home, they aren’t always there for structural purposes. The lintel of a door can be installed on internal and external doors purely for aesthetic reasons. Particularly on older properties, you can find decorative brick or stonework lintels.
Are Lintels Only Found On Doors?
Lintels can be found on other pieces of construction, as well as doors. We’ve already established that a window lintel is a thing, but where else can we find them?
If we’re talking about lintels for structural purposes, the main areas where you’ll find an internal lintel are above anywhere a wall has been manipulated. This can also be referred to as a cavity lintel. Other than a door lintel, here are the other locations for lintels:
Lintel above a window. Windows are sturdy and although a hole has been created in the wall, it’s less likely that the wall will collapse. In most cases, window lintels are installed for decorative purposes.
Lintel above a garage door. The lintel used above a garage door is a load-bearing beam. The lintel supports the frame that sits directly above where the garage door is.
Lintel above a fireplace. We know that a fireplace isn’t placed into a section of wall that has been completely removed, however, a fireplace lintel is used to support the area of wall above the section that has been cut away. In the majority of cases, a fireplace lintel is used for decorative purposes and is incorporated into the fireplace unit.
Lintel above French doors. This lintel is to provide support to the wall above and surrounding the door frame.
Lintel above bifold doors. Again, this lintel is to provide support to the wall above and surrounding the door frame. Bifold doors can be quite heavy and they require a lot of support. Lintels are definitely needed when you’re installing a bifold door.
What Are Lintels Made From?
The most common materials used to make lintels are timber, steel, and concrete. However, you can also find brick lintels and metal lintels.
The best type of lintel is a steel lintel. This is a very durable product and weighs less than concrete does. Steel can also be manipulated to cover an array of shapes and sizes. As well as being cut and shaped so that it isn’t visible above the opening in the wall.
If you want to be economical with your purchase, a concrete lintel is for you. Concrete is a robust material that’s great to use with masonry work and window openings. Concrete, although not very versatile in shape, they can be finished in a range of styles.
Timber lintels are the most cost-effective material to use for your lintels – although they’re mainly suited to non-load-bearing walls and above, or under, small openings. Timber lintels are great for internal doors.