Lintels, which are the vital structural components above doors and windows, play a crucial role in distributing the weight of the wall above them. Over time, lintels can deteriorate, leading to various problems that can compromise the stability and safety of your home. Let’s take a look at the signs of lintel failure and why it’s important to address them promptly.
1. Smiling or Bowing Lintel
Imagine the lintel as the backbone of your house. When it starts to weaken, it can manifest as a ‘smile’ or a ‘bow’ in your walls. This is one of the most noticeable signs of lintel failure. Here’s what to look for:
- Visual distortion: Stand back and take a good look at the lintel above your door or window. If it appears to curve outward or sag in the middle, this is a clear indication of trouble.
- Brick misalignment: Check for any signs of bricks or masonry above the lintel that are no longer in alignment. If you see uneven spacing or bricks that are not flush with the lintel, this could be a sign of stress on the lintel.
2. Cracks at Corners and/or Above Garage Door
Lintel issues often lead to the formation of cracks in and around the lintel area. These cracks are red flags that should not be ignored. Here’s what to look for:
- Corner cracks: Examine the corners of the lintel, especially near the junction with the walls. If you notice any diagonal or vertical cracks running from the lintel’s edges into the wall, it’s a sign that the lintel is struggling to support the weight above it.
- Cracks near the Garage door: The lintel above your garage door is subjected to a significant load. If you notice cracks in the wall above the garage door, it’s a strong indicator of lintel problems. These cracks may extend horizontally or vertically from the lintel.
3. Gap Above the Lintel
A visible gap between the lintel and the masonry or wall above it is another serious sign of lintel failure. This gap can lead to water infiltration, increased energy bills, and structural instability. Keep an eye out for:
- Space or displacement: If you can see a noticeable gap between the lintel and the bricks or blocks above it, it’s a sign that the lintel is no longer effectively supporting the load. This gap can allow moisture and pests to enter, which can make the problem worse.
In conclusion, signs of lintel failure should not be taken lightly. These structural issues can escalate into significant problems if left unaddressed. If you notice any of these warning signs in your home, it’s crucial to consult with a professional foundation specialist or contractor who can assess the situation and recommend the necessary repairs. By acting promptly, you can ensure the safety, stability, and longevity of your home.
If you suspect lintel issues in your home or have any questions about lintel failure, contact TFS for expert guidance and assistance and schedule your free inspection with us.