Lintel repair advice.


Old 06-26-12, 02:48 PM
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Lintel repair advice.

Greetings. I am new to the forum and have questions on proper repair of the following.

Steel lintel above a window is rusty, and the course of brick behind the face brick is falling down onto the window framing. The brick above the lintel is still in place. I have identified possible water infiltration points above the decorative corbel bricks further up the chimney. Several joints on the flat surface were open to the environment. Rain has cascaded down onto the flat area from an above gutter that is sagging and spilling water over the edge straight down onto the flat surface. Job 1 is to fix the gutter, then the bricks.

This is an 1885 house in New Hampshire. Why the put a window in the chimney is beyond me. The fireplace is actually on the 2nd floor above the window.

I have included photos of the damaged lintel/brick above the window for evaluation.

Name:  Lintel failure.jpg
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Here is a look at the area surrounding the damaged window. It shows temporary repairs to the mortar, light grey, that I used to stop the flow of water into broken mortar joints on the flat surface above the corbels.

Name:  Lintel w:brick.jpg
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Question is how does one go about repairing the sagging brick adjacent to the lintel above the window?

Thanks in advance for your knowledge and assistance.

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Old 06-26-12, 03:40 PM
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it is hard to say just exactly what is going on but I will take a shot.
I would suspect that this window lintel was repaired several years back and the old lintel was replaced by the newer angle you now see. The problem is that there was nothing put in place to support the back-up masonry (this is just a guess). You are correct; fix the gutter first, then the open joints above the corbels and then I believe you will be looking at removing the brick directly above the steel lintel to get to the back-up so it can be removed, lintel installed, back-up masonry replaced and then the face brick reinstalled. I would also at that time add some copper fabric flashing behind the facebrick to direct any water that does get into the wall back to the outside. It also appears as though the joint between the steel lintel and the brick has been caulked. This is a HUGE no-no. This joint is intended to be the point where water that gets into the wall can get back out. When you caulk this joint you create a dam which forces the water back into the wall to create more damage. Good luck with this one it may require a pro.
Old 06-26-12, 04:19 PM
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Thank you for the reply. It does appear to have caulk above the lintel. I will contact some local pros for a complete evaluation.
Old 06-27-12, 12:44 PM
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You are fortunate in having such an attractive feature in your house.
I believe spiper to be correct in that the metal angle immediately below the brick flat arch has been added much later. Arches are intended to be self-supporting without additional beams.

The reason it has been added is that an arch tends to push sideways, because of its 'wedging' effect. For this reason, brick arches need a substantial amount of brickwork each side to provide a suitable abutment. The width of brickwork you have each side of the window is quite narrow and I suspect the arch has over time pushed sideways and thereby dropped a little.

There would probably have been a timber lintel immediately behind the arch, supporting the inner brickwork, though this may have been replaced sometime by steel or concrete - only close inspection will tell.
Yes, fix the leak first, and then the brickwork. As advised, you do not seal the narrow gap between the metal and underside of the brickwork. A better job would be to re-build the brickwork, incorporating a flexible dpc over the metal, so that any water penetrating the joints runs away clear of the metal.
The metal should also be replaced by a galvanised steel angle. The existing angle looks v.rusty; rust expands and will cause the brickwork above to lift. You will probably see small horizontal cracks in the mortar at each side, in line with the metal,showing evidence of lifting.
Old 06-27-12, 07:14 PM
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Thanks for that feedback. Sounds like a job for the pros.

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