Lintel block requirement in CMU crawl space foundation

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Old 03-15-13, 09:30 AM
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Lintel block requirement in CMU crawl space foundation

I'm building a CMU block foundation (crawl space) for an addition onto my house. I have and planned on using a 48" long lintel block to span the opening of the crawl space. But I'm unsure of the length of bearing surface I need for the lintel. I can't find anything in the 2009 IRC specific to it, and no instructions from the place I got the lintel from.

I had assumed 8" bearing surface. But when I got to thinking about it, this would make my crawl space opening 32" wide (and it will be 24" high). This meets code in both directions, but if I only need a bearing surface of 4" on each side, then my opening becomes 40" wide, a big difference.

And then again, I've seen newer homes where no lintel block is used; the crawl space opening goes right to the sill plate. This would increase my opening height another 8" too. But that may depend on the load bearing above. In my case, my floor joists will run perpendicular to the wall this opening is going in. So I think a lintel block would be required in my case.

Any thoughts?
 
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Old 03-15-13, 09:55 AM
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It all depends on the amount of steel in the lintel. - Contact the supplier for info and suggestions.

Normally 8" is used to maintain the uniform modular spacing of the mortar joints. It would be easier if you had and idea of the loads, since a bigger area will have more loads on the lintel. I might be possible to cut the bearing area with more load on the lintel, but it just be a guess.

Dick
 
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Old 03-15-13, 10:20 AM
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Good point on maintaining modular spacing. I've been messing with my Sketchup 3D CAD model of the foundation and quickly found out that I end up with ugly looking joints at one spot along my wall due to this. So it's either find another lintel that is 64" (to open the opening another 16") or stick with what I have and an 8" bearing. Thanks for pointing out the obvious!
 
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