Sealing Steel Window Lintels in Brick House

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  #1  
Old 12-09-02, 01:16 PM
ballpeen
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Sealing Steel Window Lintels in Brick House

What should I use to seal the horizontal space on the exterior surface of my home where the steel window lintels are exposed (below the brick): mortar or window caulking material? Thanks for your responses!
 
  #2  
Old 12-10-02, 05:36 PM
mikary51
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Nothing

I have never sealed the lintel under the bricks. There should be no need to do that. There should be flashing on top of the lintel and the brichs are laid dry on that (usually). In some cases there is a little mortar on the lintel but this is only used as a means to keep the bricks from rolling out or if there is a heigh difference.
If ya want "by the book" the flashing should protrude 1/2" beyond the steel and it should be bent down over the steel.
 
  #3  
Old 12-11-02, 08:48 AM
ballpeen
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There is no flashing (that I can see) over the lintels. I don't believe that there ever was because there are no visible weep holes anywhere in the exterior brick (unless they were mortared over at some point). That being the case, it seems that the wall system in my home was not intended to function in the way that a drainage wall system would (by allowing water that gets behind the brick to escape back out through a flashing/weep hole system). Although water may not be getting in between the lintel and brick/window, I just wanted to be sure that it isn't, and thought that caulking might serve that purpose.
 
  #4  
Old 12-11-02, 10:09 AM
mikary51
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Caulk

I assume we r talking about a brick veneer job here?
 
  #5  
Old 12-11-02, 11:54 AM
ballpeen
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no

Actually the exterior is double course brick, the interior is plaster walls over rock lath, with a shallow cavity in between.
 
  #6  
Old 12-11-02, 02:25 PM
mikary51
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Double Brick

well... This is different. A double wall w/o air space needs no flashing although it is recommended. As for the 2x4 lintels I can't comment any further w/o inspection. Go ahead and caulk as you were planning.
 
  #7  
Old 12-11-02, 03:21 PM
Tn...Andy
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Hey....I 'm sorta curious having bricked several houses myself and installed about 10,000 replacement windows in brick veneer openings......I've NEVER seen flashing installed on a lintel....Why would you ? I mean you have an "L" shaped steel lintel with brick on the bottom part of the "L"......if water does manage to get in between the brick and lintel, how is it going to climb up the "L" ??? And if water wicks around the bottom of the lintel, a caulk joint where the lintel joins the top of the brickmoulding on the window will stop it from entering.......

So what is the purpose of flashing at the lintel ???
 
  #8  
Old 12-11-02, 03:42 PM
ballpeen
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Good Question

I'd like to hear the answer to that myself. I didn't even know that the lintel is L shaped. Thought it was just a flat piece of metal. BTW, what do you mean by "brickmoulding"?
 
  #9  
Old 12-11-02, 03:57 PM
mikary51
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Flash

Flashing is required over windows and doors and sometimes it is speced out for under windows as well. Anyone in the masonry profession should know that water gets in behind the brick. The flashing directs it out.

The reason it is over the windows , doors, is so the water does not get inside. Where there are no opennings the water will travel to the bottom where there shoud be flashing around the whole project.

If there was no flashing installed on your brick veneer jobs it was a mistake.

I have never been on a job where the inspector allowed flashing to be left out.

Any spec book from any architect 99.99% of the time will spec out flashing, its location, type, and installation methods.
 
  #10  
Old 12-11-02, 04:08 PM
Tn...Andy
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Well, lintels used today on veneer are "L" shaped.....a flat pc of metal wouldn't have much strength unless it was ridiculously thick......by turning an angle, you pick up a lot of stiffening.....even so, I generally stick a 2x4 prop under the lintel until the courses over the opening have a few days to set or sometimes even the L will sag.

On older, solid brick construction, most of the lintels I've seen while "deconstructing" this type building is a double "L" back to back to hold both courses, along with no lintels, cast concrete lintels, and other methods......

Brickmould is the moulding generally found on wood windows today....it is an 1 1/4" x 2" decorative moulding that mounts to the window jambs and header that acts as a postive "stop" to butt the brick too.....hence the name......almost all windows today will have it or some form of a flange around the window projecting out to butt brick or siding too....
 
  #11  
Old 12-11-02, 04:14 PM
Tn...Andy
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Mikary,


Must a nothern thing......I can show you millions of houses here in the south that don't have it......and I've never seen any damage as a result....
 
  #12  
Old 12-11-02, 04:31 PM
ballpeen
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Not veneer

The exterior wall is double course brick, not veneer, and the house was built in 1938. Don't know if flashing was required back then, but there is none that I can see. My understanding is that the double course brick is basically designed to prevent water from getting in under most conditions (if properly maintained) and that any water that does get through the brick and finds its way into the cavity space, should be able to find its way back out again (even without flashing or weep holes) since brick is a porous material. At least I hope that's the case.
 
  #13  
Old 12-11-02, 06:13 PM
NutAndBoltKing
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ballpeen Al;

When I worked for those waterproofing companies in NYC we had to remove and discard any flashing we found on lintels. It was quite frankly a very very rare find, and I seriously doubt you have it on your SI home. It has long been the city's theory that the electrolysis which occurs between two wet metals in contact accelerated the very damaging oxidation process that compromises the lintels integrity. The 1980 "Local Law #10" and apppendices that I mentioned in the other reply actually spells it out, but was practiced long long before 1980.

My experience has been with two types of lintels; generally speaking - post WW2 modern and pre WW2 old:

Most modern lintels I've handled have been the L-shaped angles described by Andy. In residential home construction they're usually 2 L-shaped angles welded back to back. In the multi-storied hi-rise structures in Manhattan, along the thousands of miles of lintels I've hung as an Ironworker (usually belly hung over the edge or standing atop a brickie's pump scaffold) the lintels were almost all L-shaped angles, usually bolted to the structure with askew head bolts. (After set to height a waterproofer would glue membrane to seal the void between the back of the lintel and structure). The newest generation of lintel is surfaced treated with long lasting almost rust proof epoxy. No flashing.

Older style lintels I've installed or replaced were just flat steel stock - sometimes cast iron but more often wrought iron, and if they were afforded any protection it was just red lead paint. No flashing. Being cast or wrought iron they were very susceptible to oxidation and usually suffered serious scaling. I'm sure that this is the kind of lintel you have in your 1938 home. This is also the kind the my grandfather made in his Hoboken blacksmith's shop. Side note: There was, I should add, an era (in the 30s) where it was popular to weld brick ties to the lintels, and in the 40s short studs were often welded to the L+R ends to further help in embedment.

I've stated my opinion on caulking in the other reply and at the other forum.
 
  #14  
Old 12-11-02, 07:23 PM
NutAndBoltKing
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PS

Al, The way you've described your SI home very much reminds me of two others.

The first belonged to my Aunt over in Borough Park, about 2 blocks from the B Train stop on Ft. Hamilton Blvd for Maimonides Hospital. It had a flat roof and brick walls like your house does and the bricks were previously repaired just like yours have been. Her cracking mortar and loose brick problem was a leaking roof, which she discovered only after snow from a heavy storm began melting.

The second home was on SI across the street from that city parking lot with meters, behind the Court House. It's got a coffee shop on the first floor. It's brick and mortar problems were caused by water seeping in behind the parapet wall and stone cornices up on the flat roof. I worked on that one (1981ish) replacing the lintels and bricks after the roof was fixed.

You've replaced your roof - so hopefuly you've solved the cause of your problem.
 
  #15  
Old 12-13-02, 04:07 PM
ballpeen
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Sorry for the late reply

I got busy. Anyway, thanks for all the info on lintels. I actually found it quite interesting. I wonder if the bulging bricks above the lintels are due to back-to-back L shaped lintels. It seems to me that that configuration would cause the bricks to be displaced (outward and inward) away from the vertical mortar joint line between the two courses.
Well, the plasterer starts work on Monday to repair and replaster the interior walls upstairs that were damaged from a roof leak. (Those !@#$%^& flat roofs!) But that's a story for another day (and another forum).
 
  #16  
Old 12-13-02, 04:37 PM
NutAndBoltKing
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ballpeen Al,

While that buldge in the profile of your brick can be caused by any numer of reasons I'm certain that your house does not have back to back L-shaped lintels. It was erected in '38, and flat wrought iron lintels were used in our area during that era. You would be able to see the joint between the two lintels if you had the back to back type. That joint would be very clearly visible; the yoke, or head of the window would not conceal it because the window would have to be installed in the back or innermost lintel.
 
  #17  
Old 08-02-04, 07:01 AM
KyDIY
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I have several exposed and rusted lintels on my house, what would be recommended to repair and seal them from rusting further? One of them is rusted badly and sagging away from the brick. Is there any way to replace a window lintel or to repair such a problem? Thanks.
 
 

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