Stories From the Field

Post: Window Lintel Replacement Work in East Lakeview

Friday May 28, 2021

Diagram showing location of lintels above windows

This month, AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing was hired to locate and correct the source of water incursion at an elegant pre-war courtyard building in East Lakeview just steps from the lake.

After examination of the exterior and interior wall conditions, it was determined that defective window lintels were the primary contributors to the water damage observed inside the living spaces (refer to first photo). We could tell by the bowing of the steel lintels and the step cracks emanating from the corners of the window heads that these lintels were severely deteriorated and in need of replacement but we never could have guessed just how structurally deficient they were.

Lintels are often referred to as "angle iron” because the shape of the steel used to support the bricks and stones over door and window openings forms a right angle. In residential work, steel lintels typically have a thickness of 3/8” or 1/2”. Steel of this thickness is capable of supporting hundreds or thousands of pounds of load without difficulty. The wider the window or door opening, the thicker the piece of steel should be to handle the load and maintain a nice straight shape. In the second photo you can see the cross section of a 3/8” piece of angle iron freshly cut and ready for priming and painting. This is what steel lintels should look like.

Cross section of angle-iron

The third photo shows the condition of one of the window lintels removed from the building. Wow, that is a really awful steel window lintel! (Actually, what crew chief Andy is holding in his hand is more like 99% rust and 1% steel.) It is hard to believe that this hunk of junk once looked like the lintel in photo #2. When steel lintels are structurally deficient, more and more of the brick and stone load gets supported by the window frames and, not surprisingly, owners often complain that their windows no longer open easily because the frames are being crushed and deflected and no longer retain a true square shape.

Andy holding a severely rusted steel lintel

Replacement of window lintels requires strength, patience and technical skill. AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing has the technical knowledge and extensive field experience to replace your window and door lintels correctly. (That means priming and twice-painting the steel before installation, and installing a proper flashing detail including stainless steel drip edges and end dams.). For lintel replacement work that lasts and lasts, please contact us for a free consultation.

Thank you,


Back to Stories Home...