Lintels of some description have been used in buildings for thousands of years; from wood to stone to modern concrete and steel. Builders throughout time have understood the importance of spreading the load above an opening. If you want to open up a new doorway or even make two rooms into one; you have to remember that the wall is part of a structure and anything above the section you take out will need to be supported. This will mean installing a concrete lintel.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Acro props
- Strong boy support attachments
- Tape measure
- Spirit level
- Lump hammer
- Disc cutter
- 1 to 3 mortar mix
Measure and mark out the position of the lintel, the lintel length and size will be determined by the width of the opening. For a doorway it will need to overlap at least 150 mm each side of the door frame. The lintel specifications may have been specified in the plans or by building control; if this is not the case seek advice at your local builder’s merchant.
Cut out the mortar joint above where the lintel will sit; this can be done with either a disk cutter or a hammer and bolster. This slot needs to be large enough to fit the strong boy support attachments.
Fit the Acro prop and Strong boy attachment into the wall as per manufacturers' instructions, depending on the width of the opening more than one Acro prop and Strong boy may be required, this can be discussed at the hire point.
Cut out the opening for the lintel and remove bricks, this can be done with a lump hammer and bolster; however it would be quicker with a disc cutter. At this stage only take out the bricks in the area of the lintel; do not take the whole wall down.
Lay a bed of mortar across the top of the lintel and also on the bearing points either side of the opening.
Insert the lintel into the slot ensuring it is level and sat on a good bed of mortar. Make sure the joints above and to the sides are also full of mortar. Depending on the size of the lintel; lifting it into place will be at least a two-man job.
Leave the mortar to dry overnight then remove the supports, the slots can now be filled with mortar. The rest of the opening can now be knocked out.
Tips and warnings
- Make sure you have everything you need before starting working.
- If using a disk cutter insure you wear proper protection, groves, goggles and mask.
- When carrying out structural work on your house, if in doubt consult a professional.
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