Are lintels required when installing windows?
When it comes to installing windows, ensuring structural integrity is crucial. One key component that plays a vital role in supporting the load above the window opening is a lintel. In this article, we will delve into the importance of lintels and why they are required for window installations.
What are Lintels?
Lintels are horizontal structural elements that provide support and reinforcement above a window and door opening in load-bearing walls. The primary purpose of lintels is to transfer the load from the wall above the window or door opening to the adjacent vertical supports, such as columns or walls. By doing so, lintels prevent the weight from bearing directly on the window frame which could cause damage, misalignment, or even failure over time. Without lintels, the structural integrity of the building can be compromised, leading to safety concerns and costly repairs. Lintels provide the necessary reinforcement to ensure that windows are properly supported and function effectively within the overall building structure.
Will I need them?
In some situations, lintels are a mandatory requirement for window installations. Compliance with building regulations, building control and FENSA guidelines ensures that the structural integrity of the building is maintained, and safety hazards are minimised. Our design team and surveyors are well-versed in the specific requirements of lintel design and material selection to meet all of these standards. It is essential to consult with experts during the planning and installation process to ensure the proper selection, sizing, and installation of lintels, thus guaranteeing the long-term stability and safety of the window openings.
The decision as to whether or not to fit lintels is a subjective judgement which is taken by our designers and reassessed at point of survey considering each window on its own merits. The factors that would lead to the decision to fit a lintel include:
• the width of the window (wider windows are more likely to need one),
• the structure of the new window (windows with large expanses of uninterrupted glass are more likely to need one),
• evidence of structural cracks already present above the window,
• the number of courses of brickwork above the window being replaced.
We find that the most common type of installation that requires the insertion of a steel lintel is directly above patio or bi-folding doors. The reason for this is that there is often a large expanse of un-supported space which is a classic recipe that can lead to brickwork problems.
Lintels play a crucial role in supporting the load above window openings. They provide structural reinforcement, ensuring stability and preventing issues such as sagging or collapse. By complying with building standards, FENSA and consulting with professionals like the team at Finesse Windows, homeowners can ensure the proper installation of lintels, guaranteeing the longevity and safety of their windows.
If you require any further information contact one of our Design Team on 0121 451 3724 or pop into our showroom in Kings Norton.