Steel Lintel Replacement Chicago

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Corroding lintel related brick wall cracks - steel lintel replacement Chicago

Brick wall cracks caused by corroding steel lintel

Since you’re reading this article, you are most likely thinking about a steel lintel replacement in your masonry building / property, and you are most likely living in Chicago or one of the surrounding neighborhoods.

You are definitely in the right place and we’ll be happy to help you in the evaluation of the distressed structure, answering any steel lintel replacement questions, and providing you with a quote for work that might be necessary to correct your lintel problem.

All our building evaluations and quotes are always FREE and you have no obligations to use our services.

Contact us  to schedule an appointment.

Steel lintel replacement Chicago - displaced bricks as a result of a deteriorating window lintels

Wall bricks as a result of heavily corroded window opening lintels

What is a LINTEL and its function

A lintel, the horizontal architectural member of a structure, is usually responsible for supporting the weight of various building wall components located above openings such as windows, doors, or portals.

Load bearing isn’t always the only function of the lintel, as sometimes it is just a decorative, architectural element and the only weight it supports is its own.

The majority of the steel lintel replacements we perform in the Chicago area are the aftermath of severe corrosion of steel, which results in lintel’s expansion, mortar line cracks, and masonry wall section displacement / damage.


Chicago brick wall damage caused by a corroding lintel which requires replacement

Heavily corroded window opening lintel responsible for cracked and displaced bricks

Those examples are all load bearing lintels, and their replacement can sometimes involve rebuilding significant portions of the walls.

What are the most typical signs of a bad steel lintel that qualifies it for replacement?

1. Mortar cracks at the upper corners of doors, windows, and / or portals, loose pieces of mortar falling from the joints. In case the process has just begun and there are no displaced wall sections above the corroding lintel, the replacement shouldn’t be complicated.

2. Mortar line cracks, cracked and / or displaced wall components (bricks, stone, CMU blocks): such damage cannot be easily fixed and, besides the lintel replacement, often requires a complete rebuilding of a masonry wall or its section.

Filling cracks and openings with mortar, covering corroded lintels with paint, or capping it with aluminum provides only a temporary and aesthetic solution. The condition of a lintel will worsen quickly because it cannot “breathe” under paint or aluminum cover. Moisture trapped in layers of corroding steel will not evaporate and cause further corrosion and expansion.

Mortar falling off from between the bricks and cracks appearing along the mortar joints - steel lintel replacement might be required soon

First stages of steel lintel corrosion usually result in mortar joints separation

Fresh mortar filled cracks will cause more damage to the wall areas previously unaffected and eventually result in structural failure, sometimes leaks, and damage to your home’s interior components.

Why is all of that happening to the lintels in the Chicagoland area?

Well, it’s mainly because of the humidity, the significant amount of rainfall (at least it used to be), and cold winters (that factor seems to be changing as well). Monitoring the masonry walls and spotting the signs of a corroding lintel quickly can save you a lot of money and prevent serious structural stability issues.

Keep in mind that whenever the wall becomes compromised, a structural engineer may need to be involved in a process of restoration. This raises the steel lintel replacement cost significantly, but unfortunately it might be unavoidable.

If you look at your building and spot anything similar to what you can see on our website’s pictures, give us a call so we can assess this condition.

Performing the damaged steel lintel replacement in Chicago with a combination of a correctly installed flashing, weep cords, and a drip edge could prevent many serious problems from occurring.