What is a Lintel?

A lintel is a horizontal structure constructed above the openings of the building. The openings of the building are the windows and the doors provided for access, passage and ventilation. The lintel is used to construct and continue the masonry construction above the opening, such that the opening provided do not result in structural failures. 

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Fig.1. Lintels Provided Over Window and Door Opening

By providing lintel, the loads coming over the openings ie. The dead load of the wall above, the dead load of the floor slab and the live loads are safely transferred to the lintel beam to the below floors without subjecting the opening to any critical loads.

Important Features of Lintel Construction

Some of the important features of lintel construction are enlisted below:
  1. The lintel is a horizontal beam whose width is equal to the width of the masonry wall.
  2. The lintel is always constructed by providing an end bearing at both the supports, which takes a minimum value of 150 mm. Almost all the country's standard codes and regulations use this value. The value of the end bearing increases with the increase in the length of the opening or the span of the beam.
  3. The length of the lintel is calculated as  Total width of the structural opening + 150 mm. Here the 150 mm is the end bearings provided at the ends.
  4. Inadequate value of end bearings result in cracking in decorations, structural cracks, structural failure or collapse.
  5. Lintels helps to reduce the heat loss from the building, dampness and condensation of the building.
  6. Proper construction of lintel helps to avoid thermal bridging or cavity within the building.

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