The post and lintel system has been used in building construction since the Ancient Greeks. The post and lintel is a simple and effective method of channeling the down force of a structure, around an opening and into the foundation below. Steel lintels are installed over window and door openings in masonry buildings to allow for open spaces in load-bearing walls. To install your own steel lintel, you will require some masonry skills and a few basic tools.
Things You'll Need
- Mortar mix
- Steel lintel
- Small sledge
- Eye goggles
Use your hammer and chisel to break away mortar from the grooves at both ends of the top of your doorway or window opening. The idea is to clear enough room for the lintel to slide into place, and to make a slot wide enough so the lintel is properly supported once in place. Since the top of the opening should end along an existing row of bricks, just locate and clear the mortar joint at either side of the top of the opening. About three inches on each side will do.
Fill the lintel mounting slot with mortar. Mix the mortar to be a little dryer than usual so that it is stiff enough to remain in position once applied. Use your trowel and fingers to fill the slot completely.
Place the steel lintel into position at the top of your opening, so that it slides into the slot you have created, and lies flat against the front of the wall. Use your hammer or small sledge to drive the lintel into position.
Fill in as much of the mortar that fell out during installation as possible. Allow the mortar to dry completely according to manufacturer's instructions, before moving ahead with a window or door installation.
Tips & Warnings
- Have a helper assist you in the installation of steel lintel. Steel is a very heavy material, and lifting a lintel to a high position and securing it in place can be dangerous.
- Always wear eye protection when working with stone or brick. Chips can fly into your eyes, causing serious injury.
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