Is a wooden lintel OK?

Is a wooden lintel OK?

Lintel measurements

Among the more than 200 areas that we clean in your home is the door lintel. The lintel is the horizontal element that covers the opening in the wall (red circle in the photo), usually above a door or window. Learn how to clean the door lintel by giving it the right maintenance to keep it looking impeccable.

Made of stone, iron or wood, lintels were a common element in classical art and nowadays we can find them in old houses. The complete cleaning of the door, front and back, includes the door itself as well as the hinges, handles and knobs.

If you don’t have time to do a thorough cleaning, contact us and we will take care of everything. We are experts in integral cleaning; we also clean more than 200 areas of your house thoroughly. We perform deep cleaning jobs in just 1 day thanks to the experience, technique and machinery of the best professionals. Calculate your price in our online calculator of deep cleaning of apartments and houses and you will be able to enjoy much more of your free time delegating the dirty work to Limpiezas Express.

Lintels for doors and windows

The lintel, in the general case, has the function of supporting a wall where there are openings (door, window, …). If it is used to open a wall, then it will carry all the loads that the demolished wall had to support.

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However, in the case of a load-bearing wall, the wood alone may not be able to carry the full loads and therefore will not be able to ensure the solidity of the wall. To remedy this, a wooden lintel is installed, but lined with reinforced concrete.

The wood must first be treated with a fungicide to improve its resistance. Then, for the decorative side, its four sides are coated with wood stain to maintain its natural state and increase protection. As the lintel will be hung in concrete, the two non-visible facades will be reinforced with nails to improve adhesion.

Note that an additional 20 cm will be needed on each side of the opening for the length of the wooden lintel. So, for an opening of 2.40 meters for example, the lintel will have to be 2.80 meters long.

Metal profile lintel

I miss a better definition in building projects, since in many cases lintels are simply mentioned in the descriptions of other items such as “…including proportional part of lintels, jambs…)”, leaving the choice of options too open to the contractors.

I thought of writing this article when I saw for the umpteenth time some lintels made with prestressed joists.    Evidently the system seems to work, but I find this solution horrifying, so I decided to write this article to comment on the characteristics that I think lintels should have.

As I always say, I do not intend to make a thesis on lintels, as there is extensive documentation on the subject, but I do intend to mention the points that I consider most relevant on the execution of lintels.

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In principle, as a general definition we can say that lintels are in charge of receiving the weight of the elements above the opening and transmitting it to the jambs, that is to say, to the sides.

Detail of window lintel

From early times, wood played an important role as a social material. Abundant in the high altitude forests of Mexico and Central America, wood was an important resource for construction. The forests were also a source of food, both for their trees and for the numerous animals that their shadows and branches sheltered. Wooden art objects imitated the trees themselves, as stoic and solid beings, or containers of sustenance. Wood was also used as the basis for masterpieces of different materials: stone, greenstone or shell mosaics, obsidian or pyrite mirrors, among others. Unfortunately, our understanding of the power of wood to underpin architecture and adornment was lost to tropical elements, often leaving us with only traces, such as thin stucco shells with crumbled pigments.

Some wooden objects, of an architectural nature, show us the role that the lost art of perishable objects played in the social roles in Classic Maya cities. Wood was more than a building material, it was a canvas for engraving. Certain lintels from the Classic period contain some of the most important scenes and narrative texts in Maya art. Lintels were made of chicozapote or sapodilla (Manilkara zapota), a dense and heavy tropical wood. The dark color of the wood, its location inside the temples, and the pigments applied made the scenes on the lintels become intimate visual images. The Maya must have used fire to create the light just as epigraphers use it today to study the subjects of the scenes. Wooden lintels from both the northern and southern Lowlands have captivated foreign explorers since the earliest visits to Maya ruins. For example, John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood’s expedition to the Yucatán peninsula left us with one of the earliest records of wooden monuments from the Puuc site of Kabah.

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