Cracking in brickwork - Have the lintels failed or something else?

Discussion in 'Engineers' Talk' started by CPop06, Jul 25, 2023.

  1. CPop06

    CPop06 New Member

    Hi
    I’m wondering whether anyone could offer me any much needed advice.
    I’ve recently noticed these cracks after having ceiling plastered & coving removed. They can be seen both internally & on externally on outer edges of the lintel. (Pictured) No idea how long they have been there, looked at an external picture from two years ago & noticed it is there then & hasn’t changed. On discovery I’ve noticed a number of similar cracks in the mortar on the outside edges of lintels across the property but none of these can be seen internally. Pictured is the ‘worst’ one. It is a 1960s dormer bungalow for reference. The ‘runs’ down the walls by the way isn’t water, it’s stains from the plaster.

    Have the lintels failed? Could I fill these cracks & monitor what happens next as I have no idea how long they’ve been there or if they’ve changed? I’ve had two separate builders assess & they’ve told me I have nothing to worry about but I don’t know what my best steps are going forward.

    Any advice much appreciated. Thanks from a very anxious lady!
     

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  2. Bob Rathbone

    Bob Rathbone Screwfix Select

    The lintel has failed at the end, you can see outside where the end has been patched up. The lintel will need replacement as it carries the roof weight almost directly with not many courses of brick above for buffering and spreading the weight. I would have said not to be concerned but the crack is also on the inside, this shows movement. Part of the weight of the roof is now resting on the window frame, it won't suddenly collapse so it could be left for a while. If the glass in the window cracks without any apparent reason, that is a sure sign that the part of roof weight is resting on the window frame and has distorted it. I am an Electrician who has built my own house, so I do understand the construction methods, lets see what others say.
     
  3. CPop06

    CPop06 New Member

    Thanks for replying! So would you think that all the other windows with similar cracks along the edge of the lintels, albeit not visible inside too, have failed?
    How long would they tend to hold? I ask because it was my grandparents property before mine and so wouldn’t have been patched for quite some time - 10+ years at the very least.
     
  4. Bob Rathbone

    Bob Rathbone Screwfix Select

    All of the lintels will be the same age and the same material, made in the same way at the same factory. It is likely that all of the lintels are nearing the end of their service life, but unless they show distress such as the one in the photo I would not be concerned about them. The patch up on the lintel is just a cosmetic job and has contributed little to it's structural integrity. This lintel will be picked up on a survey should you wish to sell the house, it is unlikely to fail catastrophically as the window frame will provide some support. The crack on the inside and the outside will continue to be an issue causing decorative distress on the inside. What you do next is really your choice, ignore it or fix it (it should be fixed). The house is unlikely to fall down any time soon. Could I suggest that you re post this in the 'Builders' section and see what replies you get.
     
  5. CPop06

    CPop06 New Member

    Not looking to sell any time just ensure the structurally integrity of the house and stave off any nasties happening. Thank you!
     

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