Lintels support heavy loads above openings in a wall, such as windows or doorways, to prevent the building from collapsing. If you’ve ever played Jenga, you already know how a gap in a structure can quickly lead to instability and, eventually, collapse.
Lintels are a crucial structural element that keeps buildings and other structures standing, with the National Building Code of Australia mandating these load-bearing supports to increase a design's structural soundness.
Learn how steel lintels, t-bars, and t-beams offer support above gaps in brickwork, and masonry, to prevent collapse.
You Need A Qualified Engineer
Before we continue talking about these load-bearing components, we first need to stress the need for a qualified structural engineer to sign off on your project before continuing.
The only person who has the authority to legally stipulate which structural components are installed, where they are installed, and how they are installed is a certified engineer.
While your steel supplier can provide you with all the structural steel materials you need, you’ll still need to consult a qualified structural engineer before proceeding with any construction project.
Before construction can begin, an engineer must first consider the following:
- Type of load
- Structural design
- Choice of materials
- Maintenance requirements for building materials
- How to manage moisture around the gap where the lintel is being installed
- Movement and expansion of building materials
Once an engineer has approved the build, contact your structural steel supplier for lintels and t-bars that suit your next load-bearing project and get the support you need! But wait, how do I know which structural steel products to choose? Let’s help you out there too!
What’s A Lintel?
A lintel is a load-bearing structural component that sits above a gap in a building, typically installed above a window or a door. Lintels can be made out of timber, stone, concrete, and steel.
Steel Lintels vs Other Materials
Steel is a metal with isotropic properties, meaning it has the same level of strength everywhere. These properties increase steel's compressive and tensile strength, allowing the alloy to carry heavy loads without collapsing. Compressive forces push on materials, while tensile forces pull materials apart.
Compared to timber, which has anisotropic properties, its density and strength vary throughout the material, making it less resistant to these forces.
Although concrete and masonry have far greater density and strength than timber, this benefit comes at the cost of weight, making them difficult to position on site. Moreover, concrete lintels are commonly set with high-tensile prestressed steel wires to increase tensile strength.
Steel Beams vs Steel Lintels
Steel beams are fundamental structural components that come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and configurations, each with a different load rating for other load-bearing purposes.
Lintel beams are structural steel that is frequently used in brickwork and masonry. Steel lintels support the load from the structure above and transfer the weight to the side walls to prevent structural collapse from the applied loads.
Types of Steel Lintels
Facebrick Angle: Installed in brickwork gaps and openings, face brick angle lintels are load-bearing components with greater strength than concrete without the additional weight.
Render: These loadbearing lintels are rendered with underside holes to help the render adhere to the brickwork and lintel.
Hot-Rolled Angle: A thicker load-bearing component that can support greater loads than other steel lintels.
Shelf Angles: Support brickwork in panel wall systems by transferring the load onto the building's structure so that builders can create space beneath.
T-Bar: Notable for its T-shape and load-bearing capabilities.
Cavity T-Bar: A slightly larger T-Shaped bar with a broader base and a solid billet (metal bar) welded to the top for additional support.
Flat Bar: Rectangular flat-face steel bar used for smaller load-bearing applications.
Lintels For Your Next Load-Bearing Project
With professional advice from a certified engineer, contact your structural steel supplier for lintels and t-bars and get the support you need!
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