Nashville Home Inspector – Lintel Plate Installation – What’s Wrong with this Picture? 6.25.11

Nashville Home Inspector – Lintel Plate Installation – What’s Wrong With This Picture?  6.25.11

HINT:  Lintel Plates are the metal strip that should be installed across the top of exterior doors and windows.  Lintel plates should extend into the exterior surface above the door and/or window they protect.  Look closely at the lintel plate as it crosses above this door and window installation at a rear porch.

Poor Lintel Plate Installation

ANSWER:  The purpose of a lintel plate is to provide structural support for the exterior surface, in this case brick veneer, above an opening in the shell such as a door and/or window.  Without this support, the weight of the brick veneer would overpower the frame of the window or door and cause the brick veneer to collapse.  Below is a closeup of the lintel plate near the point where the door on the left meets the windows on the right.  Look how the lintel plate has dropped down above the windows.  Why did this happen?

Split Lintel Installation

Lintel plates should extend uninterrupted across the opening in the shell, be it door and/or window.  In fact, the lintel plate should extend beyond the sides of the door or window and into the shell several inches so that the vertical weight load is distributed to the shell beyond the sides of the door or window.  In this case, the lintel plates did extend past the ends of the door and windows.  But, this split in the middle is what caused the problem here.  By not using a continuous plate the loads at the split allowed the vertical loads to overcome the frame of the window and start the collapse of the brick veneer.  Look at the picture below to see that the brick veneer is not only dropping down but also falling out away from the wall.

Collapsed Brick Veneer

In the picture above, the only thing holding the brick veneer above the windows is the wood fascia in front of the brick.  This situation needs repair and will likely require complete re-installation.

Thank you,

Richard Acree

Comments in this blog posting are the copyrighted intellectual property of Richard Acree, President, HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC,  and are intended to educate and otherwise assist home owners, sellers and buyers, building owners, sellers and buyers, realtors, real estate investors, property managers, and lenders in the process of owning, buying or selling homes or commercial buildings.  HABITEC is a residential (home) and commercial building inspection company serving Middle Tennessee including Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Mt. Juliet, Hendersonville, Dickson, Belle Meade, Columbia, Spring Hill, Lebanon, Gallatin and more!  In addition to building inspections HABITEC offers Environmental Services for mold assessments, radon testing and water quality analysis.  Additional information about HABITEC can be found on our website at, or call 615-376-2753. 

Richard Acree is the author of  the HABITEC Home and Building Inspections blog at ActiveRain, WordPress, and Blogger, and Founder of the ActiveRain Group Tennessee Home and Building Inspectors.  All are welcome to join and comment on those blogs and group.   You can also follow HABITEC on Facebook and Richard on Linked.  Thank you!


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