A brick lintel may be formed as bricks on end, bricks on edge or coursed bricks laid horizontally over openings. The small units of brick, laid in mortar, give poor support to the wall above and usually need some form of additional support.
A brick on-end lintel is generally known as a ‘soldier arch’ or ‘brick on end’ arch. The word arch here is wrongly used as the bricks are not arranged in the form of an arch or curve but laid flat. The brick lintel is built with bricks laid on end with stretcher faces showing, as illustrated in Fig. 97. In building a brick lintel, mortar should be packed tightly between bricks.
A brick on end or soldier arch was a conventional method of giving the appearance of some form of support over openings in fairface brickwork.
For openings up to about 900 mm wide it was common to provide some support for soldier arches by building the lintel on the head of timber window and door frames. The wood frame served as temporary support as the bricks were laid, and support against sagging once the wall was built.
A variation was to form skew back bricks at each end of the lintel with cut bricks so that the slanting surface bears on a skew brick in the jambs, as illustrated in Fig. 97. The skew back does give some little extra stability against sagging.
For openings more than 900 mm wide a brick on end lintel may be supported by a 50 x 6 mm iron bearing bar, the ends of which are built into jambs as illustrated in Fig. 98A. The bearing bar provides little effective support and may in time rust. As a more effective alternative a steel 50 or 75 mm angle is built into jambs to give support to the lintel. The 50 mm flange of the angle supports the back edge of the bricks and may be masked by the window or door frame.
Another method of support was to drill a hole in each brick of the lintel. This can only successfully be done with fine grained bricks such as mans or gaults. Through the holes in the bricks a round-section mild steel rod is threaded and the ends of the rod are built into the brickwork either side of the lintel. This method of supporting the lintel is quite satisfactory but is somewhat expensive because of the labour involved.
A more satisfactory method of providing support for brick on edge lintels is by wall ties cast into a concrete lintel. The lintel bricks are laid on a temporary supporting soffit board. As the bricks are laid wall ties are bedded between joints. An in situ reinforced concrete lintel is then cast behind the brick lintel so that when the concrete has set and hardened the ties give support, as illustrated in Fig. 98B.
Bricks laid on edge, showing a header face, were sometimes used as a lintel. Where the soffit of the lintel is in line with a brick course there has to be an untidy split course of bricks, some 37 mm deep above. Alternatively, the top of the lintel may be in line with a course, as illustrated in Fig. 97.
As support for coursed brickwork over openings a galvanised, pressed steel lintel is used. The lintel illustrated in Fig. 99 is for use with cavity walling to provide support for both the brick outer leaf and the block inner.
Fig. 97 Brick lintels.
Fig. 98 (A) Bearing bar for lintel. (B) wall tie support for lintel.
Fig. 99 Steel lintel support.