These top tips for specifying steel lintels are considerations as much as they are tips. It follows on from our original blog post Specifying steel lintels: 5 top tips. These five tips or considerations may help when selecting lintels and hopefully specifying them for your projects.
Rivet or Welding?
Fabricated lintels are either welded or riveted together to form the final product. There is evidence to suggest that welded lintels can result in spot corrosion across the length of the lintel. Riveted lintels, if done correctly, will not compromise the galvanised protection of the lintels and therefore not show any signs of corrosion.
It is worth looking into how the lintel is produced before specifying if corrosion is a potential concern.
Combining steel and concrete
There are specific benefits to combining steel and concrete and this should be considered under certain circumstances. In terms of thermal transference, a concrete inner lintel and steel outer offers an exceptional reduction of a cold bridge, by virtue of the fact that there is no bridge. Read more about combined lintels.
Appreciate the environment
The environment also has a big impact on lintel specification and lintel selection. If a lintel is to be used at basement level where it is exposed to moisture or potential water ingress, a standard galvanised lintel may not be enough. In this circumstance, we would probably recommend a concrete lintel. In addition to this, the potential of chemical corrosion (depending on the application of the lintel) means that a stainless steel lintel may be required. This is also true for MX4 classed areas where the high level of salt in the air can corrode galvanised steel.
The actual lintel application is important because some lintels have several applications. Closed eave and timber frame lintels are designed for a specific purpose, and can really only be used for that purpose, but box lintels, for example, can be used for a variety of applications and are available in different variants. In some cases, lintels can also be re-engineered for certain purposes – the key is to ask the manufacturer for advice.
Don’t over specify. Certainly, the cost of under-specifying is potentially life-threatening, but over specifying can be a huge burden on the finances and should be avoided. A basic understanding of lintel selection would help specify the correct lintels but most manufacturers will have a technical or specification team, that can help and suggest cost-effective lintels for the project in hand.
Here at Stressline all of our fabricated steel lintels are riveted not welded. We also produce and sell concrete lintels, so we can specify and schedule both; indeed, we are arguably perfectly placed to advise without bias.
We also have the widest published range of steel lintels in the UK, which means we can advise or engineer the right lintel for you. Finally, our steel lintels are often less expensive than other brands, so we are confident that we can provide specifiers, builders and developers with the most comprehensive cost-effective solution.