Removing a load-bearing wall and installing a lintel is not an easy task. Making an opening in a load-bearing wall requires a detailed plan and can only be carried out by an expert. Read this article and find out what to look for when removing a load-bearing wall and installing a lintel.
What is a lintel? A lintel is a beam placed above openings such as doors and windows to support the structure’s load above. The lintel’s width is equal to the width of the wall, and its ends are built into the wall. There are different types of lintels, depending on the material from which the lintel is made. For example, you have concrete lintels, steel lintels, prestressed brick lintels, self-supporting lintels through reinforced masonry, or temporary self-supporting lintels.
Load-bearing or non-load-bearing wall?
The first question to ask yourself is the following: Is the wall you want to remove a load-bearing wall or not? A non-load-bearing wall is quite easy to remove. In the case of a non-load-bearing wall, it supports none of the construction, as the name suggests.
Installing a lintel in a load-bearing wall can be a very dangerous job as there is always the risk of the whole collapsing and someone being injured in the process. Therefore, before opening the wall, it is advisable to seek the advice of a construction expert. When removing a load-bearing wall, you will need a permit. However, this is not the case with a non-load-bearing wall.
The first step to be taken is to find out whether it is a load-bearing or a non-load-bearing wall. If you remove a load-bearing wall without taking proper measures, there can also be consequences for the building. If the forces are not absorbed, they will rest on other parts of the construction and cracks — even subsidence can occur.
Calculation of a load-bearing wall
Before we can start to work, it is necessary to make good preparations and plan the renovation thoroughly. The most important part is to calculate the load-bearing wall or have it made. If you make adjustments within your home, you must always have a plan made to comply with the legislation. If you are not qualified for this, you cannot do this yourself.
How much does the calculation for the removal of a load-bearing wall cost? Depending on the size of the wall, such a calculation costs between 200 euros and 500 euros usually. The price increases depending on the size of the wall. The reason being that a bigger bearing wall plays a greater role in the load on the structure. Therefore, making the calculation will take more time, and the cost also increases.
What lintel strength do I need?
The lintel’s strength depends on two things: the place in the construction and the customer’s plans. For example, if you want to build a roof terrace above the load-bearing wall that can hold several people, then the lintel will have to be stronger. In other words, the choice of the strength of the lintel depends on what the supporting wall will support. Thanks to the calculation, the contractor will know which type of beam to use.
Installing concrete lintel
After the preparation, you can start with the first step of the implementation. In any case, making an opening in a load-bearing wall must be done with the necessary caution and expertise. These are the materials and tools you will need:
Before you start breaking down the wall, you need to support the ceiling with struts properly. Use a wooden board between the struts and the ceiling to distribute the weight. Use the wooden boards at the top, and the struts can be placed directly on the floor.
After this, you can proceed to the demolition of the wall. Use a hammer and chisel to make the first openings and then move on to the electric breaker. Take your time and work as carefully as possible. Make openings where you want to place the lintel on the right and left at the top of the wall. Once the opening is large enough, place the concrete lintel or H-beam level to the left and right of the wall.
Once it is in place, you can finish the wall with cement until you have obtained the desired result. Let it dry for between 48 and 72 hours, and then remove the struts. Once you have removed the struts, you can complete the wall fully and incorporate the lintel into the wall.