A lintel is a beam located above a door or window, which supports the wall above the opening.
A lintel replacement typically costs between $100 to $400.
Lintels come in various materials, such as concrete, brick, timber, or steel.
When it comes to our windows and doors, it’s easy to miss all the critical parts that keep them functioning well. Take the case of the lintel, for instance. Many homeowners may have never heard of a lintel, let alone given it much thought. Whether used for decorative or structural purposes, a lintel is an essential part of your windows and doors. Here’s what to know about lintels and what to do if yours needs to be repaired or replaced.
What Is a Lintel?
A lintel is a load-bearing beam that supports the opening in the framing where the door or window is installed. It holds the door or window in place and the weight of the surrounding wall and offers additional weatherproofing by keeping outside air and moisture out of your home.
Many lintels are made of wood, concrete, or steel that can deteriorate over time. If you notice any signs like sagging or cracking in the area above your door or window, it's important to follow up with a structural engineer or professional contractor for guidance on whether or not the beam needs repairs. Here’s what you need to know when planning to repair or replace a lintel beam.
How Much Does It Cost to Repair or Replace a Lintel Beam?
Damaged door or window parts can be a safety hazard and a risk to the surrounding wall and structural elements. If you see any visible cracks, a repair won’t be sufficient. In most cases, the lintel will need to be replaced entirely. The average cost to replace a window or door lintel is between $100 and $400, depending on the extent of the issue and the type of repair.
Lintel Replacement Cost Breakdown
There are a few steps to replace a lintel, which factor into the final cost.
The price depends on the size and the material of the lintel, but a beam replacement generally runs between $30 and $200.
A professional can charge anywhere between $45 to $60 per hour for their service, depending on the scope of work and area of expertise. A professional contractor or brick mason will be able to provide you with an accurate quote after assessment.
In some cases, you might need a structural engineer assessment which can cost between $340 and $700.
Replacing a lintel requires extensive work to the wall surrounding it, which may entail additional repairs to get the wall back to what it was before. The average cost to repair drywall starts around $100, while the cost to repair a brick wall ranges from $690 to $2,120.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace Lintel by Type?
Lintels come in varying materials, such as steel, timber, stone, concrete, or brick. The lintel price ranges from $25 to $300 per piece, yet the material of your lintel determines the cost.
Houses built in the 1950s and later used metal lintels. Steel lintels are a popular choice for construction and masonry because they are lightweight and easy to customize. This type of lintel can handle bigger openings and heavier loads, so it’s typically on the costlier end of the price spectrum.
If you have a brick wall surrounding the window or door, the lintel may also be made of reinforced brick. Brick lintels are preferred when the span of the door or window is less than 3 feet long; this type of lintel also integrates better with a brick wall construction than their steel counterparts.
Commonly found in older houses, wood lintels are made of oak, hickory, or walnut hardwood. The price for a wood lintel depends on the type of wood and averages around $5 to $30 per linear foot.
Concrete is a more flexible lintel option than steel and is better for coastal regions where the air may be corrosive to steel beams. Concrete is also less expensive than steel; however, it does not have the same strength-to-weight ratio.
Even though stone lintels are heavy and not recommended because they can't withstand much pressure, they are still commonly used because of their durability, availability, and aesthetic.
What Factors Influence the Cost to Replace a Lintel?
While the lintel used to be a decorative piece, it was slowly integrated into modern housing structures to support the weight of the wall above doors and windows. The final cost of a lintel replacement depends on the following key factors.
A professional can charge anywhere between $45 to $60 per hour for their services as accessibility and safety variables affect the labor cost. A brick mason can give you an estimated quote and assessment for brick or stone materials; the average cost to hire a mason is $70 per hour.
The State and Material of the Wall
Some lintel beams are harder to repair or replace than others. Depending on what is happening with your window or door lintel beam, the following signs may indicate a steeper project cost:
Serious cracks that will need advanced repairs
Beam header is sagging or not
Deteriorating wall materials (a sign that a beam may be rusting and corroding the surrounding area)
The Condition and Age of the Door
A contractor will take into account the current condition of your doors or windows. This may affect the project total depending on their assessment.
The Condition of Your Lintel
Is the lintel falling apart? Is it difficult to remove? The condition and accessibility of the lintel can incur more cost if it requires additional labor and safety precautions.
The Location of Your Lintel
Lintel repair costs vary depending on where the lintel is located. Repairing a lintel in a window cost between $150 and $400 to repair, with labor included. If your lintel is located in a door, the cost to repair a door lintel is slightly higher, closer to the $400 price point. The cost of garage lintel repair has the potential to cost the most, running between $200 and up to $700, depending on the complexity of the repair and how long it takes.
FAQs About Lintel Replacement
How do I know if lintel needs repairing or replacing?
If you see interior or exterior sagging or cracking above your window or door, a professional should inspect the lintel. These cracks are a sign that the weight of the wall is no longer supported, and the lintel is failing. If this is the case, it’s likey that you need to repair or replace it. A pro will be able to tell you which is the best option. If you see these signs, address the home repair immediately because of its importance to your home's structural integrity.
Can I replace a lintel myself?
Due to the structural nature of this project, lintel replacement should be done by a skilled contractor as exterior walls will need to be supported while they replace the lintel. However, homeowners can maintain intact lintels according to their material type (e.g., priming and painting steel lintels), which helps prevent costly issues down the line and extend the lintel’s lifespan.
What Is a LintelLift?
Some homeowners opt to use a product known as LintelLift, which is the only patented lintel repair on the market. The LintelLift system is a garage lintel repair system that uses steel beams that run across the top of a garage door to permanently prevent the lintel from sagging. The sytem supports both sides of the garage door, to help keep the lintel above it strong.
How long do steel lintels last?
Steel lintels are fairly durable and can last between five to 10 years before they need replacement. Maintaining steel lintels will increase their lifespan. Be sure to scrape, prime, and paint them regularly to protect steel lintels from rusting.
What other projects should I do at the same time?
While replacing your lintel, a professional contractor can also identify if you need to repair or replace anything in your window or door, such as garage door springs or window glass.