Do I need a lintel when I have existing arch (fireplace pic)

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Hoping someone can help. Have read lots of threads that are similar but not quite found the answer I'm looking for.

Getting a wood burner installed. Trying to do some of the work myself before the pro's come in on Thursday to finish. I am just about to pull the bricks out to reveal the builders opening.

On the invoice the guy has put in for the cost of a new lintel, I wondering if this is required seeing as there is an arch already there which has been doing a pretty good job keeping everything up for the last 100+ years. Wood burner people said the arch is normally supported by a metal strap which is no longer there. How important is this metal strap? What does it actually do?

Price of the lintel is fairly cheap so not too concerned about the cost but don't want to mess with original chimney if I can help it.

Pic shows how far I've got. Arch revealed (not so obvious in first pic), bricks at top loose and provide no support anyway.


Any feedback/responses appreciated. Thanks.


 
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The metal straps were commonly employed when fireplaces arches were built, but they usually perform no permanent structural function.
Their purpose was simply to provide temporary support for the brick arch whilst it was being built. Once the brickwork set and hardened, the arch became self-supporting and the strap redundant.
Yours may have been removed in the intervening years, or they may have originally built the arch off a timber former instead
 
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Thanks for clearing that up Tony.

Still slightly confused on the other matter, if it's not for a structural reason (metal strap), why do I need a concrete lintel instead of my existing arch?
 
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No reason I can see, except if you wanted to reduce the height of the opening, or if the arch was in poor condition with loose bricks.
 
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Appears to be in pretty good shape, no loose bricks anyway. Will get a better idea once I've pulled the rest of the 'new' bricks out.

Thanks again Tony. I'll speak with the firm again and see if it is absolutely necessary.
 
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If the arch bricks appear secure they may just need re-pointing to give them a more appealing appearance. Arches such as this are formed and retained by use of a 'keystone' in the centre which prevents the arch collapsing in on itself. As Tony said, the original metal strap may have been used when being built but served no support once the cement had set.
 
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