Failed lintels

25 Nov 2012
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United Kingdom
Hi all,

I'm remodeling a bedroom in my 1930's semi, which I bought last year.

Once I'd taken off several layers of old wallpaper, much of the plaster was cracked and blown, particularly around the windows. Having removed the old plaster I've found that the lintels above both windows are cracked through their full height and depth - I can even see a daylight through the crack in one of them!

The lintel construction is cast-in-situ concrete with a very-slightly-arched soldier arch on the outside (which is cracked in same place). I have cavity walls, but from drilling a couple of test holes, the lintel appears to be solid - (i.e. the concrete was cast against the back of the bricks that form the soldier arch). As far as I can tell the lintels contain no steel reinforcement, and the concrete seems very soft.

See photo:

Interestingly, the lintels appear to have no bearing on the wall - so I'm not sure what's holding them up other than the wooden window frames!

Am I correct to assume complete replacement of the lintel is the only way to resolve this? If it was a standard concrete lintel supported on the inner leaf only I'd be reasonably confident in doing this myself, but as it's cast-in-situ I suspect the whole lot will need to be taken out and rebuilt, including the external soldier arch.

Any advice much appreciated.
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Ouch - looks like a biggie. Not a builder but I would hazard a guess that what you have said is all correct.

I wonder if all your windows are like it :(
I wonder if all your windows are like it :(

Thankfully I think it's just the two windows in this room. None of the others have a soldier arch, at least, but I suppose could still be constructed from cheese.
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bizarre, something else must be going on because there's no way that much concrete would be held up like that imo. I don't see any deflection in the window, nor the bricks above.

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