lintel - replace, leave or replace and change window

24 Nov 2007
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United Kingdom
I recently had my house valued. It's a late Victorian terraced house and one estate agent pointed out cracks round the kitchen window and said that the lintel needed replacing. He thought that any buyer might ask to deduct this cost from the selling price. I wondered if it might be worth replacing the lintel now and while I am at it changing the window to a french door. That way I change a problem into an asset (as this would give direct access from the galley kitchen into the garden). My question is one of cost. Could anyone please give me a rough estimate of the cost of replacing a lintel versus the cost of replacing the lintel and the window with an 'off the peg' wooden patio door. The window is 118 cm wide and currently 133cm long the space for a door would be 222cm long.
Thanks in advance.
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If replacing the lintel, you will almost certainly need to involve Building Control & there is a fee involved. They will want to inspect the lintel installation before the doors are fitted to ensure suitable load bearing area; 150mm each side with a cavity wall but as your is Victorian, it will probably be a solid wall & may be different so you will need to check.

A decent set of 1.8m wide French doors, including fitting, will set you back around £1,000 but 2.2m will be quit a bit more & may be just a little too wide! You will also need to add the cost of propping, replacing the old lintel, extending the old window opening & plastering the reveals – assuming you pay someone else to do this, say, another £400-£500.

Replacing the widow is also notifyable work. You can either use a FENSA registered installer or notify Building Control who will inspect the installation & issue a conformance certificate (fee again); but be aware, you will need to provide this certificate to any potential buyer or you could have problems!

Using an off the peg patio door (or French doors) will probably be cheaper but some are of dubious quality & it still wont get you around the need to involve BC.
Dear Richard
Thank you so much for answering my question...I have never posted a question on-line and didn't expect an answer.

I really appreciate all your information, it is really very kind of you to take the time to explain all the building regs as well as the building advice.

I think the window is 2 cm wider than the standard french windows; so bespoke windows would have to be put in and that would bump up the price.
We bought the house in 2000 and the survey never mentioned the lintel (though the kitchen had been repainted, so there were no cracks to be seen). All they mentioned was that some bricks on the wall above the window needed repointing. I wonder how long the lintel has been significantly deteriorated...years? decades? and how long it will hold out? (Can it end in a catastrophic collapse or more of a slow slide?) The estate agent said it was very common in these Victorian terraces and I have never yet heard of one collapsing...
Your message will really help me to decide what to do before we put the house on the market.
Thanks again,
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Why dont you just do what the person before you did? Fill the cracks with crackfiller (£3) sand down (50p + arm labour) Paint sample pot (1.95) total cost £5.45, as for the outside get a male friend into DIY and ask him to point in the cracks (£5 for mortar) job done???? Not your problem anymore??

I know thats hard, but there is no point spending £2000 on french doors, unless your house is already perfect and even then all you need to do is point out that it could be done!

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