uPVC windows and lintels


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I'm looking to replace the wooden windows of my house with uPVC.

I understand that the downstairs windows will need lintels installing. At the back, their are brick arches - am I right in saying that they act as lintels?

Upstairs, the windows have a single row of upright/soldier bricks above them. As far as I can see they are resting on the frame/a wooden plank.

Will the upstairs need a lintel to support these bricks or do they tend to be allowed to rest on the PVC window?

Many thanks for any pointers. Just want to be sure I know what to expect when getting quotes/seeing if people know what they're doing.

Many thanks for any help
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It is quite rare that no lintels are fitted but not impossible. There may be a L shaped steel or catnic lintel hidden behind the top of the window frame. It is also possible that a soldier course is tied into an inner concrete lintel with brick ties but there may be no way to know for sure untile the window is removed.

Archs are generally self supporting depending on how deep the arch is.

Do you have neighbors with similar style and age of house? If so look for any that have had their windows done and maybe ask them if they had to have lintels done.
Depending on the age of the house, it will either have a fully supported opening via a lintel or arch, a supported inner half of the wall with the outer resting on the frame, or the frame supporting all the wall.

A good installer will assess the situation and advise. Part of that advice should be that any wall supported on a frame will require a lintel and no wall should rest on a plastic frame. Even if just a row of soldiers, movement of the frame will crack and loosen the joints.

An arch of at least 25mm rise per m width should be self supporting. But the joints and adjacent brickwork should be checked for cracks or looseness.

Bear in mind that any lintel installation is not covered under FENSA or the installers self certification, and should be notifiable to building control. This alone can be a good way of assessing good/not so good installers if they mention this freely or when prompted.

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