17 Oct 2006
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United Kingdom
Hi all. Finally found the support arch in my chimney breast. The photos show brick infill under the arch, which I intend to knock out and open up the builders opening.

Supporting the brick arch is a steel arch bar. If the steel..(wrought iron?) bar is in good nick, is this ok to relying on for support to the breast above. It's 10mm thick and seems to be the depth of a brick, 100mm, as I can feel it inside the breast. It's been there over a hundred years but seems in good condition. It has a slight rust colouring but not signs of flaking or splitting.
Is it correct that the brick arch and steel arch bar are only there to support the (equilateral?) triangle of bricks above the opening? If so, my gut feeling says it's up to the job, but thought I'd ask first!
..and just in case you advise, or I square off the arch and fit a concrete lintel, would the following be ok..

SPAN from column to column 930mm
COLUMNS 225mm wide ( ie, 1 brick)
LINTEL 1200 x 100 x 65 (Wickes prestressed)

which means it will be supported 135mm each side, not 150mm as the WICKES info says, and will leave 80-90mm of brick to outer edges of column.
Would this be ok?
I see some people say min 100mm and some 150mm.

Also, if I fit a concrete lintel, I seem to remember reading somewhere that new mortar does not work well with old victorian walls using lime mortar between bricks. Is there any problem doing this in this instance?
Thanks. [net]View media item 68632 View media item 68633[/net]
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