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Chimneys & Fireplaces

Can't see a lintel - does it mean there isn't one?

fireplace was made smaller some years ago when a gas fire was fitted, I am now wanting to make the opening bigger again - I've removed plaster above new lintel and can't see any sign of another lintel, It would have been a coal fire originally - would the old lintel have been removed? ?

3 Answers from MyBuilder Chimney & Fireplace Specialists

Best Answer

Its possible that the old lintel has been removed but the most important thing is that the new lintel is sufficiently supporting the new opening.There should be at least 150mm bearing on each side of the opening where the lintel sits onto.To answer your question,i would suggest to take off all the old plaster above the firplace at least 1 metre and if you cannot see the old lintel then it will have been removed.In the olden days they also used to use a steel lintel like an L shape so look up inside the chimney as you may be able to see the back of the original steel lintel.Whatever you do,make sure that you supprt the brickwork when installing a new lintel.PS.they also used to form a brick arch to do the work of a lintel so look out for that as well


Answered 29th Sep 2018

If you hack of the plaster, a good distance either side and above the opening, you should be able to see the original opening, which was in the trade called the builders opening.
You then should see either brick arch, or more commonly a steel bar, which has probably rusted, it wouldnt have been taking a lot of weight.
What ever size you decide to cut out, allow for a new lintol with 150mm bearing either side, I have done this without propping, knowing the construction and how the bricks are tied in.
But if you are unsure I suggest you prop it.


Answered 30th Apr 2011

hi this is possible, but a lot of older properties would of had a brick arch sometimes with a flat arched metal plate so you would just see solidered bricks. maybe even a wooden lintel which would of been removed when the gas fire was put in. i,ve sometimes come across archeways that are much high up the wall than you would think especially in a rear room of a property.


Answered 30th Apr 2011

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