You may have probably had your house, and with it, your garage for years now. But have you noticed anything about the building that’s sheltering your beloved car or other valuables inside it? Could your garage’s lintel — lintels are the header or wall above your garage door — already be sagging or even cracking due to the weight it’s been bearing over time?
You don’t want your garage to collapse under itself, or at the very least, looking cracked and ill-maintained, now do you? If you’ve noticed that the wall above your garage door’s already taken some damage, read on to find out how you can correct and fix it before it’s too late.
Why do garage lintels sag?
First, some important information so you know exactly what it is you’re dealing with when you go fix the lintels above your garage door, or any other doorway in your house. For those unaware, a lintel is a horizontal block used in construction as a sort of archway that bridges the distance between two vertical supports — usually the two pillars that make up the vertical part of a door frame, in this case, in order to bear the load above it.
The very root cause of it is the poor or imperfect construction of the garage and lintel’s superstructure by your contractor, resulting in an arch that can’t properly support enough weight above it. The separate ends of the lintel are supposed to have some space to expand during the warmer months, and when the metal in your lintel expands and grows in surface area, the brick and mortar above it will push down even harder on it, causing the middle — which is the weakest part of the lintel — to sag or even crack. Maybe your contractor cut corners, maybe they were trained in a certain way, or maybe the material or design used for your garage just isn’t up to snuff. Or maybe it’s really just Father Time working his usual magic on your house because of the way it’s built.
Don’t worry; these things happen all the time, and you can fix it. Just make sure you spot it in time by looking closely at your lintel before something terrible happens. Again, if there are any visible cracks or gaps over the doorway, you know it’s time to repair that baby.
How to fix sagging lintels?
The fix for sagging lintels mainly depends on the material used in the structure’s construction, but most of the processes are similar to each other.
If your garage or lintel is made of concrete, then any damage has to be fixed right away. A cracked concrete lintel can allow water or moisture, in general, to seep inside and rust and delaminate the steel reinforcements, causing further damage and possible collapse. This can be repaired via concrete repair products, or if it’s too late, a complete lintel replacement.
If your lintel is a flat brick arch, then the best way to fix it is by installing helical bars. This involves cutting a shallow slot on the wall outside that’s deep enough to allow a bar to be fitted inside and support the weight overhead. A team of professionals will know how to install helical bars in a brick arch, and can usually do it quickly and hassle-free.
If your garage is somehow made of wood, then you’re at a bigger risk fo collapse. This is because moisture and pests can cause the wood to rot away; like the concrete lintel, it may mean having to replace the lintel completely. If the wood is still sturdy, then it can be reinforced with helical bars like the brick lintel.
Due to the nature of metal and steel, this material naturally rusts and corrodes over time. There’s no way to get around it, so the solution is to fill the resulting crack with a resin injection to make it stronger.
Aside from helical bars, there are also other patented products in the market specifically designed to give sagging lintels their much-needed boost. These supports are made to lift heavy loads along a straight line, boosting a lintel that’s already showing signs of sagging or failure. A professional can secure these materials and install them to make sure your home is well-protected.
Whatever the problem is with your garage door’s lintel, remember that it’s always better to call professionals to fix it. Doing it yourself is always a great project to undertake, but if you don’t have the necessary experience, equipment, and materials that the professionals do in their inventory, you may just end up possibly doing more damage to your home. Professionals can and will diagnose the exact problem with your home and figure out the best way to fix it, and their expertise and specialization alone make them worth their fees.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
If you live in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area and the doorways in your home and garage are already starting to show signs of failure, don’t hesitate to call us. We can survey the problem, give you a fair quote for the fix, and quickly repair your lintels and make them look like they were never damaged at all.
Go check your house’s and garage’s lintels now and save yourself the hassle of dealing with the problem after it’s too late!