Crack on the top of window (facade)

Dear everyone,

I am in a situation which really bothers me a lot. I have hired a company to conduct a tecnical inspection to the house that I have an intention to move.

During inspection they found a crack on lintel which is above the window. There is no cracks visible on foundation, so I am not sure what caused it. My feelings say that it has something to do with the extension next to that window, which was a balcony once and now it has been included to the room. There is a long striplike crack on the ceiling of this extension, however both sides of this crack sound differently. Which probably means 2 different materials, and hence the crack, as the two cracks are not on the same line.

However, this lintel crack gives me sleepless nights. As it has 3rd floor and last floor on the top of it, I am afraid that is a serious structural issue, and it may even lead to collapse of the wall. Either I should step down at this point with that house, or I can continue and get that fixed (by only changing lintel).

Could anyone please tell me is this something serious, does it mean there is a serious construction problem. In your experience, after getting it fixed, does it come back again?

I found many helpful comments posted by @tglaze on this form, and that was my main motivation to write here. I would be happy to get any insights from you. Picture is attached (lintel crack).

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You have intention to move? What does that mean? You bought it? You’re renting it? You’re couch surfing?

Drywall cracks and header/Lintel cracks and shifting and such are all potentially major issues and need to be examined by a structural engineer.

It is impossible to advise you based on one picture and no one here will likely tell you anything beyond the fact that you need to get an engineer involved.

Here’s something else to consider. A true examination of what is going on here will likely be destructive. It will probably require removing drywall. If that header is holding up(or supposed to) that brick facade, it is no longer working. Thousands of pounds of bricks could come off that home during a wet, windy storm.

If you are in the process of buying this home, you may want to hit the brakes until it’s checked out.


What Mark said… :point_up:

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Yep, what Mark and Ryan said above… ^^^

You would be well served to employ the services of a structural engineer.

PS That appears to be a big building to move.


Can very well be something serious.
Any images further back showing the entire window and the veneer?
Age of the building.

That crack looks bad. I know you are in the Netherlands. Do you have a home inspector or good contractor to evaluate it there? Or get a structural engineer. My guess is that the lintel should be replaced.

Thank you for the explanation. Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to upload more than one picture to explain it better. I am in procees of buying this house which I have to decide if I want to sign the contract or not.

Are there usually metal beams inside such lintels?

Unfortunately, I do not know anyone who do these. After (if) I sign, I will have 3 days to step back. Less likely anyone will be available for quick inspection in Netherlands.

The crack was found during inspection before the mortgage application. And the explanation that inspector wrote in report is this:

“There are defects to the head (lintel) above the window unit cq weight bearing/supporting construction.
Probably, these defects cannot be repaired (easily) anymore. If so, the head (lintel) needs to be replaced. If
repair is attempted, clean possilby rusting reinforcement steel thoroughly, protect with a paint system and
repair the concrete according to existing work. Make sure that there is sufficient concrete covering the
reinforcement steel.”

There is your answer from your inspector.
In the US and Canada, this would be a negotiating item between the buyer and seller. The buyer would either try to get the seller to pay for correction before transfer of ownership or negotiate the price down sufficiently to offset the out-of-pocket cost of correction or get the seller to escrow sufficient money to pay for the correction after the buyer takes possession or the buyer might just walk away and look for the next house.
Ask your inspector if he can make a guess on cost of repair if you cannot get a contractor to give you an estimate.

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Thank you.

Yes, but there are other types of lintel materials, such as concrete.

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Yep, that’s a bad one.
Need more than someone to “Look” at it.

Anything happening on the inside wall?


IMO, and as others have already mentioned, you need to contact a Structural Engineer to evaluate and make any recommendations concerning that crack.