Is this a wood lintel?

I saw what appears to be a wood lintel above a dining room bay window. I’ve never seen anything like it and can’t find any supporting documentation anywhere. Has anyone seen anything like this? How would I write this up? The home is 26 years old, Birmingham, Alabama area, built in '96, brick cladding all around. There were a few other oddities, like the ends of the gutters were recessed into the cladding. Never saw that before either.

Any advice on how to handle a wood lintel would be appreciated. Thanks a bunch! - Tony

Looks like it. That is stunning. Looks nothing like the way it’s supposed to be constructed. Good lord.


Looks like amateur workmanship. Search Google “lintel for brick clad window opening”. Plenty of images to give you an idea of how it should be. Angle iron for the span would be good start. There’s no flashing.

Write up: Bay window opening/edition is poor workmanship. Missing flashing and questionable structural integrity where roofline meets brick veneer. Recommended review and/or repair by licensed/qualified contractor.

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Regardless of what his intent was, it’s screwed up. I would write it up as no visible flashing and exposed wood subject to rot.

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That looks like a very old house; what appears to be a metal lintel is visible above the wood member along with weep rope. I think that the original wood member got replaced and was originally used to support the porch roof. I attached a picture of my parent’s house which was build in late1800’s where you can see the wood member which was holding the original porch roof.

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Hey guys, Thanks for all the input. I looked for a metal lintel which would extend beyond the the width of the wood but didn’t see any signs. They even went so far as to cut the brick above the lintel to make it fit. I believe this may be an “after market” addition and there wasn’t a lintel there at all. There’s no flashing; instead they piled on the mortar and then went back to apply some caulk to try and seal it all. Definitely a mess.

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Absolute garbage and dangerous when it starts coming off the wall.

The weight of the bricks could be setting on a wood beam and they did not install the lead flashing leaving wood exposed

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See them all the time. Sometimes on 200 year old homes.
Funny the brick bond is a running bond. Typically used in double or triple Wythe walls. Usually an American Running bond as well. Hm.

Note defects.
Missing Headwall and counter flashing.

I have seen wood strips like that inlaid between bricks on the inside of old brick buildings. I assumed they were nailing strips. You parent’s house and the OP’s photo may have been the result of porch renovation that shortened or lowered the porch exposing the wood strips.

Is it functioning as intended? I is it allowing water intrusion? Is there any deterioration of the wood? Is there any sturctural failure of the masonry around it ? If the answer to any of thise questions is yes, then report on the damage and mention that you have observed the damage and that the damage could be assoicated with the wood lentil. Unless your are an engineer or even a licensed contractor, it is not your responsibility. You’re a home inspector and you are doing a ‘general visual inspection’. Just do the job you were hired to do. Don’t play structural engineer unless you are one and you were hired to do a structural inspection.

So if you run into a untreated 4x4 used as a post to support a deck, there should be no mention of it as long as it’s “performing” at the time of the inspection? What happens when few years down the road the post disintegrates, the deck collapses, someone gets hurt… investigation determines the post should have been treated and the inspector did not call it out because it was “performing” at the time of the inspection.

A “qualified” home inspector should have a good understanding of what materials should be used and where. I can provide a large list where this applies, such as a plastic vent instead of metal on conventional fuel burning appliance, metal straps vs plastic, dry-area only rated cables used in outdoor application, bright common nails instead of galvanized, etc, etc… are you saying not to call any of these out just because they are performing at the time of the inspection? really? So in other words… it’s all good if the entire house falls apart because it wasn’t built using the right methods and or materials only because it “performed” on the day of the inspection? okay :smiley:

I’m a licensed general contractor. I have allowed my ICBO Bldg Inspector and Code Inspector certs to expire because I don’t do those inspections any longer. When I worked as bldg inspector and as a code inspector I would get specific as you are recommending. As a home inspector who does home inspections for real estate purchases I do not go into that much detail unless the buyer questions me about the issues. I still occasionally do construction defect litigation work as an Expert and in those inspections I go into detail on specified defects. Home inspectors do general visual inspections.

Unless you are being facetious, I, sincerely, do not think you understand what a “visual” home inspection is based on the claims you have made and questions you haven’t answered. It does not matter to me if you are PE, SE, past code inspector, rocket scientist, licensed GC, expert witness, or a brain surgeon :smiley: You have not explained or proven anything. In fact, about the only thing you did is indirectly make a claim that home inspectors are brain dead (unlike licensed GC :joy: ) and should not call anything out unless the house is collapsing during the inspection. Whenever someone does that, I will call them out.

If it’s unsafe, I call it out, however I do not cite code unless it’s a code inspection. If you’re citing code, it better be correct and very specific. I have never been sued and I’ve been deposed on several construction defect cases as well as being involved in many cases. Home inspections are general visual inspections and I do them as such. When I walk the property with the buyer we go deeper than the general visual but not in the report.

Are you a non-member?
Your site says you are a member.


All I can say from the OP’s picture is, it needs to be called out for repairs by a qualified General Contractor. What is shown is a defective element to that building.

What standards of practice do you follow when doing your inspections? I am not doubting your expertise as a contractor, but you said a few things I found interesting. But the most interesting thing was you would not list certain issues in a report but would verbally go more in depth with the customer on site. What if the customer is not present? Does he then not get all the “enhanced verbal in depth information”?

Most inspectors would call this out on a modern home for its high probability for failure and unconventional design. Todays wood does not perform the same as wood 100 yrs ago. And never being sued is not a badge of honor. Some good inspectors get sued and some bad inspectors get lucky.