Replacing Limestone Lintels

Dear Forum.

Was hoping I could get some advise on the following…

Please see attached images to assist in understanding the situation.

Existing building from the 1920’s. Looking at having considerable work done to the front (East Elevation) facade (and more minor tuckpointing on the sides.

As well as replacing the entrance, I am also having the lintels (and one sill) replaced. Masonry is not my area of expertise, and would like to be as informed as possible for conversing with the contractors, etc.

My question has to do with the replacement of the large lintels over the windows (8’-10" span). Currently I have had two proposals and both are recommending replacing with a steel lintel and three new sections of limestone in lieu of the single limestone. Reasons for this are it is more cost effective as the larger limestone pieces are very considerably more expensive as well as infinitely more difficult to install in a ‘retrofit’ type installation.

We are anticipating installing such that the new limestone pieces line up with the window mullions (for aesthetics).

For this application:
(a) would I be correct in thinking that steel would/should be installed with the horizontal section of the steel at the top of the window, with the vertical part of the steel rising up? And that then the new limestone pieces would be installed above that?
(b) If that is the case, would it be sufficient to have weep holes at the seams of those new limestone pieces? It seems that the section over the middle window might need a weep hole in the middle, but I don’t know how that would be accomplished with not having a mortar joint location in the middle.

Any insight would be appreciated.



Seems to me joint location should not effect flashing.

Thank you very much for the prompt reply Bob!

It’s not really the flashing that I’m concerned about as I would be figuring the flashing would be continuous. It is the weep holes I’m wondering about.

It would seem the weep holes would have to be above the flashing (and the flashing would be directing on top of the new steel lintel). If the replacement limestone pieces are to fit above the flashing I’m wondering how they could be installed other than at joint locations?

Any of the details I’ve seen for the weep holes seem to happen at joint locations. e.g.

I would consider the nature of projecting a bay window beyond the stone lintel…? If it were mine to do I would project the center stone over and beyond the bay slightly or as an alternative, the entire line. It appears the cracked stone was a result of the remodeled window that may have been installed without properly supporting the load from above. I fully agree that a steel reinforcement is in order for the three stones that are being recommended. Water proofing all transitions and stone in advance of would be recommended.

Give Will Decker a call.

The flashing will be above the lintel all the way across and will / should have a drip edge the weep hole will be above the flashing at the joints.

flashing at window.jpg

Thank you Bob, Rick & Kenneth for your replies.

In regards to your response Rick:
The cracking of the existing lintels had already occurred prior to the installation of the replacement windows. I had anticipated addressing the lintel before now but wasn’t in a position financially to do so. I think they cracked due to a combination of (a) building settling and (b) moisture trapping due to not having weep holes.
It would seem even if the replacement lintels were projected beyond the face brick that I would still need weep holes and as such would still be faced with the issue of how to space the weep holes at more regular intervals than just at the joints of the replacement limestone pieces (again I’m anticipating 3 pieces instead of the single piece above each of the bay window assemblies).

From what I’ve come across, the weep holes should be at 18"-24" on center so I would be exceeding that if only doing so at the joints.

Kenneth. Thank you for the detail. Yes, that would also be my understanding of the correct set up. However, while that detail is easily accomplished with bricks (as the mortar joints are spaced at more regular intervals), it would be more involved with the limestone pieces since they span greater than the recommended distances for weep holes.

I’m beginning to think that to do this correctly, the mason should provide a groove or such at the center of the three limestone pieces (on the underside of the limestone which would be immediately above the new flashing (which would be above the new steel lintel) to accommodate the extra weep hole locations at more regular intervals than just at the joints.

Thank you for the links Bob. How did you know this was in Chicago? :stuck_out_tongue:
I’ll give Will a call.

Thanks again everyone!