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Difference Between Lintel and Beam

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Basic Variations Among Beam and Lintel: Lintel & beam both belong to structural components of the structure. Both the lintel and beam are considered as horizontal or flexural member, but there are some basic differences among them as per their structural behaviour, load bearing system and as well as the purpose of application.

Given below, some vital points about the differences between beam & lintel.

Beam: Beams refer to the horizontal members to give support to vertically applied loads. Beams are structural components which bend or curve external loads tend to bend or curve.

Lintel: The lintels refer to horizontal member to provide support to masonry situated over windows, doors, and other openings in a wall.

Beam: The purpose of beam is to transmit load from slab to columns/walls. The beam gives support to the slab that stands on it. The floor and ceilings are also supported by beam.

Lintel: The lintel is mainly used to support the masonry wall situated over the openings/door/window and transmit its load to sidewalls. The lintel supports the load of the portion of the wall located over it. Occasionally, it also gives support to weather shades.

Beam: The beam delivers the load from slab/floor/roof and transmits it to the column. From column it is transmitted to the footing, and from footing finally to the soil.

Lintel: Lintel delivers the load of the wall over the openings/door/window, and transmits it to the walls only.

Beam: It functions like a fixed beam or simply supported beam depending on support condition.

Lintel: It normally functions as a simply supported beam.

Beam: Beams come as straight, curved or tapered in plan.

Lintel: Lintels come as straight or curved in plan. But, now-a-days, a deep beam is used instead of lintel i.e. up to the top of door/ window frame to save huge time and enhance the longevity of the construction.

Also Read: Details of post lintel structure

Beam: Its width can be equal to or more than the size of the wall below. It depends on the load.

Lintel: Its width is equal to the size of the wall below.

Beam: Beam is available in long span/short span based on structural configuration. The beam is lengthy with regards to its cross-section. Length differs according to design.

Lintel: It is normally a short span member. The lintel is not lengthy with regard to its cross-section. Length of lintel should remain 200 mm (minimum) over span. According to ‘SP 7’ (NBC 2005), length of bearing of lintel at each end should not be 90 mm or one-tenth of the span, whichever is more.

• The beam stands on column and wall.
• It is a horizontal member that is set parallel to slab.
• The beam is generally provided at floor height of the storey.
• It belongs to a framing member and part of the structural frame.

• The lintel is provided on door or window frame or sometimes on the wall.
• The lintel refers to a horizontal member that is provided across the opening/door/window.
• The lintel is usually erected over the openings, i.e. over doors/windows.
• It is generally not a framing member and not a part of the structural frame.

Beam: The beam is generally casted with the slab all together. It should be casted on site except for a precast beam.

Lintel: The lintel is casted independently throughout the construction of a masonry wall. The off-site casting of the lintel can also be done. Precast lintels are also applied.

Beam: The beam is considered as the most vital element of the building and, therefore it required proper consideration at the time of designing.

Lintel: If lintel is not provided at the time of construction diagonal crack at openings may occur. The lintel can also minimize heat loss from a building and can reduce the dampness and condensation.

Beam: The beams are categorized as cantilever beam, simply supported beam, fixed beam, overhanging beam etc. They are made of several materials.

Lintel: Lintels are categorized as simply supported. The lintels are available as wooden lintel, concrete lintel, stone lintel, brick lintel, steel lintel etc.

Difference Between Beam and Lintel