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Lintels, gaps and filler pieces

In the last few weeks, our inspectors have noticed repeated issues with improper framing of lintels.

Lintels - which some carpenters call "headers" incorrectly - are two or more plies of wood framed over a load-bearing opening, usually above a window or a doorway.

In order to create strength, the pieces of a lintel must be attached to each other. However, our inspectors have flagged a number of issues in the last month with contractors spacing out the lintel elements, and filling the cavity with foam. This is NOT permitted unless there are intermediate "filler" pieces spaced no more than 45 cm (18") apart.

Here is how a foam-filled, but Code-compliant lintel should look like:

This is an illustration of a Code-compliant, foam-filled two-ply lintel assembly.

In cases like this, the filler piece must be nailed from both sides of the lintel.

If our inspectors find elements of lintels separated with a gap that has no filler pieces, it will be failed and subject to re-inspection.