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Question DetailsAsked on 11/2/2016

What is the cost of replacing lintel of garage door

I am looking to purchase a house and I have hired an inspector to do the inspection. Based on the inspection report, there are many issues with the house, one major issue is "There are narrow mortar cracks in the brick veneer around the upper corners and the center of the garage door opening. The brick & mortar cracks have been caused by deflection in the lintel, the metal that supports the weight of the brick over the opening. The deflection in the lintel was clearly visible at the time of the inspection." Just wonder how much will it cost to replace the lintel as the seller doesn't want to make the repair but would like to lower the house price instead.

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Tough one - depends on the wall construction. Usually, in a wood frame house, there will be a wood header beam supporting the garage door opening - the metal "lintel" supports only the brick facade, and is bolted to the beam. Rarely a steel (or iron if very old house) beam would be in there but is more common in solid brick or stone construction - but unless the "lintel" is a substantial structural metal beam (probably at least 10-12 inches high) that is (hopefully) not providing the overall span support.

So - if you have corner and center cracks and visible sag, that would mean the beam is sagging or if no beam, the lintel is too weak. Could be because it was undersized originally, could be because the brick is taking in moisture and the beam is rotting or rusting out, could be the supporting posts at the ends of the beam are rotting at the bottom due to water contact and allowing the beam to settle, or could be the beam is sagging normally (commonly an inch or two over 10-20 years with wood beams over garage doors) and causing the cracking in the brick facade or facing so what he saw is just architectural damage, not structural - meaning a couple hundred in repointing of the mortar would be all the repair needed. Could also be due to a general house structural or foundation issue not specifically limited to the garage door area. No way to tell which it is from this distance.

You would need a follow-up inspection by a structural engineer to determine which case it is - and without normally being able (during purchase inspection phase) to open up the inside wall and see exactly what the support situation is, if I were doing this inspection I would assume you would need to replace the support beam and maybe the supporting posts at the ends as well. Since you are looking at having the seller reduce his selling price to cover this (as well as the follow-up structural inspection and design if he does not pay for that directly), you would also need a firm not-to-exceed bid from a general contractor or maybe a Garage Door company that does original installs and replacements including structural work - a bid good for say at least 60-90 days after the contractual closing date so you have a locked-in price. This bid would then, combined with the Engineer's probably $250-500 fee (depending on what he found and if he had to work up repair plan for the contractor to bid/work from) constitute the basis for your price reduction request. I would guess, sight unseen and not knowing if the brick is solid brick wall (much more of a repair hassle) or full-size brick facade or just a half-depth or even fake panel brick veneer facade, probably a conservative (assuming full replacement of beam) concept would come in at around $2500-5000 total cost. Of course, if the beam is good and the problem is in the posts or just the facade itself slipping, might end up being more like $1000-2000 range - but I would not count on that.

Of course, you said "there are many issues with the house" - so you have to weigh all the factors in considering your post-inspection adjusted offer, as well as if you want to be dealing with a fixer-upper or dealing with multiple contractors (or a GC) in having these repairs done yourself rather than having the Seller fix them or have you walk away. Remember, if you go with the repairs post-sale, you are absorbing ALL the cost overrun risk if things are discovered tht were not detectable in the inspection or bidding, and not much chance (particularly if going with pre-closing firm bids) of underrun savings.

Also remember that you are on a very short fuse on adjusting your offer price after the inspection results are received - unless the contract dates are modified to extend that period to amend your offer or back out, it can be tough to get a structural inspection and fix design worked up and get a firm contractor bid received in that timeframe so you know how much to budget - and it sounds like you may be talking a number of such items, which the normal 7-15 day post-inspection response period just does not allow for. Talk to your Realtor about this issue ASAP, as well as if you want to adopt a fixer-upper or not.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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