What Is a Lintel Beam?

lintel-beam Credit: Oregon Husky/CC-BY-SA 2.0

A lintel beam is a beam that goes horizontally over a door or a window. It can be decorative, load-bearing or a combined ornamental structural beam. Many materials, including wood, have been used throughout history for lintel construction.

In the Bible, the Israelites were commanded to mark the lintel beam of their doors with the blood of the paschal lamb. The word "lintel" comes from a French word of the early 14th century meaning "threshold." Lintel beams are also used in fireplace construction to support the chimney above. The earliest known carved lintels were used by the Mayans in 723 CE.