Veneer Lintels, Shelf Angles

Function & Code Requirements

Lintels provide support of brickwork over masonry openings and are supported by bearing on masonry at the jambs on either side of the opening. Shelf angles are typically installed at each floor and support the weight of the brickwork for that story. As per of the 2006 Building Code Requirements and Specification for Masonry Structures ( reported by the Masonry Standards Joint Committee (MSJC) structures with a maximum veneer height of 30 ft from foundation to top of wall and 38 ft from foundation to top of gable can have their entire brick veneer supported directly on a foundation wall, footing or non-combustible support without shelf angles. Brick above these limits must be supported by shelf angles at each floor.

Veneer Lintels


Lintels and shelf angles must be sized by an engineer to meet the strength requirements of the steel design code. Lintels and shelf angles are also sized to be very stiff to minimize masonry cracks. Design codes call for a maximum deflection between support points of L/600 or 0.3" and rotation of less than 1/16". The horizontal leg of all angles should be sized to support a minimum of 2/3 the thickness of the veneer wythe.

Corrosion Protection

For severe climates and exposures, consideration should be given to the use of galvanized or stainless steel shelf angles. At a minimum, steel angles should be shop primed with a corrosion inhibitive coating and repainted if the steel will be welded. Even where these materials are used, continuous flashing should be installed to cover the angle.

Anchorage to Backup

Lipping Brick at Shelf Angles

In order to conceal the front edge of the steel lintel, a common practice is to lip the brick so that the front face extends over the steel angle.