Should bearing pads be used beneath lintels to better distribute the stress to the masonry beneath the lintels?
Lintels are almost always placed directly on masonry without any bearing pads. If bearing pads are not stiff enough, they can cause problems by compressing as the lintel is loaded. Generally I do not recommend using them for this application. If necessary, a thin layer of mortar can be used beneath the lintel to provide a more uniform bearing surface. This mortar can be held back from the face of the opening in order to prevent stress concentration.