It is no surprise that engineered lumber has seen a huge increase in popularity in the past few decades. Engineered lumber beams have a vast number of advantages over traditional wood beams in virtually every application. No matter your project, there is a type of engineered lumber available to fit your needs. Below are a few of our favorite reasons to pick engineered lumber for your next build.
Engineered lumber products are composite materials made by re-adhering wood fibers to exact specifications. Because of this, exact measurements and specially formulated adhesives are used to create an exceptionally durable and strong product that can sustain both heavier loads and harsher wear conditions compared to traditional wood.
Products such as laminated veneer lumber, LVL; cross-laminated timber, CLT; and particle board can all be made to match exact specs for stress, bending strength, moisture content, and much more.
Engineered lumber beams are capable of holding a greater amount of weight with the same dimensions, and can be purpose-built with arcs and tension to hold an even greater amount of weight compared to the equivalent with traditional wood beams and framing.
Similar to engineered lumber beams’ strength, this precision-formulated manufacturing allows for a product that is not only stronger but is also more lightweight compared to a traditional wood product with the same specifications.
This means that engineered lumber beams can be longer, withstand greater unsupported distances, and hanging load bearing beams, truss joists, and headers and beams can be spaced further apart with no impact on structural integrity.
Because engineered wood is a composite material, it can be specially formed into virtually every shape imaginable. This allows for specialty pieces to be purpose-built for specific applications, allowing for vast open spaces and structural rigidity that would otherwise be impossible without engineered lumber beams.
As well as size and shape, engineered lumber is highly precise in its dimensions. This means that pieces are made without any warping or natural tension that can cause adverse effects for a build’s strength.
Similarly, because engineered lumber beams are uniform in composition, they do not feature any natural knots, burls, or other imperfections that may jeopardize the integrity of the product quality.
Engineered lumber is constructed predominantly out of wood fibers collected from byproducts of other types of lumber manufacturing such as sawdust and wood scraps from milling. Because of this, engineered lumber is highly sustainable and can aid in controlling carbon waste.
Because engineered lumber beams are made using sustainable inputs, they can be much cheaper than traditional wood with the same specs. Similarly, because they are often stronger and lighter, they require less material compared to traditional lumber!
Words of Caution
Engineered lumber has a wide array of advantages over traditional wood in many aspects. It is oftentimes lighter, stronger, and cheaper than its traditional counterparts with the same specs. However, there are a few situations where regular wood is the better option.
If building in particularly humid or rainy environments, some engineered lumber may not be the best option compared to properly treated wood. Products such as particleboard should not be used in outdoor applications and should be used with caution in tropical and oceanfront environments.
The Bottom Line
In many applications, engineered lumber outperforms traditional wood in every way. Engineered lumber beams can be made to do things that other kinds of lumber simply cannot achieve. Because of their incredible strength and structural qualities, less engineered lumber needs to be used, increasing the cost-effectiveness and making framing even simpler.