Glued-laminated timber, or glulam, is a timber product manufactured from dimensional lumber, called laminating stock. This laminating stock (lamstock) comes in 2” nominal thickness and standard nominal widths although custom widths are possible ranging from 2” up to 14 ¼” actual widths. The lamstock is joined together end to end, then glued together in laminations using waterproof, state of the art adhesives, creating nearly unbounded possible beam depths and lengths. After a curing process, glulam beams are planed and sanded, then sent to fabrication. Each beam is fabricated to the exacting standards set forth by Timber Systems’ designers.
Glulam is available in several species of wood including southern pine, douglas fir, port orford cedar, and Alaskan yellow cedar. Southern pine species can be preservative pressure treated prior to gluing, which unlike treatment after gluing, allows the treatment to reach the center of the beam for additional weather resistance. Port orford cedar and Alaskan cedar are naturally decay resistant and therefore don't require preservative treatment. Douglas fir is the exception in glulam. Doug fir cannot be preservative treated without incising (a process that scars the beam with thousands of slit-like holes in the surface), nor is it naturally decay resistant. Topical treatments are available, but not nearly as effective as pressure treatments.
Because of the utilization of lamstock in the manufacture of glulam, larger beams and columns can be created from smaller trees harvested from timber plantations. Many plantations are responsibly managed to ensure our natural wood resources are not depleted.
Glulam can be manufactured to a variety of straight and curved configurations so it offers architects artistic freedom without sacrificing structural requirements. Wood has two times the tensile strength to weight ratio relative to steel. And wood has greater compressive resistance strength than concrete.
Contact us with us to begin work on your glulam timber project.