Structural advantages of glulam

by Greg on July 11, 2019

stuctural advantages of glulam

Deforestation is a major concern and the rate at which forests are disappearing to make way for farmland is truly alarming. Tree cutting for timber is one of the major reasons behind deforestation and the operation of illegal timber cutting across the world only worsens matters. It is also a reality though that without the use of timber and wood, we cannot build any infrastructure, including our houses and homes.

The need for timber and lack of trees to meet those needs call for innovation and re-purposing of wood. This is where GLULAM comes in!

Glulam is short for Glue laminated timber. It refers to a manufactured form of timber in which smaller individual pieces of lumber or timber are glued and bonded together by industrial-grade glue and adhesives. This turns out to be a solid form block which is virtually indistinguishable from normal broad cut timber and is, in fact, even better.

The discovery of Glulam has been a major breakthrough for the timber industry as well as the conservation efforts. Not only does this product provide a lot of benefits to structural construction operations and buildings, but it also has plenty of external benefits. The widespread adoption of Glulam around the world may be a possible solution for all our deforestation problems. Let’s take a look at how Glulam can help solve this problem.

Benefits of Glulam

1. Sustainable

The biggest external benefit of Glulam is that it is a sustainable product which is environmentally friendly and actively presents a solution to deforestation of old forests.
The special thing about Glulam is that it can be made from any type and size of wood. This means cutting and feeling down of old trees to extract timber blocks and panes is not required.
Second growth forests and new forests with younger trees can be also used to source wood for Glulam production. This will reduce the need to cut old trees just for the purposes of wood.
This leads directly into the next benefit of Glulam which is…

2. Availability

Unlike old trees which are limited in supply and take a long time to grow, Glulam is easily available, relatively speaking.

The type and age of wood required for Glulam do not matter thus even young trees between two and five years of age will be sufficient for the production of Glulam. This means you can have more Glulam in shorter intervals of time.

3. Cost

Out of the other industrial grade products used in manufacturing like steel and cement, Glulam is the cheapest one. Sourcing it is also cheaper. Moreover, making and treating it is also more economical since unlike steel and cement, it does not involve a lot of processes or inputs. The only base materials required are the raw wood and adhesive materials.

This significantly brings down costs, and not just private costs for the manufacturers and builders but also for the end users. Moreover, the carbon footprint from Glulam production activities as well as their impact on the environment just cannot be compared to the scale and damage of mining activities for metal ore and cementing ingredients.

4. Multipurpose

One of the main structural advantages of Glulam is the way it is made – through bonding smaller panes and pieces of wood. This allows Glulam hardwood beams to be made according to particular specifications and to the shape of pre-built structures much more readily and easily than traditional timber.

All manner of construction needs like curves or arches can be more easily accommodated with Glulam due to its inherent flexibility in the manufacturing process. This makes it versatile for a variety of uses and structures.

5. Feel

Many people go for timber cladding when constructing their houses. It is a process where the external surfaces of the wooden structure are coated with special applicants. This protects them from the forces of nature and weather conditions.

An advantage of Glulam is that it already comes with timber cladding since the glues and adhesives used in the production are specially sealed and designed to stop water penetration. They protect the underlying timber very effectively from all manner of damage and corrosive elements. This also gives Glulam wood a homier, cozier, and a warmer feel and aesthetic.

6. High Tensile Strength

Another major structural advantage of Glulam is that despite being made from smaller separate pieces of wood, it is on the whole much stronger and durable than traditional timber. This is because its special manufacturing process and treatment with adhesives increase its strength, increasing the endurance level while still allowing it to be flexible. This allows it to absorb more burden and pressure in construction situations where normal timber would otherwise snap and break.

7. Fire Resistant

Fire is one of the worst enemies of timber houses. This is because timber is dry wood and catches fire and burns readily. On the other hand, Glulam has much greater fire resistance than traditional timber and some other construction materials. The adhesives and glue used in production form a very resistant and durable layer of protection. It may not go completely unscathed but it will buy your precious home just enough time for the fire department to come and put out the fire.

Conclusion

Glulam is a versatile and efficient product and massively cuts down on the negatives, costs, and disadvantages of traditional timber procuring activities.

The move to Glulam is one which should be championed on a global level, especially in countries where forest reserves are rapidly disappearing and are most affected by climate change. Heat waves and extreme winters are already becoming more intense around the globe and the trees are our main line of defense against such conditions. If we don’t preserve them now, a time will come where our wooden houses will remain but we will not.

 

Simon Roth

Simon is an entrepreneur and self-proclaimed jack of all trades. Simon has experience in the building and home renovation industry and he knows what it takes to knock out a successful project whether it be commercial or residential. Currently, he works as a marketing consultant with ASH(Australian Sustainable Hardwoods)- an established leader among wood suppliers in Australia. Another niche for Simon is travel and outdoors leisure, including sporting equipment and bikes. A big kid at heart if it goes fast, bounces, slides or you can climb it Simon has put it to the test.

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