How To – The use of glue laminated beams in residential construction

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    To reduce the cost and size of beams required in residential construction glue laminated products have been designed to reduce conventional framing.

    Glue laminated beams may be used in variety of locations including but not limited to rim joists, stairway and window and door headers.  They can be used alone or they can be used in built up beams.

    Because of their higher structural strength glued laminated beams can replace steel in many locations however in high moisture conditions there are not always the best option.

    There are two basic types of glue limited beams.  The first type is similar to plywood and built up out of many layers of wood.  The second type looks more like OSB plywood however the pieces of wood within the beam are aligned specifically to achieve high structural strength.

    Both types of beams make use of a waterproof high structural strength glue.

    Because these beams are built up in a factory they can be designed to any shape.  This means that architects are not limited to the shapes of openings that they can design.

    When used in the header often glued laminated beams are sandwiched between standard joist lumber.  Careful application of nailing is important when building up a glue laminated beam.

    The use of joist hangers

    Joist hangers are commonly suggested for most structural attachments today.  The correct use of metal hangers will allow you to attach wood to wood or wood to metal.      It is important when using joist hangers that you use the correct fasteners.  Only nails that are rated for joist hangers should be used when making attachments.

    Joist hanger nails are specifically designed to penetrate the wood and they are hardened to provide a specific structural connection.  Common nails are much softer and can not be depended on long-term structural connections.  They may sheer or rust and fail.

    Ordering the correct size of glue laminated beams

    Because of their cost is very important that you order and cut your beams exactly.  When possible you can order your beams cut by the manufacturer.  This will reduce your waste.

    Beam material can also be provided in standard lengths that can be cut on site.  Ordering material in standard     lengths allows you to compensate for an openings above windows and doors.

    To reduce your overall cost it is important that you adhere to standard building sizes.  This is also true conventional lumber however since most glued laminated products are designed standard building sizes in mind you always have reduced cost if you order standard sizes.

    Most suppliers of Trust Systems also supply glue limited products.  When placing your order you should inquire about architectural and engineering assistance.  Often an engineer can review your plans for free and provide specific details on the products used and sizes required.  This can reduce your overall cost as the service is often provided for free when you place the order with a supplier.  The services provided to reduce callbacks and returns of product.

    Final Note

    The use of glue limited beams will reduce your overall cost as it is less costly than steel an additional benefit is that this material does not require any specialized tools for cutting.

    Training time for the use of glued laminated beams is minimal however you must always follow the architects recommendations for size, location and fastening.

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