Tag Archive for: cross laminated timber

What is Mass Timber?

The term “mass timber” (short for “massive timber”) refers to a range of engineered wood products that are being used primarily in construction projects. These products are made from smaller pieces of lumber that are glued or laminated together to form larger panels or beams.

Mass timber products are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to traditional construction materials like concrete and steel. Their popularity is growing rapidly as more architects and builders become aware of mass timber’s many advantages, and we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of its potential.

Mass timber is an innovative and highly versatile new material for construction. Mass timber products are strong and durable, yet lightweight and easy to work with, making them ideal for use in tall buildings where weight is a major concern. Believe it or not, mass timber also has excellent fire resistance properties They also have a lower carbon footprint than other construction materials, making them a great option for sustainable building practices.

Types of Mass Timber

There are many different types of mass timber products available on the market. Mass timber is an inclusive term that includes materials like glue-laminated (glulam) beams, laminated veneer lumber (LVL), nail-laminated timber (NLT), and dowel-laminated timber (DLT).

But the most common and most familiar form of mass timber, the one that has opened up the newest architectural possibilities, is cross-laminated timber (CLT). In CLT, the wood is composed of layers of lumber perpendicular to each other, glued together with a high-strength resin. CLT offers the same strength as steel or concrete, and, because it is made of wood, it is a renewable resource.

What are the Benefits of Mass Timber?

There are several benefits to mass timber construction, including its potential to help address climate change. Mass timber products are made from wood, a renewable resource, and can store carbon for the life of the product. When used in construction, mass timber can help reduce a building’s carbon footprint.

In addition, mass timber construction is efficient and can be completed quickly. Prefabricated structures and components are popular building methods for construction in both public and private sector projects. They’re also becoming increasingly popular for residential buildings and custom homes.

The benefits of mass timber construction make it an appealing option for both new construction and retrofits. As architects and construction professionals look for inventive new ways to address climate change, mass timber presents an exciting solution that can help them build more sustainable structures.

How is Mass Timber Being Used Today?

Today, mass timber is being used in a variety of ways. One way is in the construction of skyscrapers. Mass timber is well-suited for tall building construction because it is strong and lightweight. As mentioned, mass timber can be used to create prefabricated panels which can be rapidly assembled on-site. This helps to speed up the construction process and reduce costs.

Another way that mass timber is being used today is in the creation of furniture. Mass timber furniture is often made from cross-laminated lumber, which is strong and durable. This type of furniture can be found in both homes and businesses. It is becoming increasingly popular due to its unique appearance and environmental friendliness.

Finally, mass timber is being incorporated in some unlikely industries, like the automotive industry. Mass timber can be used to create structural components that are strong yet lightweight (long live the “Woody”).

Mass timber structures are also being used in the construction of bridges and other large public works. Mass timber bridges have a long life expectancy and are less expensive to maintain than traditional concrete or steel structures.

The Future of Mass Timber

As the world looks for more sustainable building materials, mass timber is an increasingly popular option. This makes it ideal for construction projects that require height, such as office buildings and apartment complexes.

While mass timber is not yet as widely used as concrete or steel, it is growing in popularity due to its many benefits. Mass timber is recyclable, meaning it can be replaced more quickly than non-recyclable construction materials like concrete. It is also lighter than many traditional construction materials, making it easier and cheaper to transport. In addition, mass timber sequesters carbon dioxide which keeps it from entering the atmosphere, thus helping to combat climate change.

The use of mass timber has been increasing in popularity in recent years as a more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional construction materials. While mass timber still has some drawbacks, such as its higher cost and the need for specialized equipment and training, its many benefits make it a promising option for the future of construction. The future of mass timber looks bright as more and more architects and engineers look for ways to incorporate this innovative material into their projects.


Innovation in Wood – Cross Laminated Timber

cross laminated timber

The W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana is just one of an increasing number of institutions looking to cross-laminated timber (CLT) for new construction. UM recently requested money from the state legislature to help fund the building of its new $45 million CLT building, to be built from wood grown, harvested, and manufactured in that state.

“It just makes perfect sense for a forestry building and tells the story, and it is a much more sustainable and reasonable way to go,” Alan Townsend, the Franke College dean, told The Missoulian. “And it can look really cool. It’d be a pretty iconic building on campus.”

Based on its earlier adoption in Europe as a building material, interest in CLT structures continues to grow in North America and around the world. Buildings manufactured with CLT panels are faster to construct, more energy-efficient and made from renewable material. Let’s take a closer look.

What is Cross Laminated Timber (CLT)?

Cross-laminated timber (CLT), a sub-category of engineered wood, is created by gluing together several layers of kiln-dried lumber. Laid flat, they are glued together on their wide faces, with grain in alternating directions at 90 degrees.

Panels most frequently consist of three, five, seven or nine alternating layers. Layer thickness typically ranges from ⅝” to 2” and board width from 2.4” to 9.5”. It is similar to plywood, however with significantly thicker laminations or layers.  The layered stacks are glued and then pressed vertically as well as horizontally to create panels, which can then be accurately sized and finished for installation.

Typical panel widths are 2, 4, 8 or 10 feet, while panel length may extend to 60 feet. CLT is different than glued laminated timber (glulam) in which all laminations are oriented in the same direction.

What is the History of CLT?

Cross-laminated timber was first introduced in the early 1990s in Germany and Austria. Since that time, it has continued to gain popularity for residential and non-residential building construction in Europe.

After slow initial growth, its popularity began to increase in the early 2000’s thanks to the green building movement, as well as through newfound efficiencies, product approvals, and improved marketing and distribution.

CLT usage in buildings has increased significantly in the last decade. Hundreds of impressive buildings and other structures built around the world using CLT bring to life the substantial benefits made possible by CLT. The European projects demonstrate that CLT construction can be competitive, particularly in mid-rise and high-rise buildings.

What are the Advantages of CLT?

According to www.woodworks.org, the major benefits of CLT are listed as follows:

Design flexibility: CLT panel thickness can be easily increased to allow for longer spans, and custom cut as required with CNC equipment to exacting tolerances.

Thermal performance: CLT’s thermal performance is related to panel thickness. Thicker panels require less insulation, and because panels are solid, there is little potential for airflow through the panel system. As a result, interior temperatures can be maintained with as little as one-third the amount of energy otherwise required for cooling or heating.

Cost-effectiveness: Even without considering the added benefits of faster construction time (up to 25% less time and up to 50% less labor) and lower foundation costs, CLT compares favorably to certain concrete, masonry, and steel building alternatives. According to a 2010 study by FPInnovations, CLT was 15% lower for mid-rise residential, 15 to 50% cheaper for mid-rise non-residential and 25% cheaper for low-rise commercial structures.

Less waste: Because CLT panels are custom manufactured for particular building projects, they generate little or no job site waste generated. Additionally, fabrication scraps, if created, can be used for other architectural elements such as stairs, or as biofuel.

Environmental advantages: Aside from superior thermal performance that saves building operators money on their heating bill, CLT is also valued because its production has a lower environmental footprint than the manufacturing of other construction alternatives, including the production of less air and water pollution and the generation of less CO2. The environmental case for CLT is enhanced as it acts to sequester carbon.

Fire protection: The thick cross-section of CLT panels provides superior fire resistance because panels char slowly. Once charred, the panels are protected from further degradation.

Seismic performance: Thanks to its dimensional stability and rigidity, CLT performs well under seismic stresses. Extensive testing has determined that CLT panels hold up exceptionally well with no deformation, particularly in multi-story applications.

What is the Outlook for CLT?

While mass timber is considered a more sustainable building material than steel or concrete, its uptake until recently has been limited due to negative perceptions regarding its strength and cost as well as building code restrictions that have limited its use in mass-market building types.

However, as one recent report notes, as the price of mass timber products continues to fall and local jurisdictions improve their code approval processes, the wood material is anticipated to become a more viable everyday choice for building commercial office buildings.

According to The Economist, mass timber is expected to account for US$1.4bn of the US$14trn global construction industry by 2025 and 0.5% of new urban buildings by 2050. With concerted investment in global manufacturing capacity and building projects for mass timber, however, The Economist believes that the share of the construction market could rise exponentially by 2050, capturing trillions in value.


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