Advanced Materials and Chemicals


Glue Laminated Timber: A Timeless Material for Enduring Structures

Author : Priyanka | October 10, 2023

When it comes to building structures that are both aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound, glue laminated timber (GTL) is the perfect solution. With its unique composition of layered wood panels, it offers a multitude of benefits that traditional timber simply can't match.

From its unparalleled strength and durability to its environmental sustainability, GLT is quickly becoming the go-to material for architects and builders alike. The latest report by Kings Research states that the Glue Laminated Timber Market is projected to accrue USD 4.28 billion, depicting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.37% through 2030.

Let's understand everything about it, shall we?

Will Glue Laminated Timber Bring Your Design Dreams to Life?

Glue laminated timber (Glulam), is a durable and moisture-resistant structural material formed by joining individual wood segments together using industrial adhesives like Melamine or Polyurethane resin adhesives. This engineered wood possesses superior strength compared to steel and has the ability to bear heavier loads than a similarly-sized beam made of conventional timber. Glulam is created by layering multiple sheets of structural wood and bonding them together using adhesives.

This type of wood has the ability to create large pieces and unique shapes, making it an ideal choice for various construction purposes. These laminates are designed to be resistant to moisture in order to minimize the risk of water damage.

The structure of the wood grains is intentionally parallel to the beam's direction to minimize the risk of breakage. Glulam, a technologically advanced material, is widely utilized in architecture, construction, and industrial sectors.

Can Glue Laminated Timber Be Ignited?

Glulam, being a wooden material, has a natural affinity for fire. However, applying fire-defying coating can enhance its fire resistance capacity.

That is possible using surface fire retardant treatments, intumescent coatings, fire-resistant claddings, and proper structural design considerations. Surface treatments delay fire ignition and spread, while intumescent coatings form an insulating layer when exposed to high temperatures. Fire-resistant claddings, such as gypsum boards or fiber cement panels, provide additional fire protection. Proper structural design also contributes to glulam's fire resistance.

The Treet building in Bergen, Norway, is a fire-resistant structure made of glulam columns and beams, designed to withstand fire and maintain structural integrity through the charring effect.

Which Benefits of Glue Laminated Timber Make It the Perfect Option for Construction?

  • Improved strength: Since glulam combines multiple layers, it provides increased structural strength and stability compared to conventional solid timber.
  • Low Energy: Glulam requires significantly less energy for manufacturing and production in comparison to materials such as steel, aluminum, or concrete.
  • Fire Resistant: Glulam's fire resistance can be enhanced by applying appropriate finishes, ensuring it meets various fire safety standards.
  • Aesthetic Feature: Timber textures contribute a cozy and organic ambiance to a structure.

China is committed to sustainable development and views glue laminated timber (GLT) as a key way to achieve its forest stock goals. GLT is made from softwood from European and Canadian forests and is now used in China. China expects the GLT industry to develop similarly to global markets, with opportunities for safe and sustainable GLT in commercial and public buildings.

What are Some Innovative Use Cases of GLT?

Several leading companies are leveraging the potential of glulam in their construction creativity to amaze the world. Some of the foremost firms include:

1. BOISE Cascade

BOISE GLULAM beams by BOISE Cascade offer a vast selection of sizes and appearance choices, making them incredibly versatile in the world of engineered wood products. Whether used indoors or outdoors, displayed prominently, or hidden away, these beams are both cost-effective and simple to install, serving as an excellent alternative for beam-based applications in single-family homes, multi-family buildings, and light commercial construction.

Boise Glulam offers remarkable versatility, providing a wide range of grades that cater to both industrial and architectural specifications, giving customers the flexibility to select the perfect combination of strength and appearance. Its adhesive beams are ideal for exterior-grade or wet-use purposes, ensuring suitability for various applications, both indoors and outdoors.

2. Moelven Limtre AS

Moelven Limtre AS holds the predominant position in the GLT industry in Norway as the foremost and comprehensive manufacturer of glulam products. The company's portfolio encompasses superior products manufactured from simple standard beams in spruce, pine, or impregnated glulam. Its work includes Olympic halls in Lillehammer and Hamar, the world's tallest wooden house - Mjøstårnet, the Viking ship in Hamar, the Vennesla library, the Finansparken in Stavanger and many glulam bridges. Beams, roofs, and agricultural buildings are also part of its offerings.

Moelven Limtre offers comprehensive solutions that include the design, processing, and installation of various types of beams and elements. Their product line includes standard glulam, S-beam, special beams, LVL/Kerto, beech beams, solid wood elements, and associated fittings.

3. Mayr-Melnhof Holz Group

Mayr-Melnhof Holz Group's multinational quality brand for glue laminated timber (glulam) beams, MM Masterline, is individually made from planed and parallel-glued, stress-graded lamellas. It provides a cost-effective solution for applications requiring excellent load-bearing capacity, dimensional stability, and design versatility.

Mayr-Melnhof Holz offers a comprehensive range of glulam products, including standard stock goods as well as intricate special components. MM masterline glulam beams, alongside other engineered timber products, are produced under rigorous quality control and hold PEFC certification. As a natural and renewable building material that effectively stores CO2, the MM Masterline makes a significant contribution towards active climate protection.

4. Western Forest Products (WFP)

WFP Engineered Products delivers a wide array of specialized glue-laminated timber items, including round columns, customized beam ends, and floating stair treads. Its exceptional work with glulam can be seen in domes, playground equipment, docks, bridges, and so on.

The company offers a range of high-quality bonded laminate goods in woods like Douglas fir, southern yellow pine, and yellow cedar, as well as custom beams, trusses, and other products. Its high-strength GL3000 beams are often used in engineered floor systems, fabricated beams, and glulam trusses.

Laminating Thoughts

Glue laminated timber (GLT) is a game-changer in the world of building design. From its natural beauty and versatility to its unmatched strength and durability, GLT offers a range of benefits that simply can't be ignored. As architects, engineers, and builders continue to embrace glulam, we can anticipate a world where timber remains a timeless and forward-thinking choice for construction projects of all scales.

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