Surrey Memorial Critical Care Tower, Surrey, B.C. Photo: Ed White, courtesy of CEI Architecture & Parkin Architects.
Innovative engineered wood products that bond together wood, fibre, strands or chips offer higher-performance and dimensionally stable options for any building project, whether large or small, residential or commercial. Structural engineered wood products offer incredible design versatility for architects.
Engineered wood (sometimes referred to as composite) is comprised of wood veneers, lumber, panels, fibres or strands bound together with an adhesive. Generally, engineered wood is more dimensionally stable and consistent than solid wood. Common engineered wood products are laminated veneer lumber (LVL), oriented strand board (OSB), and plywood (both hardwood and softwood). Structural beam products include I-joists, glulam, and I-beams.
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Wood’s high strength-to-weight ratio, high energy-absorption capacity and ductile behaviour make it a building material of choice for seismic performance.
Parallel strand lumber (PSL)
A strong, consistent material with a high load-carrying ability, PSL is resistant to seasoning stresses. It is well suited for use as beams and columns in post-and-beam construction, and for beams, headers, and lintels in light framing. Visually attractive, PSL is suited to applications where finished appearance is important, as well as structural applications where appearance is not a factor.
Made of short pieces of wood that are joined to form longer lengths, finger-jointed lumber is used in door jams, mouldings and studs. It is also produced in long lengths and wide dimensions for floors.
Cross-laminated timber (CLT)
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is an advanced product, developed in Switzerland in the early 1990s, designed for increased dimensional stability and strength in framing systems. CLT is made of multiple layers of wood, with each layer oriented crosswise to the next. Used for long spans in floors, walls or roofs, CLT can be pre-finished, which reduces labour onsite, and is equally suited to new construction and additions to existing buildings.
Green building practices have helped CLT’s popularity, with its combination of environmental performance, sustainability, design flexibility, cost-competitiveness and structural integrity. As CLT is an all-wood product (except the adhesive that binds it together), it offers carbon-storage advantages over non-wood structural alternatives.