Glued-Laminated Timber: The Benefits and Properties of Glulam Beams

31 Mar.,2023


The company has a group of cooperation teams engaged in the Laminated Wood Beams, Waterproof Painting H20 Formwork, Formwork H20 Timber Beam industry for many years, with dedication, innovation spirit and service awareness, and has established a sound quality control and management system to ensure product quality.

You may be asking yourself what on earth is glulam? What does it mean and what is the anatomy of it? In short, glulam stands for glued-laminated timber. It was first introduced in the 1890s in Europe and is still used frequently in building to this very day!

In this blog, we will explore what glulam beams are and the many benefits of them! Read on to discover more! 

What is Glulam? 

Essentially, glulam is a man-made product which is created from several layers of structural timber merged together with adhesives to make bigger sections. A range of wood species is used to manufacture glulam. The boards are laid in a way so the grain is parallel to the horizontal axis. Such a process makes glulam members which have a larger size and a greater length which can be easily worked to curve or straight.

Glulam has a natural colour, the same as wood, this is in turn, a big part of its appeal. This invention came about as a different option of pre-designed shapes and dimensions for woodworkers, instead of dealing with solid-sawn timber of unusual shape or in large size.

In this next section we will go into a few of the various reasons why glulam proves to be so popular: 

An ideal choice for environmentally conscious people 

You might think engineered products that contain chemicals such as adhesives would be harmful to the general environment. Nevertheless, in relation to glulam, because of its quality workability, the production of this wood-engineered product needs much less energy compared to that of steel or concrete. Another bonus is that glulam has comparable or greater strength and weight to either material. Moreover, the process of glulam manufacturing makes use of otherwise wasted wood, which makes it pretty ecological for this reason.

Longstanding quality and durability 

There are lots of reasons as to why glulam is continuously popular and has been for well over a century now. Due to specialized factory processes, glulam manufacturers can machine glulam products free of defect knots caused by manufacturing. This translates into increased strength as the wood boards are created to have their sloping grains around the knots removed.

In comparison to steel and concrete, wood products have a larger strength to weight ratio. For example, in the case of beam sizes, the strength of glulam is approximately 1.5 more than to double that of steel of the same load-bearing capacity.

In turn, glulam is a great choice for residential applications of harsh environments because of its high resistance to intense environmental pollution, and also chemical attacks. The glulam structure can be worked during installation so that fungal or insect invasion can be stopped.

One particular crucial quality of glulam is its fire performance. Glulam works exceptionally well when temperatures reach 1,650 degrees or higher. The temperature glulam member can withstand and can be raised, as a result of the charring increasing the insulation of the glulam member. As well as this, on cross-section, most of the glulam will stay in one piece upon contact with fire and continue to support the load of any kind of structure. This meant that glulam will not twist or buckle in a fire as fast and as severely as other materials can. It is crucial to know that at 30 minutes of fire exposure, only around three-quarters of an inch of glulam is reported to be subject to damage, as compared to a steel structure, which would have collapsed under the same pressure.

High ambience quality

Homeowners who utilise glulam structures can experience a warmer feel in winter, cooler feel in summer, which is often a characteristic of tropical hardwoods. Some contractors would recommend glulam members in case of improving and/or overcoming acoustic issues.

The drying technique used on glulam makes it doable to make it dry to extremely low timber moisture. Moreover, glulam beams have a general moisture content of about 12% at the production stage. You can look at this in comparison to this figure with regular green lumber and kiln-dried lumber, the moisture content of which is respectively around 20-50%, and 12%. 

What’s more, glulam is able to absorb moisture from the surrounding air, without cracking over time. Homeowners in a tropical or humid climate should seriously consider this material.

A good and cost-effective application

It isn’t just the case that glulam has exceptional strength, as well as this, it also takes a lot less time to rework and fabricate on the property, which indicates budget will be scaled down and time saved over the length of the project.

Due to the fact that glulam is an engineered wooden product, the technology behind this has made it easier for installers to cut, nail, drill, and so on, where other solid wood products might require certain sets of skills and specific tools to work with. Specific machinery is not required when installing glulam. What’s more, these particular traits increase the building velocity and decrease the amount of needed effort for glulam structures.

Adhesives for glulam 

Dry service and wet service conditions are two crucial factors that need to be factored by property owners, the same as the producers of laminating adhesives used for glulam. Dry service needs the member to possess a moisture content of below 16% in service, while wet service requires the number to be at or above 16% in service.

There are a few types of glue available for glulam usage. One of the most commonly used ones is modified melamine-resin, the line colour of which is light to brown. Other widely used kinds are phenol-resorcinol-resin of dark brown, and polyurethane of light to transparent colour. All of these adhesives can be utilised for indoor and outdoor application areas. Modified melamine-resin and phenol-resorcinol-resin adhesives both contain formaldehyde, while polyurethane adhesives do not. However, due to formaldehyde being a natural element of wood, you may find a tiny amount of this substance in polyurethane-glued glulam.


Despite glulam being dimensionally stable because of its laminated nature, maintenance considerations are still required. Applying a protective coating will work to limit the impact of weathering on the material which allows it to offer a quality long-term service. Coating procedure should be put on according to the manufacturer's instructions. Make sure to repair the joint and capping details as and when.

Why Use Glulam?

Glulams aren’t just durable, cost-effective, and highly versatile; they are also resource-efficient because they are made with relatively small pieces of lumber to create a wooden member that would otherwise require large, old-growth timber. Glulams offer many benefits to designers and builders:

● Highly versatile as roof and floor beams, columns, bracing, decking, and other structural components

● Able to create unsupported spans of over 500 feet

● Reduced transportation and handling costs

● Easy installation and surface repair

● Customizable to fit specific needs

● Standard sizes available 

● Produced in well-managed forests and certified to PEFC standards

● Good fire resistance: can outlast steel beams under the same fire conditions

● Manufactured to precise dimensions

Glulam should be handled with care to stop any damage or reduction in their structure or capacity. To stop surface scratches, or fabric slings when lifting. Members should be stored vertically, if possible, and always should be protected from the weather by a covering of plastic sheeting. Unless glulam material is meant to be used for exposed areas, it should be protected from outdoor exposure until it is ready to be installed.

Here at Rafferty Roof Trusses , we provide glulam timber beams, otherwise known as Glue Laminated Timber beams. These are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes and dimensions and can be supplied for all building applications, no matter what your project’s requirements may be. Glulam beams can also be provided in many different machining capabilities including drilling, milling, slotting and cutting.

At Rafferty Roof Trusses, we are proud to put customer satisfaction at the forefront of everything we do. For this reason, we always go above and beyond to provide our clients with bespoke roof solutions at highly competitive rates. To find out more about the various services we offer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch

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