Saturday, September 5, 2009

Structural Framing Beams

Let's start with the beams. They can be Glulam, Parallam, Microlam or even wood beams. What are all of these and why do I need them in my house. The beams are used to hold up parts of the house and are located in your walls, roofs and floors. Beams are used to transfer a load from one point to another.

Structural framing beams allow the architect to create large openings, floors and roofs in your house. The beams are also used to support the weight over the doors, windows and other openings in your home. These beams support massive amounts of weight in some cases and are even made of steel if needed.

Another growing problem is the lack of old growth trees in the forest. If we just used wood beams with out using the new engineered beams we would have to cut down a lot more of the bigger trees. So you can add these guys to your Christmas list. The lumber or wood engineers have come up with all sorts of alternatives for new building products. These new beams are just some of them. Keep up the good work guys...

Glulam is a engineered wood product comprised of wood laminations, or 2 x 4s that are bonded together with strong, waterproof adhesives. If you use a Glulam beam on the buildings exterior you will have to order a exterior Glulam beam. In this case the manufacture will use special exterior rated glues for the beam.

When ordering any wood engineered beams specify to the lumber yard what you are using the beam for. Exterior or Interior of the building. If you use a interior glulam over time there is a good chance of the beam delaminating or cracking apart.

Parallam is made from almost all of the wood on the log using veneer strands that are aligned parallel for maximum strength. The end product is a rectangular beam; which is longer, thicker, and stronger than solid-sawn lumber. They are often used as beams, headers, columns, and posts, among others uses.

Microllam is an engineered wood product that uses multiple layers of thin wood assembled with adhesives. It offers several advantages over typical milled lumber: it is stronger, straighter, and more uniform. It is much less likely than conventional lumber to warp, twist, bow, or shrink due to its composite nature. Made in a factory under controlled specifications, Microllam products allow users to reduce the onsite labor. They are typically used for headers, beams, rim board, and edge-forming material.

These beams come in all sorts of different lengths, widths and heights. They are engineered to hold amazing amounts of weight. They really are great engineering marvels.

Tip: I have had to replace almost all of these types of beams over the years due to some form of damage. Like anything else in your home if it is used improperly there is a good chance your are going to have some sort of failure. I have seen people add weight to these structural beams with no thought of them ever failing.

If you are planning on building a room addition, rebuilding your roof, adding a floor or any other type of construction where you are adding a addition load to your house. You might want to consult with a building contractor or structural engineer.

Thanks Greg For Another Super Article On Home Building. For more great articles visit Greg at

Greg Vanden Berge is working on the internet to promote the education for creating simple to follow guides and home building books to help professional building contractors as well as the weekend warriors. He is currently working on more building stairs books and adding useful content to help solve problems created by the lack of construction knowledge in the building industry. Causes of Structural Failure

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