Mass Timber is a revolutionary building material and its changing the construction industry. It's a type of engineered wood created through the use of advanced manufacturing processes. Mass Timber is made from sustainably sourced wood and is stronger, lighter, and more sustainable than traditional building materials. In this article, we'll look at the wonders of Mass Timber and introduce three of the most popular types: cross-laminated timber (CLT), glulam, and Naillam.
Introduction to Mass Timber
Mass Timber is a term used to describe wood products made from sustainably sourced wood and engineered into panelized forms. It's becoming increasingly popular in the construction industry due to its strength, light weight, and cost-effectiveness. Mass Timber is made using factory-based manufacturing processes that involve combining multiple layers of dimensional lumber together to create a single, solid piece. This process can be used to create different types of Mass Timber, each with its own unique properties and applications.
Mass Timber is often used in the construction of multi-story buildings, as it is extremely strong and can be used to span large distances. It's also lightweight, making it easier to transport and install. Mass Timber can be more cost-effective than traditional building materials by decreasing construction times and costs, generating revenue faster, and requiring less foundational engineering and construction.
Mass Timber is used in a variety of applications, from residential homes to multi-story commercial buildings. However, the financial benefits are primarily realized during construction of larger projects. It's increasingly more popular for the construction of stadiums and other industrial structures too.
What is Cross Laminated Timber (CLT)?
Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) is one of the most popular types of Mass Timber. It's made by combining multiple layers of wood together in a perpendicular fashion. The layers are then glued together to create solid, strong, and lightweight panels. CLT is available in a variety of thicknesses based on the number of layers and engineering requirements. It's most commonly found in 3 layers, roughly 5.5 inches, and can increase from there. It is most often used as floor and roof systems but can also be used in exterior wall applications.
What is Glulam?
Glulam, also known as glued laminated timber, is another popular type of Mass Timber. It's made with multiple layers of wood laid in a parallel and overlapping fashion. This process can be used to create panels more cost effectively than CLT by using less wood material, but it is not structurally stable in multiple directions like CLT. Glulam is most often used to make the structural beams that support CLT.
What is Naillam?
Naillam is another type of Mass Timber. The layers of wood are nailed, rather than glued, together. Like Glulam, Naillam is used to create both panels and beams. It is often touted as a cheaper alternative than Glulam or CLT, but due to the metal components (the nails!) its ability to be cut using factory CNC machines is greatly reduced.
Benefits of Mass Timber
As mentioned, Mass Timber has many benefits over traditional building materials. It is stronger, lighter, and offers cost benefits in specific applications. However, it really shines when compared to concrete and steel in terms of sustainability. Most Mass Timber products are made from small diameter logs that are sustainably harvested. Using the small diameter logs, rather than mature old growth, ensures that forests are protected from wildfire while also maintaining the soil protection and wildlife habitat of old growth timber. In construction, it requires less material and labor making it a more cost-effective option. Mass Timber is also more aesthetically pleasing than traditional materials as it can be finished with various types of natural finish and be left exposed.
Design Considerations for Mass Timber
When using Mass Timber, there are a few design considerations to keep in mind. Mass Timber is typically manufactured in large pieces, so the design must take this into account. Additionally, Mass Timber should be considered very early in the design process, as the timelines, sequence of erection, and various engineering requirements differ from traditional methods. Switching to Mass Timber late in the design process will not yield the full potential of this amazing product.
Mass Timber is also susceptible to moisture and other environmental conditions. It must be properly sealed and protected from the elements in order to ensure its longevity. Numerous products and methods exist to help here. However, extra care is needed to protect the raw timber panels from excessive moisture during construction.
Mass Timber is a revolutionary building material that is shaking up the construction industry. It's an engineered wood product created through the use of advanced manufacturing processes. Mass Timber is made from sustainably sourced wood and is stronger, lighter, and more cost-effective than traditional building materials.
In this blog article, we uncovered the wonders of Mass Timber, and introduced three of the most popular types: cross-laminated timber (CLT), glulam, and naillam. We also discussed the benefits and applications of Mass Timber, as well as the design considerations and environmental benefits.