Cross-laminated timber(CLT) is a type of engineered wood that is made by bonding together layers of lumber. The resulting panels are strong and dimensionally stable, making them well-suited for use in construction.
Fabricators glue multiple layers of cross-laminated timber together, usually in groups of three, five, seven, or nine sheets to create the finished product.
Unlike solid wood, which can warp and shrink over time, cross laminated timber will retain its shape and size even when exposed to moisture or extreme temperature changes.
This engineered wood product which consists of layers of kiln-dried lumber is both durable and aesthetically pleasing.
How is Cross Laminated Timber Made?
The process of fabricating cross-laminated timber, also referred to as CLT, begins by choosing the right pieces of lumber and cutting out any defects found. A single finished piece of cross-laminated timber has multiple pieces of wood in it.
Manufacturers create the finished product by combining several individual layers together. Each panel gets cut to size, so it matches up with the other pieces of lumber in its group. Once the fabricator has the best pieces of lumber, they begin applying the adhesive. The adhesive process is exhaustive, as the manufacturer must ensure there are no cracks between the layers.
One of the most appealing aspects of cross-laminated timber is the fact that it is custom-made for every application. Regulations ensure that CLT manufacturing meets the most rigorous standards possible.
Cross Laminated Timber Applications
Different types of lumber lend themselves to different uses within any type of building project. For example, the type of cedar used on roofs would not work on the exterior walls of a commercial building. Another of the benefits associated with CLT use is its versatility. While many types of limber have very few possible applications, cross-laminated timber comes with a host of practical applications.
One of the most popular uses for cross-laminated timber is to use it instead of concrete when building form walls on the outside of a structure. Concrete is a traditional option for form walls but using CLT provides a more attractive exterior finish. Since it takes multiple pieces of lumber to make CLT, the different grains and colors come together to create an aesthetically pleasing finish instead of drab concrete.
Cross-laminated timber also provides uses for the inside of your home. Pre-insulated walls, which are a popular choice among homeowners and interior designers, lend themselves to the use of cross-laminated timber.
Depending on the design aesthetic that you want for your home, installing cross-laminated timber on your walls and ceilings is a great idea. The combination of different grains and shades of wood provide a rustic-chic look that many homeowners look for.
Cross-laminated timber is resistant to weather, thanks in large part to the lamination. This means that you can also use it on outside of your home. For instance, CLT provides a beautiful look for balconies and cantilevered floors.
Advantages of Cross-Laminated Timber
One of the most popular questions about any type of building material involves its cost. If you only look at the cost per square foot of cross-laminated timber, you may assume that it is more expensive than other building materials. Based only on that metric, you are correct. However, according to studies, the CLT takes much less time to install than other types of lumber. This decreased installation time leads to a reduction in cost. While you will pay more for the material, you will pay less for the labor which allows the cost to offset.
Cross-laminated timber is fire-resistant. Due to the manufacturing process, CLT chars when exposed to flames. The biggest benefit of this fire resistance is the fact areas of your home with cross-laminated timber won’t face total destruction in the event of a fire. There are also financial benefits associated with CLT’s fire resistance. When you use fire-resistant materials in and on your home, your homeowner’s insurance premiums decrease.
Cross-laminated timber also provides mold resistance, which is great news if you live in an area prone to flooding. Traditional drywall begins growing mold within 24 hours of exposure to water. When installed the right way, cross-laminated timber resists mold growth.
Cross-laminated timber is one of the most popular options among homeowners and construction professionals. Its fire-resistant and mold-resistant nature allows cross-laminated timber to last for decades if maintained.
The maintenance process is simple, as you only need to apply wood-preserving oil to the exterior of the timber to maintain it. If you are looking for an attractive, durable, affordable finish for your walls, floors, or exterior, cross-laminated timber is a wonderful option.