APA - The Engineered Wood Association

glulambeams.org

Substituting Glulam For Steel or Solid Lumber

Glulam beams of equal or greater strength and stiffness can often be substituted for sawn lumber or steel beams. Engineered Wood Systems, a related corporation of APA – The Engineered Wood Association, has developed a 44-page data file publication showing glulam equivalents for commonly used steel and solid-sawn beams. This publication is available as a free, downladable document by clicking on its title in the right-hand column of this page. Typical questions such as the following are answered in the guide.

Example 1

Question: A design calls for a 4 x 14 Douglas-fir Select Structural sawn lumber beam spanning 16 feet to support floor loads. What are the equivalent sizes using Douglas-fir glulam?

Solution: From Table 6 of the data file one will see that either 2-1/2 x 13-1/2-in. or 3-1/8 x 13-1/2-in. 24F Douglas-fir glulam can be used for this application. The final selection will depend on availability, cost, and other considerations.

Example 2

Question: A design calls for a W8 x 10 steel beam spanning 16 feet to support roof snow loads. What are the equivalent sizes using Southern Pine glulam?

Solution: From Table 22, either 3 x 12-3/8-in. or 5 x 11-in. 24F Southern Pine glulam can be used for this application. The final selection depending on availability, cost, and other considerations.

Important Notes

The data file publication makes a number of assumptions, including that the original specifications for steel and/or solid sawn members were designed correctly. The tables are intended as guidelines and all information should be reviewed by a registered design professional.