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.
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.
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.
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.
Product Manufacturers (Glulam)
- Anthony Forest Products Company
- Arizona Structural Laminators, LLC
- Art Massif Structure De Bois Inc.
- Boise Cascade Company
- Calvert Company, Incorporated
- Diversified Wood Resources, LLC, dba American Laminators/Duco Lam
- FraserWood Industries Ltd.
- Goodlam, Division of Goodfellow Inc.
- GR Plume Company, Inc.
- Gruen-Wald Engineered Laminates, Inc.
- Mississippi Laminators, Incorporated
- Nordic Engineered Wood
- QB Corporation
- Riddle Laminators Incorporated
- Shelton Lam and Deck
- Stark Truss Company, Inc.
- Structurlam Products Ltd.
- TECOLAM Inc.
- Western Archrib
- Western Structures, LLC