APA - The Engineered Wood Association


Glulam: Visible Beauty, Hidden Strength

Glulam is a versatile engineered wood product that has the strength, stability, and long span capabilities to make it an ideal option for today's open floor plans, expansive window and door openings, and tall walls.

Stronger and lighter than steel, boasting greater strength and stiffness than comparable dimension lumber, and capable of spanning long distances, glulam beams provide designers and builders virtually unlimited design flexibility.

In residential construction, APA trademarked glulam beams are often chosen for their beauty in exposed designs, such as rafters in vaulted ceilings or long clear-span ridge beams. But they're also ideal for hidden structural applications, such as floor beams and headers.

Stock Glulam Resources

Stock Glulam Beam

Stock glulam beams offer cost-effective performance in a wide range of applications — and because they are cut to length when ordered, there is virtually no waste. Learn more about this framing workhorse:

  • Glulam Garage Door Headers Offer Design Options — Connection details and installation recommendations for glulam in residential garage door framing
  • Glulam Floor Beams — Span tables for glulam floor beams in residential construction, tables for substituting glulam for steel beams, and design details
  • Glulam Product Guide — Glulam Product Guide addresses important design considerations and includes a specification guide
  • Case Study: Winfield Gate — In Houston, Texas, luxury townhomes tap into load-carrying capacities of glulam beams
  • Glulam Beams and the New Home — Glulam holds strong and spans long: ridge and rafter beams, floor beams, columns, window headers, garage door headers and portal frames, and more

APA Glulam Member Manufacturers

To learn more about availability, contact a member manufacturer directly. For an up-to-date list of glulam producers, visit APA's glulam manufacturer directory.

Featured Project: Robust Glulam Frame Supports Historic Building Renovation in Newport, RI

Audrain Building
The Audrain Building on Newport, Rhode Island's posh Bellevue Avenue is steeped in history. The unique building was designed by New York architect Bruce Price in the early 1900s and features intricate exterior detailing that exudes tradition and luxury. Its recent renovation from a worn-around-the-edges modified office building into a car museum and upscale work space will ensure that it retains its role as gilded historian, with an authentic blend of vintage charm and high-end appeal. Read more.

Featured Project: Curved Glulam Beams Bring Sense Of Grandeur to LeMay Museum

LeMay – America’s Car MuseumWhen entering the exhibit hall at the LeMay Museum in Tacoma, Washington, visitors may find themselves gazing up at the ceiling as well as taking in the lines of gleaming classic cars. A soaring roof system made with curved glulam beams offers a striking sense of grandeur while simultaneously lending a warm, grounded aesthetic to the vast space.

Classic cars at the LeMay Museum.Nicknamed “America’s Car Museum,” the 165,000-square-foot facility was created to celebrate America’s love affair with the automobile. Across its 4-story, 9-acre campus, the museum houses up to 350 cars, trucks and motorcycles from private owners, corporations, and the expansive Harold LeMay collection, from a 1906 Cadillac Model M to a 1965 Lotus racecar to a 1983 DeLorean DMC 12. Rotating exhibits, such as a collection of glass hood ornaments, also are showcased.

Read more in the APA Case Study: LeMay -- America's Car Museum, Form N115.

Featured Project: Glulam Timber Truss Bridge Spans Remote River

The Placer River Pedestrian Bridge, completed in July 2013, is the longest clear-span glulam timber truss bridge in North America. The 280-foot long camelback bridge is located in Chugach National Forest in Alaska at the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, one of five stops planned along a new railway in Alaska’s National Forests and Parks. Designed by Western Wood Structures, the bridge was constructed with preservative-treated Douglas fir glulam trusses, Alaskan Yellow Cedar decking, and steel connectors. Image courtesy of Neil Hunt, Patrick Engineering.

Placer River Pedestrian BridgeThe Placer River Pedestrian Bridge faced unique design challenges. Aesthetically, the US Forest Service wanted the bridge to evoke a look and feel reminiscent of an early 20th century railroad camp. At the same time, the backcountry bridge’s design had to not only withstand extreme weather, but also be placed high enough to avoid collisions with icebergs and ice floes from nearby Spencer Glacier. Sitting 25 feet above the waters of the Placer River, the bridge design meets every requirement for appearance, durability, and strength—and was achieved with cost-effective materials. “People are pleased with the bridge—with the way it looks and with the way it fits in with the setting,” says Rod Dell’Andrea, a structural engineer for the USFS. “It’s truly a context-sensitive design and installation.”

Read more in the APA Case Study: Placer River Trail Bridge, Form Q110

Featured Project: Glulam Meets Sustainable Building Goals in Bullitt Center

Bullitt center in Seattle, WashingtonDescribed as the greenest commercial building in the world, the Bullitt center in Seattle, Washington pushes the envelope in urban sustainability. The six-story, 52,000-square-foot structure is designed to meet the stringent requirements of the Living Building Challenge (LBC), a performance-based certification program. “We wanted a sustainable building that would last 250 years,” said Brian Court, project architect with The Miller Hull Partnership. “That’s just one of the reasons we chose wood.” John Stamets Photo

Because wood is a sustainable, renewable resource, and because glulam makes efficient use of the materials by bonding smaller pieces of dimension lumber together to form larger beams and columns, glulam was a logical choice over concrete for the Bullitt Center. The podium structure is built with a Type IV heavy timber frame that consists of Douglas-fir glulam beams and columns finished to an industrial appearance grade. According to Brian Oberg of APA-member Calvert Company in Vancouver, Washington, the project required approximately 119,000 board feet of glulam.

Read more in the WoodWorks Bullitt Center Case Study.

CAD Information

For glulam details in a CAD format, go to the Glulam Beams section at www.apacad.org. Details for glulam floor beams, garage door headers and roof beams are available in four different formats – .DWG, .DWF, .DXF and .PDF, and can be quickly downloaded and inserted into your building plans. 

Use Glulam With Narrow Wall Bracing

An integral part of APA’s Narrow Wall Bracing Method is extending headers to the corner framing. When glulam is used, the extended headers provide a good nailing surface for the sheathing and enhance the lateral strength of the wall. Glulam beams work well in tandem with the APA Narrow Wall Bracing Method to offer a strong, stable, and easy to construct solution for narrow wall segments. Learn more about glulam’s role in narrow wall bracing by visiting the Glulam Headers section.

The APA-EWS Mark of Quality

How To Read The APA EWS Trademark

APA EWS trademarks appear only on products manufactured by APA EWS member mills. The mark signifies that panel quality is subject to verification through APA EWS audit– a procedure designed to assure manufacture in conformance with APA performance standards or the standard shown in the mark. Learn more about APA EWS.

Related Publications

Glulam Floor Beams
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Product Manufacturers (Glulam)

Free APA Product Reports App
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Free CAD details from APA at APACAD.org

Visit APACAD.org for more than 250 free CAD details for wood-frame construction.