Versatile Engineered Wood Product Delivers Strength, Beauty, and Reliability
Glued laminated timber, or glulam, is a highly innovative construction material. Pound for pound, glulam is stronger than steel and has greater strength and stiffness than comparably sized dimensional lumber. Increased design values, improved product performance, and cost competitiveness make glulam the superior choice for projects from simple beams and headers in residential construction to soaring arches for domed roofs spanning more than 500 feet.
Glulam is a stress-rated engineered wood beam composed of wood laminations, or "lams", that are bonded together with durable, moisture-resistant adhesives. The grain of the laminations runs parallel with the length of the member. Glulam is versatile, ranging from simple, straight beams to complex, curved members. Glulam is available in both custom and stock sizes and one of four appearance classifications: premium, architectural, industrial, or framing.
Common Glulam Applications
Glulam has a reputation for being used in striking, exposed applications such as vaulted ceilings and other designs with soaring open spaces. In homes, churches, public buildings, and other light commercial structures, glulam is often specified for its beauty as well as its strength. It's also a workhorse in common hidden applications, including simple purlins, ridge beams, garage door headers, floor beams, and large cantilevered beams. In commercial construction, glulam is used in appplications ranging from large, flat roof systems to complex arches. Glulam also meets demanding environments of bridges, utility poles, cross arms, and marinas. Learn more about glulam in commercial and residential construction.
Glulam is available in both custom and stock sizes. Stock beams are manufactured in commonly used dimensions and cut to length when the beam is ordered from a distributor or dealer. Typical stock beam widths used in residential construction include: 3-1/8, 3-1/2, 5-1/8, 5-1/2, and 6-3/4 inches.
For non-residential applications, where long spans, unusually heavy loads, or other circumstances control design, custom members are typically specified. Common custom shapes include straight beams, curved beams, pitched and curved beams, radial arches, and tudor arches.
The APA Mark of Quality
Glulam beams manufactured by APA members are certified with the APA EWS trademark. The mark signifies that the manufacturer is committed to a rigorous program of quality verification and testing and that products are manufactured in conformance with ANSI Standard A190.1-2012, Standard for Wood Products—Structural Glued Laminated Timber. The APA EWS trademark is recognized by all major model building codes.
The Glulam Product Guide, Form X440, describes APA EWS trademarked glulam, addresses important design considerations, and includes a specification guide. It also highlights some of the many applications where glulam is used in construction.
The Glued Laminated Beam Design Tables, Form S475, provide recommended preliminary design loads for two of the most common glulam beam applications: roofs and floors. The tables include values for section properties and capacities and allowable loads for simple span and cantilevered beams.
Access a complete list of APA publications about glulam in APA's Resource Library.