What Is Mass Timber?
Mass timber construction uses large solid wood panels — typically engineered into multiple layers — for walls, floors, and roofs. This sturdy timber material has created new construction possibilities for mid- and high-rise structures. Traditionally, steel and concrete have been the go-to materials for these buildings, but thanks to mass timber, now they can feature the strength and beauty of wood.
Mass timber panels are composed of either cross-laminated timber (CLT) or glued laminated timber (glulam). These panels are exceptionally strong and provide outstanding dimensional stability. They can be used on their own, or they can be combined with other building materials to create a hybrid mass timber building.
Mass timber is ideal for large projects, including office and mixed-use buildings, schools and universities, public and institutional settings, hospitality spaces, and multifamily structures. The Benefits of Mass Timber Construction Mass timber lets you harness the warmth and beauty of wood for large building projects that, traditionally, could feel cold or unattractive. Beyond looks, mass timber construction offers several other outstanding benefits:
The Benefits of Mass Timber Construction
- Resiliency: Mass timber’s excellent strength-to-weight ratio makes it a good choice in areas that tend to experience seismic events.
- Structural Integrity: Timber has a tendency to char rather than burn. This helps mass timber buildings maintain their structural integrity in the event of fire.
- Energy Efficiency: Mass timber construction creates a high thermal envelope, which reduces the energy needed to heat and cool buildings — and the associated cost.
- Sustainability: Timber made from responsibly sourced wood is a sustainable material. Its production also creates fewer carbon emissions compared to steel or concrete.
- Project Efficiency: Mass timber panels are prefabricated and assembled off-site, and construction time on mass timber buildings is often shorter than when using other materials. This causes less impact to job sites and can provide quicker returns on investment.
What is Cross-Laminated Timber?
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is one product used to make mass timber panels. It consists of layers of lumber that are oriented perpendicular to one another and then glued together to form structural panels. CLT panels are exceptionally rigid and strong and provide outstanding dimensional stability.
What Is Glulam?
The other product used to make mass timber panels is glued laminated timber (glulam). It is made up of individual wood laminations bonded together by durable, moisture-resistant adhesive. Glulam panels are also extremely strong and stiff and are often used for applications such as columns and beams.
The Mass Timber Experts
Mass timber has many benefits, both structural and aesthetic. Its organic look is appealing, and its strength and resiliency make it a smart option for buildings that last.
Though concrete and steel were once the preferred materials for tall-wood buildings, mass timber can now be added to the list. Whether it’s used alone or in conjunction with other materials, mass timber has become a popular choice for cutting-edge buildings around the world.
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