Mass timber—specifically cross-laminated timber (CLT)—continues to spread across the nation as an alternative to traditional concrete and steel construction. CLT panels are described as large-scale, predesigned, and highly engineered for precise tolerances.
Since the introduction of plywood and glued-laminated timber (glulam) beams more than a century ago, engineered wood has continuously progressed to provide greater strength, versatility, consistency, and many other attributes. Today, the engineered wood category encompasses oriented strand board (OSB), strand and fiber siding, laminated strand lumber (LSL) I-joists, laminated veneer lumber (LVL), and mass timber products. These building materials allow longer clear spans, greater energy efficiency, and faster, more economical construction. In commercial construction, four- and five-story wood office buildings are common, with the tallest wood buildings now reaching 20 stories.
The landscape of light commercial architecture is changing. Following its economic recovery, this particular market is back on pace to exceed $4 trillion in construction activity in the coming years—more than 37 percent higher than the multi-family segment.
Modern-day technologies and product delivery methods have created a bold new opportunity for wood products, which in turn has given rise to a new category of structural framing systems using mass timber.
Engineered wood products are specified for a wide range of light-frame floor assemblies in light commercial and multi-family construction. I-joists, glued-laminated timber (glulam), rim board, laminated veneer lumber (LVL), laminated strand lumber (LSL), and oriented strand lumber (OSL) are popular due to their availability, precision, strength, and consistent quality.