Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) is a dimensionally stable building material that has been labelled the best product of modern process technology with the aesthetic beauty of natural wood. Australian builders have been using LVL for a range of building applications for some time, including floor joists and bearers, lintels and verandah beams, as well as structural roof beams.
So, what is LVL, how can you utilise for your structure and why is it increasing in popularity in the building and construction industry?
What is LVL
Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) is made of veneers bonded together under heat and pressure. Parallel laminations of veneer are glued and processed together to form a thickness similar to sawn timber. LVL was first used to make airplane propellers and other high-strength aircraft parts during World War II. It is comparable in strength to solid timber, concrete and steel, providing a cost-effective and sustainable building material, delivering high structural reliability and strength.
LVL does not shrink any further after hot pressing and as a result, splits or fissures do not occur, whereas sawn timber and glued laminated timber are still subject to shrinkage due to non efficient drying.
Further benefits of LVL
- Small logs can be made into large dimension LVL products
- Long lengths of LVL up to 18 metres are available
- Can be optimised by grading and selecting veneer for different parts of an LVL cross section
- Uniform structural properties due to randomised layers of thin veneers pre-graded for stiffness
- LVL members have high strength because of the low variability
- LVL can be cut and machined with normal woodworking tools.
Where to use LVL
LVL can be used wherever sawn timber is used. LVL can be used in both bearing and non-bearing walls, as planks, as beams, as headers, in door and window frames, sliding door rails, steps, as well as in the roof trusses of single-family houses and engineered building constructions such as swimming halls, sport halls, etc.
One of its main advantages is that it can be manufactured to almost any length, meaning its use is restricted only by the need to transport it to site.
LVL is more durable and less prone to shrinking or warping. The properties of LVL make it suitable for public and commercial buildings, where it can be used as cross beams to support floors and ceilings, as well as beam structures to support the weight of rooflines. It can also be used in the construction of weight bearing walls.
LVL can be left natural or may be oiled, stained, painted or highly decorated like regular timber. The choice here is limited only by individual style and design preferences.
If you’d like to know more about applying LVL contact the Sunstate Timbers team today!