Laminated veneer lumber

Product description

Laminated veneer lumber (LVL) is a structural material composed of multiple layers of thin wood veneer. While LVL can be used as a substitute for dimension lumber, it has much more consistent characteristics, since natural defects are either removed during processing or dispersed throughout the material to minimize their effects. LVL can also be manufactured to sizes larger than dimension lumber. It can be used on edge as a beam or header over windows and doors, or on the flat as the flange material in I-beam manufacture.

Laminated veneer lumber
LVL on edge for use as a beam
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Technical information

LVL is composed of layers of veneer, similar to plywood production but with the grain of each layer running parallel to adjacent layers rather than perpendicular. The individual veneers are usually graded so that the strength characteristics can be designed for each piece of LVL. The veneers are glued together under heat and pressure, using a waterproof adhesive.

A variety of softwood and hardwood species are suitable for the production of LVL, although Douglas-fir, larch and southern yellow pine are the wood species most commonly used in North America.

LVL is available in lengths of up to 80 feet and is generally manufactured in thicknesses of ¾ inch to 2½ inches and widths of 24 to 48 inches. These can easily be cut to length at the job site. The fastening and connection requirements of LVL are similar to those of solid lumber.

Markets

North America is the largest and fastest growing market for LVL. LVL is used in construction for floor and roof joists, beams, roof supports and headers, with the greatest use in residential construction for headers over doors and windows, and beams for long spans. It is also used for scaffold planking and for joinery for windows and doors.

Markets for LVL follow markets for new residential construction as well as those for house repair and remodelling. As with glue-laminated timber, markets for LVL tend to be regional, limiting the costs associated with shipping awkward sizes long distances.