LVL Beams

Wigo Group is the official supplier of Ultralam™ LVL beams in the Baltic region

Properties of LVL beams

LVL (short for laminated veneer lumber) beams are a technologically enhanced structural wood-based material with high structural strength. The complex technological process results in a homogenous material with unique performance. The properties of LVL beams significantly exceed those of solid wood, glulam and high-grade timber. Its outstanding properties place laminated veneer lumber among the most advanced technological products currently used in construction.

Laminated veneer lumber possesses unique strength characteristics, for example, it’s MOE (modulus of elasticity) is 24% higher than that of solid spruce, while its MOR (bending strength) is twice as high. These physical characteristics ensure the high load-bearing capacity of LVL products at smaller cross-sections which in turn significantly reduces the total volume of required lumber.

These favourable characteristics are associated with a number of specific features of LVL production process that ensure the absence of natural wood defects in the structure of the material. Due to its laminated structure and production technology, LVL is an entirely homogenous material with unchangeable mechanical properties lengthwise and consistent performance irrespective of seasonal factors.  Meaning, it’s a material with a homogenous symmetrical structure that does not change its performance over its entire lifetime of service

Advantages of LVL beams

Unlike conventional timber materials, LVL beams are capable of maintaining precise linear dimensions in spite of seasonal factors, as well as variations in environmental and climatic conditions. Laminated veneer lumber neither warps nor buckles when exposed to humidity, neither checks nor rots, offers minimum natural shrinkage and absorbs practically no moisture. Therefore, the dead weight of an LVL beam remains unchanged in a humid environment.

The stability of laminated veneer lumber’s linear dimensions results in high accuracy of attachable parts which ensure the durability and long-lasting appeal of LVL structures, as opposed to solid wood products susceptible to swelling and buckling. In contrast to metal and reinforced concrete, LVL beams also offer higher resistance to corrosive agents, such as water vapours, ammonium, salty vapours etc. That is why it’s indispensable in the construction of aquatic parks and swimming pools, as well as agricultural and industrial structures.

LVL beams boast better fire resistance compared to ordinary beams. This is achieved thanks to the multiple layers of veneer being glued together, resulting in the decreased porosity of this material. Phenol-formaldehyde resin is neutral to oxidation and doesn’t support combustion. High density and absence of cracks prevent fire propagation and thermal effects inside the material. Test results of laminated veneer lumber demonstrate the material’s ability to maintain its properties within 30-60 minutes at 300°C. Under the specified temperature, the beam undergoes slow charring at the rate of 0.6 mm/min flatwise and 1 mm/min edgewise.

The cost of LVL beams

LVL beams can at times cost a little bit more than the average prices for other timber materials. However, laminated veneer lumber-based products maintain their dimensions for even as much as ten years, which certainly justifies the costs set by manufacturers.

As opposed to other popular construction materials, like metal and reinforced concrete, laminated veneer lumber also boasts an optimal performance/weight ratio. This factor is of special importance for low-rise construction, as with an adequate strength reserve, LVL-based structures do not require reinforced foundations and are easy to install, for example, they can be moved on the ground and lifted onto upper floors without special machinery. As a result, LVL-based buildings require much less money and time than brick and concrete structures.

Advantages of Ultralam™ laminated veneer lumber

The unique properties of Ultralam™ laminated veneer lumber allow to list it among the most advantageous materials used for construction. The potential uses of Ultralam™ LVL beams cover a wide range of construction areas, as well as possibilities for application elsewhere
  • An environmentally friendly engineered wood material with unique performance
  • Durability and long-lasting appeal of Ultralam™ - based structures
  • Unchanged performance over the entire service life
  • A homogenous material with stable mechanical properties lengthwise
  • Consistent physical properties regardless of seasonal factors, environmental variations and climatic conditions
  • High accuracy of attachable elements
  • High load-bearing capacity
  • Resistance to corrosive agents
  • An optimal performance/weight ratio
  • High resistance to fire
  • Excellent thermal and sound insulation properties
  • The material is easy to process with any cutting instruments
  • LVL beams are not subject to deformation caused by humidity variations and have low amounts of natural shrinkage
  • There are almost no service costs related to the usage of laminated veneer lumber
  • Convenient, easy and fast installation of LVL products
  • With an adequate strength reserve, reinforced foundations and bearing structures are not required
  • Price of Ultralam™ products does not depend on their length and cross-sections
  • Easy mechanical processing and preservative treatment
  • Along with its excellent mechanical properties, laminated veneer lumber fully retains the appearance of natural wood which allows using LVL-based products and structures in interior applications without additional finishing

Technical parameters of Ultralam LVL

Condition Relative to the Grain Rb Rs R X I
bending edgewise along the grain 39 27 26,5 19,5 23,5
bending flatwise along the grain 45 35,5 27,5 24 22,5
compression edgewise along the grain 30 25,5 23,5 19,5 22
compression across the grain 5 4,3 3,5 6,8 3,8
compression perpendicular to the plane of veneer sheets 5 1,9 1,7 1,9 1,7
tension edgewise along the grain 25 26,5 22,5 17,5 16,5
tension across the grain - - 0,7 - -
shear along the glue line edgewise along the grain 2,6 2,6 2,6 2,6 2,6
shear along the glue line across the grain 1,1 1,1 1,1 1,1 1,1

MOE Е, MPa. Strain along the grain

Rb Rs R X I
16 000 15 600 14 000 11 000 12 700

Service conditions for Ultralam™ based structures

Note: air humidity is allowed to differ from the tabulated value, if it persists for no longer than two weeks. The products delivered to the Customer should bear a mark of the allowable service class
Service class Moisture content of structures during the usage, % Service Conditions Service Conditions Serviceability measures
    Relative air humidity, % Air temperature, °C  
1 10±2 40-60 20±5 Chemical protection is not required
2 20±2 60-90 20±5 Structural and chemical protection is required
3 More than 22 No limits No limits Structural and chemical protection is required

PRODUCT LINE

Ultralam R  
Thickness, mm 27, 30, 33, 36, 39, 45, 51, 63, 75, 90
Width (height), mm 64, 89, 100, 120, 150, 160, 200, 220, 240, 250, 260, 300, 360, 400, 420, 450, 500, 600, 1250
Length, mm From 2 500 to 20 500 (gradation - 500 mm)
Ultralam X and IX  
Thickness, mm 27, 30, 33, 36, 39, 45, 51
Width (height), mm 64, 89, 100, 120, 150, 160, 200, 220, 240, 250, 260, 300, 360, 400, 420, 450, 500, 600, 1250
Length, mm From 2 500 to 20 500 (gradation - 500 mm)
Ultralam I  
Thickness, mm 27, 30, 33, 36, 39, 45, 51, 63, 75
Width (height), mm 64, 89, 100, 120, 150, 160, 200, 220, 240, 250, 260, 300, 360, 400, 420, 450, 500, 600, 1250
Length, mm From 2 500 to 20 500 (gradation - 500 mm)

Types of Ultralam™

Ultralam Description Application
RS / E15 All veneers are located parallel to grain, G1–G2 grades (primary G1) Load-bearing structures
R / E14 All veneers are located parallel to grain, G1–G2 grades (primary G2) Load-bearing structures
X There are some crossplies, G2–G3 grades structures Load-bearing structures
I / E13, E12 Both parallel and crossply veneers are possible, G3–G4 grades are possible, G3–G4 grades Filler structures and parts for doors and furniture manufacturing

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