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How to Size LVL Beams?

AUTHOR:Chantawood    TIME:2022-04-12     SOURCE:Chantawood.com
ABSTRACT:Laminated veneer lumber (LVL) is made by bonding layers of wood veneer together under heat and pressure using a waterproof adhesive. Having the grain of all veneers run in the same longitudinal direction results in a product that is strong w...

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Laminated veneer lumber (LVL) is made by bonding layers of wood veneer together under heat and pressure using a waterproof adhesive. Having the grain of all veneers run in the same longitudinal direction results in a product that is strong when edge-loaded as beams or face-loaded as planks. In order to create a safe structural system, LVL beams must be properly sized. However, beam spans are estimates only. Any precise beam sizing calculation must take into account the beam's accessory load area based on the beam spacing and the magnitude of the load carried. These are variables that cannot be resolved because they are project specific and require calculations specific to the building location - humidity and weathering variables - and the type of wood used. Ultimately, there are hundreds of variances in this calculation.


Measurements and preparations

step 1
Make sure your vertical support members (usually heavy wooden posts) can support the beams spanning between them. There is always a beam's own weight factor that will weigh on the column. Likewise, when designing structural systems, precise calculations such as slenderness ratio and moment of inertia are required.

Step 2
Measure between the two vertical members for which you will design the LVL beam. When measuring between structural members, remember to always measure "center". This means measuring between the centroids of each column or similar vertical member.

Step 3
Make sure your posts are evenly spaced and anchor them securely in your foundation. Make sure your columns are the exact same height, as beams spanning them can be less efficient.

Correct size beam
step 1
Measure the total span between members and make sure it's no greater than 60 feet. Due to shipping restrictions, the maximum standard length for manufactured beams is 60 feet.

Step 2
The beam width is designed based on the fact that the typical width of an LVL beam is 1 3/4 inches. Width can be increased by laminating in multiples of 1 3/4 inches. The beam width should be 1/4 to 1/3 of the beam depth.

Step 3

To design the beam depth according to the rule of thumb for estimating the depth of the fabricated beam, divide the span by 20. Beam depths are typically 5 1/2", 7 1/4", 9 1/4", 11 1/4", 11 7/8", 14", 16", 18" and 20".



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