All About Glulam beam sizes and span calculator


All About Glulam beam sizes and span calculator

Glulam beams, also known as glued laminated timber, have gained popularity in recent years due to their versatility, strength, and sustainable nature. They are commonly used in residential and commercial construction, providing structural support and aesthetic appeal. However, with the wide range of available sizes and varying span capabilities, choosing the right glulam beam can be a daunting task. That’s where a glulam beam size and span calculator comes into play, providing builders and designers with the necessary information to select the most suitable glulam beam for their project. In this article, we will dive into the world of glulam beam sizes and span calculators, exploring their importance and how they can aid in the construction process.

Glulam beam sizes and span calculator

Glulam beam sizes and span calculator

Glulam beam, also known as glued laminated timber, is a type of engineered wood product that is commonly used in construction. It is made by laminating several layers of lumber together with a strong adhesive, resulting in a highly versatile, durable, and strong material. Glulam beams are used for a variety of applications, including roof and floor systems, bridge construction, and other structural elements.

One important aspect of designing a glulam beam is determining the appropriate size and span for the specific project. This involves calculating the bending stress, shear stress, and deflection of the beam based on the applied loads and support conditions. To make this process easier and more efficient, a glulam beam span calculator can be used.

A glulam beam span calculator is a tool that helps engineers and architects determine the maximum span for glulam beams based on the loading and support conditions. It takes into consideration various factors such as the material properties, load type and magnitude, and beam geometry to provide accurate results. This tool can also be used to determine the required beam size for a given span.

When using a glulam beam span calculator, the first step is to input the required information such as the type of load (uniform or point load), beam span, and beam support conditions (fixed or simple). The calculator will then generate the maximum bending stress, maximum shear stress, and deflection of the beam. These results can be compared to the allowable stress and deflection limits to determine if the selected beam size and span are suitable for the project.

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The structural design of glulam beams also follows specific guidelines and standards set by organizations such as the American Institute of Timber Construction (AITC) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). These guidelines provide tables and charts for various glulam beam sizes and spans based on different loading conditions. However, using a glulam beam span calculator can provide more accurate and efficient results.

In addition to determining the appropriate size and span, engineers also have to consider the aesthetic and architectural aspects of glulam beams. Due to their versatility, glulam beams can be manufactured in various shapes, sizes, and appearances to meet the design requirements of a project. This allows for more creative and unique designs, making glulam beams a popular choice in modern construction.

In conclusion, glulam beams are a highly versatile and durable material used in construction projects. Determining the appropriate size and span of the beams is crucial for safe and efficient structural design. A glulam beam span calculator can be a useful tool in this process as it provides accurate results and saves time and effort. With its unique combination of strength, beauty, and flexibility, glulam beams will continue to be a popular choice in the construction industry.

What is Glulam Beam

What is Glulam Beam

Glulam, short for glued laminated timber, is a type of engineered wood product that is commonly used in the construction industry. It is made by laminating strips of wood together with adhesives to form a strong and durable beam. Glulam beams are often used in place of traditional solid wood beams due to their superior strength, stability, and versatility.

The process of creating glulam beams begins with selecting high-quality lumber, usually from fast-growing softwood trees such as pine, spruce, or fir. The lumber is cut into thin strips, also known as laminates, which are then kiln-dried to reduce the moisture content and prevent warping and shrinkage. The laminates are then bonded together with strong adhesives and pressed under high pressure to form a solid, durable beam.

One of the main advantages of glulam beams is their strength. Due to the manufacturing process, the wood grains of each laminate are oriented in the same direction, creating a beam that is not only strong but also resistant to bending and twisting forces. This makes glulam beams ideal for long-span applications, where traditional solid wood beams would be too weak.

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Glulam beams also offer a high level of stability and dimensional accuracy. The uniformity of the laminates and the precision of the manufacturing process make glulam beams less susceptible to shrinkage, warping, and splitting, compared to traditional solid wood beams. This makes them a popular choice for high-load bearing structures such as bridges, roof structures, and floor systems.

In addition to their strength and stability, glulam beams are also known for their versatility in design. They can be easily cut and shaped to meet specific design requirements, including curved beams, tapered beams, and complex geometric shapes. Moreover, they can also be coated with sealants or fire retardant chemicals to improve their resistance to weather and fire.

Environmental sustainability is also a major factor in the popularity of glulam beams. They are made from fast-growing timber that is usually harvested from sustainable forests, making them a renewable and environmentally friendly choice. Additionally, the manufacturing process produces minimal waste, and any leftover material can be recycled or repurposed.

In conclusion, glulam beams are a highly versatile, strong, and sustainable choice for structural applications in the construction industry. Their superior strength, stability, and design flexibility make them a popular alternative to traditional solid wood beams, and they are taking the construction world by storm. As a civil engineer, understanding the benefits and capabilities of glulam beams can help in selecting the right structural elements for different projects.

Glulam beam sizes

Glulam beam sizes

Glulam, or glued laminated timber, is a popular choice for structural beams in civil engineering due to its strength, durability, and versatility. It is made by bonding several layers of solid wood together with high-strength adhesive, resulting in a strong and stable beam that can span long distances.

The sizing of glulam beams is an important aspect to consider in civil engineering projects. The size of a glulam beam is determined by the anticipated load it will carry, the allowable span and deflection, and the species and grade of wood used. The American Institute of Timber Construction (AITC) has established standard sizes for glulam beams based on these factors.

The AITC standard sizes range from 3 1/8 inches to 10 3/4 inches in width and from 6 inches to 54 inches in depth. The length of the beam can vary depending on the manufacturer, but typical lengths range from 20 feet to 66 feet, with longer beams available through special order.

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The actual size of the beam needed will depend on the specific project requirements and conditions. For example, a glulam beam used for roof framing may have different size requirements than one used for floor framing. Additionally, different species and grades of wood have varying strength and stiffness properties, which can affect the size needed for a particular application.

In order to determine the appropriate size of a glulam beam, a structural analysis and calculation should be done by a qualified engineer. This analysis will consider the load and span requirements, as well as the location and type of support for the beam. Once the required load and deflection criteria are determined, the appropriate size and type of glulam beam can be selected.

It is important to note that unlike dimensional lumber, which is graded based on its size, glulam beams are graded based on their strength and stiffness properties. Therefore, a larger glulam beam may not necessarily be stronger or stiffer than a smaller one, as it will depend on the species and grade of wood used.

In addition to standard sizes, glulam beams are also available in custom sizes to meet specific project needs. These can be manufactured to have curved or tapered shapes, or to accommodate openings for utilities or other structural elements.

In conclusion, the sizing of glulam beams in civil engineering projects is a complex process that takes into account various factors such as load, span, and wood properties. By following AITC standard sizes and guidelines, along with proper structural analysis and calculation, engineers can select the most appropriate and efficient glulam beam sizes for their projects.


In conclusion, understanding glulam beam sizes and utilizing a span calculator is crucial for any construction project that involves glulam beams. These tools provide valuable information that helps ensure structural stability and efficiency. By following the appropriate guidelines and consulting with a professional engineer, builders can confidently use glulam beams in various applications without compromising safety. As technology and innovation continue to advance, so will the accuracy and convenience of these resources, making glulam beams a reliable and sustainable choice for construction projects of any size.


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