Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Advances in Building Material

During the design and construction of houses, sometimes there is a need to carry loads over openings of considerable distance. For the most part, if that distance was sixteen feet or greater, you had to use steel. This presents a problem because then you have to introduce another subcontractor to the job and that opens the door to further problems. I always just tried to keep those spans shorter until today when I finally took the time to call my structural engineer and inquire about spanning a greater distance and where I wanted to be able to attach drywall to the spanning element.

He suggested Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) for the application and I did some checking. This product is great. It takes wood frame construction to additional realms. An LVL of dimensions of 1-3/4" x 18" will span up to 26'-0" and carry a load of 286 pounds per foot at that length. Since you rarely have the desire to build anything of the thickness of 1-3/4", the LVL is doubled to make up the typical wall thickness, and that doubles the supporting capacity to 572 pounds per foot. Typical design range is around 30 pounds per foot in my area, so you get almost twenty times the bearing capacity you need. Crazy.


Dude, I am about to design some ridiculously long span stuff from this point forward.

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