LVL- The Best Possible Replacement for Traditional Dimensional Lumber
LVL stands for laminated veneer lumber, an engineered wood made out of thin shavings of wood glued together using adhesives, high temperature and high pressure. It is different from plywood. In plywood, the veneers are laid crosswise across layers but LVL does not have these cross bands, and this gives the product unique advantages for structural applications. Where plywood has high strength in the direction of the outer plies, LVL is strongest in the long direction.
It makes use of phenolic thermosetting resin for bonding the veneers and cured under high temperature, and pressure gives it exceptional qualities. It typically has high elastic modulus and bending stress, making it ideal as a replacement for traditional dimensional lumber for use as headers, beams and structural fabrication. It is strong enough to be used for door jambs, for instance. It is also ideal for lintels, beams and rafters.
It’s unique advantages over traditional lumber arise from various factors. One, the veneers are first dried and the grains oriented in the same direction before being glued together. This results in higher strength. Two, it can be made in any length and thickness, and it has uniformity that timber lacks. Timber can have cracks, soft areas and knots that detract from looks as well as strength besides making them susceptible to cracks, deformations and rot. It neither shrinks, warps nor crack.
LVL is usually manufactured in wide sheets and it is then cut into required length(s). Since thickness is uniform throughout, it reduces labour required for finishing and it also means that the sheet can be cut into any desired shape or pattern with less effort and at a lower cost while retaining strength, especially in curved portions.
Traditional lumber must first be kiln dried and treated before it can be put to structural use. Even then, one must weed out timber with knots and gaps that are its weak points. Strength may not be uniform from outside to the inner core of a log. None of these deficiencies apply to it since it is engineered and made from pre-treated wood veneers with the adhesives and high pressure-high temperature bonding process contributing to better strength and flexibility.
This means thinner LVL gives higher strength. Indirectly, this helps in conservation of environment in addition to better aesthetics in exteriors or interiors or for making a light-weight, strong and durable structure. Best of all, it costs a fraction of what high quality, graded, select hardwood lumber costs. Almost all the leading Commercial Plywood Manufacturers in India produce this engineered wood to meet the needs of their national and international clientele. Most makers have a very good dealer network across the country where their products can be bought with convenience.