Use of cross-laminated timber on the rise

Mention panelized building and most dealers will imagine either structural insulated panels or wall sections pre-framed with conventional lumber and sheathing. But another option just appeared on the horizon: Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT). The product has earned U.S. code approval, and supporters believe that it holds great promise for certain types of commercial and residential structures.

John “Buddy” Showalter, vice president of technology transfer at the American Wood Council, describes CLT as “plywood on steroids.” It’s a solid wood structural panel made from dried dimensional lumber stacked together at right angles in three to seven layers, then bonded under pressure with a thermosetting adhesive. Thicknesses range from 4 to more than 12 inches. Lengths can exceed 40 feet. It’s used to create walls, floors, and roofs, with panels custom-cut for each project. The panels’ hefty weight (from 3,000 to 12,000 pounds each) means that they have to be set with a crane.