Mass timber is starting to get the attention it deserves in the United States. Over the past few years, Canada and parts of Europe have been embracing this growing construction trend, and now the United States is taking its turn and better understanding the benefits of constructing tall wood buildings.
But you may be asking yourself, what exactly is mass timber? Mass timber is a framing style that uses large solid wood panels, typically panelized and engineered, for wall, floor, and roof construction. It uses cross-laminated timber panels (CLT panels), which consist of layers of lumber that are orientated to one another and then glued together to form structural panels. These CLT panels provide exceptional strength, dimensional stability, and rigidity, as well as a more organic look when compared to other building materials. In addition to CLT panels, another material used in mass timber construction is nail-lamented timber (NLT). NLT is made by layers fastened together with nails or screws, and it is commonly used in floors and roofs.
So, how does mass timber compare to more traditional building materials like steel and concrete?
- For starters, if your timber is sourced responsibly, the timber itself provides a sustainable and renewable building material, and you cut down on the carbon emissions created through the production of steel and concrete.
- Construction time on mass timber buildings is often shorter than when using other materials, causing less impact on job sites.
- If you live in, or plan to build in, an area that frequently experiences seismic events, mass timber would be a safe build option, due to its strength-to-weight ratio.
- And, because of timber’s natural tendency to char, mass timber construction is able to hold its structural integrity when it comes in contact with fire.
If you still aren’t convinced that mass timber can be a viable building material, no need to worry. Mass timber can also be used in combination with traditional construction materials such as steel or concrete.
Hopefully you now better understand the benefits of the newest construction trend happening in the United States. The demand for sustainable building practices does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon, so this is just the beginning for mass timber buildings. If you have a mass timber construction project in mind, reach out to the team at Mid-Atlantic Timberframes to discuss your options.