Paralam - Engineered Laminated Building Lumber
A paralam is a man-made engineered building material that can be used for a variety of different construction building components. The most common use for a paralam is structural beams and posts. The picture below provides you with an example of the end of a wood beam that's going to be installed in a home.
Advantages For Using Paralam's
As larger trees become harder to find, it's going to be harder to create
large beams or other structural framing components. A 50 foot long
engineered Paralam beam that's 10 inches wide and 24 inches deep can be
made out of small pieces of wood, from small trees.
In order to accomplish that same task, you would need to find a tree that was over 24 inches in diameter and 50 foot long. Like I said earlier, as larger trees become harder to find, we're going to see engineered building products become more popular.
Disadvantages For Using Paralam's
About the only disadvantage I could think of, for using a Paralam, would
be the waste or decomposition of it eventually. Since it is a man-made
product, it uses chemicals that are harmful to our environment.
According to one article I read about Paralam's and other engineered lumber, it mentioned the fact that there are few toxic chemicals used to put these engineering marvels together. Even if we accept that way of thinking, a solid wood beam doesn't release any toxic chemicals into our environment, while its decomposing.
Do I consider this a major disadvantage, absolutely not. Without engineered lumber, we could find ourselves dealing with a limited supply of lumber in the future.
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