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Explore the Advantages of Glulam Beams

Explore the Advantages of Glulam Beams

This engineered wood product brings inherent strengths to commercial and residential products alike.   

In construction—be it a commercial project or your own dream cabin—sustainability and strength are paramount. One material that stands at the intersection of these essential qualities is glulam, or glued laminated timber. Glulam beams, as an engineered wood product, are not only transforming how structures are built but also offer a host of benefits that make them an attractive choice for a wide range of construction projects. 

From residential homes to grand architectural feats, glulam is paving the way forward for more robust and eco-friendly construction. Today we’re exploring the many benefits of building with glulam, highlighting why it's becoming a preferred material among architects, builders, and environmental advocates alike.

High-Quality Wood, Direct from the Forest: Connect with our team at Northern Log to learn how we source and deliver beautiful natural wood products. 

What is Glulam?

Glulam is an engineered wood product made by bonding together individual wood laminations, or "lams," with durable, moisture-resistant adhesives. The result is a highly versatile, strong material that can be used in various applications, from beams and columns to bridges and complex structures. Unlike traditional lumber, glulam can be manufactured in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and curves, offering unparalleled flexibility in design.

Glulam is similar, but not identical to CLT—or cross-laminated timber. We’ve detailed CLT before, but the key difference between the two engineered wood products is the cross-hatching effect used in creating CLT. Glulam beams use stacked components that align all in one direction. Unlike traditional lumber, glulam can be manufactured in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and curves, offering unparalleled flexibility in design.

Glulam beams are one of the most common uses of this type of structural composite lumber, but the product can be implemented for a wide range of elements. Beyond beams, these include: 

  • Floor joists
  • Trusses
  • Supporting Arches
  • Pillars and Columns
  • Uprights
  • Lintels
  • Bridges and other complex structures

Next, we’ll detail the benefits of glulam. It should be noted these benefits apply no matter if the end result is a beam, a column, or full truss system.

The Benefits of Building with Glulam Beams

Enhanced Strength and Durability

Glulam boasts a higher strength-to-weight ratio than steel and can be engineered to meet specific load-bearing requirements. This makes it an ideal choice for structures that require both durability and the aesthetic appeal delivered by wood. Additionally, glulam's laminated structure resists shrinking, warping, and splitting, ensuring long-term stability and structural integrity.

Environmental Sustainability

One of glulam's most compelling advantages is its environmental sustainability. Wood is a renewable resource, and glulam production has a lower carbon footprint compared to traditional construction materials like steel and concrete. Moreover, wood sequesters carbon dioxide, meaning that buildings made with glulam can act as carbon sinks, contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.

The sustainability and durability of glulam have helped spur conversation about its ability to drive the concept of wooden skyscrapers closer to reality.

Aesthetic Versatility

Glulam's ability to be molded into various shapes and sizes opens up creative possibilities for architects and designers. Whether it's for the sweeping curves of a modern art museum or the intricate trusses of a traditional church, glulam can be tailored to fit the unique aesthetic and functional requirements of any project. Its natural wood appearance also adds warmth and beauty to structures, creating inviting spaces that connect occupants with nature.


While the initial cost of glulam may be higher than some traditional materials, its overall value is seen in the long-term savings it offers. Glulam's durability and low maintenance requirements mean reduced repair and replacement costs. Additionally, its lightweight nature can lead to savings on foundation costs and allow for faster construction times, further reducing labor expenses.

Energy Efficiency

Buildings constructed with glulam benefit from wood's natural insulating properties, contributing to energy efficiency and comfort. This thermal performance can reduce the need for additional insulation and decrease energy costs associated with heating and cooling, making glulam an excellent choice for environmentally conscious projects aiming for sustainability certifications like LEED.

Glulam and Heavy Trusses, a Perfect Match: Discover the many heavy trusses we can deliver and how glulam allows versatility in the design choice. 

For Glulam Beams and Much More, Turn to Northern Log 

As the construction industry continues to seek sustainable, efficient, and versatile materials, glulam stands out as a solution that doesn't compromise on strength or beauty. Its benefits extend beyond the immediate needs of a project, contributing to a healthier planet and a more sustainable future. Whether for small-scale residential projects or monumental commercial endeavors, glulam represents a smart, responsible choice for builders and designers around the world.

At Northern Log, we’ve long believed in the power, beauty, and functionality of wood when constructing buildings of all shapes and sizes. We’ve developed a comprehensive list of products—which makes use of glulam and natural wood species like Pine and Douglas fir—to help make your vision come to life. 

Harvested from the woods in our home state of Michigan, we skip the middleman and the markup when delivering you the best in natural wood products. From the heaviest and sturdiest glulam beams to stylistic weathered wood features and everything in between, our skilled craftsmen provide everything customized to best suit your needs and your tastes.

Connect with our team today to learn more about how to put glulam beams to use in your next project. 

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