Green Building Community

Making the leap to LVLs

NobleHome MA, United States 0 Ratings 2 Discussions 0 Group posts

Posted by: NobleHome // Affordable, passive solar, easy to build kit houses

We have always been proud that we use solid lumber in our home kits. This isn't always easy in modern construction. Solid wood tends to bend, crack, or warp and it can contains knots where you don't want them. From an engineering point-of-view, solid wood has drawbacks as well due to its unpredictability, so over sizing structural members is common. From time to time, here at Noble Home, we look for substitutions that perform better or more reliably than solid wood. Early in our kit design, we went from a wood jointed post-and-beam type connection for the trusses to using a more modern, much stronger steel connector design - ultimately being just elegant.

Again, we are opting to improve our top plate design from a 2x8 piece of lumber to an LVL. LVLs are stronger, straighter and can be made longer than solid lumber. This change will do several things: it will ensure a straighter and stiffer wall during the assembly and on our gable end walls, and will save a few pieces of 2x8 fillers in the collar tie assembly which, consequently, leaves us with a cavity to fill with insulation! One less thermal bridge in the end product. You HERS raters out there will be pleased to hear that!

A few questions for our Rate It Green community: Are you still solely using solid wood or have you made the leap to LVLs too? What has your experience been? Do you think the advantages of LVLs outweigh the disadvantages?

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