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What Is A CLT?

Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) is one of the most exciting new structural systems using wood materials. CLT panels can be described as a ‘wood sandwich’ composed of layers of 1x or 2x material at 90 degree orientations. Panel thickness can vary from 5 to 20 inches thick with panel sizes of up to 10 feet wide by 50 feet long.

Cross-Laminated Timber

Nov. 11, 2013 – CLTs can be used for residential construction, but are also used for commercial and light industrial construction. This building system originated in Europe and has spread to Canada and is beginning to become accepted in the United States. Recently, an issue of Wood Design Focus, a timber engineering journal published by the Forest Products Society, featured an issue on CLTs. Currently, the largest residential wood structure in the world is a CLT building called the Stadthaus in London. However, a 10 story CLT residential building in Australia, called Forte, is currently in the final stages of construction. While the use of CLTs may at first seem wasteful, it is important to realize that this product is capable of replacing conventional steel and concrete construction, which requires even more materials and energy to create. The use of wood creates a carbon negative structural system, where carbon is stored instead of created in the manufacture of these buildings. CLT panels share many similarities with precast concrete panels – but can be connected like wooden structures. Other advantages of CLTs include fewer joints resulting in less air infiltration, and an increase in the speed of construction with few workers needed.


Myers Memorial United Methodist Church Myers Memorial United Methodist Church in Gastonia

Currently, several residential and some commercial CLT projects have been completed in the United States. One project of note is the bell tower of the Myers Memorial United Methodist Church in Gastonia, Virginia. The project was completed by MDS 10 Architects and the 70 foot tower was completed in 3 days. Medlock and Associates, the engineering firm for the bell tower, received the 2011 National WoodWorks Wood Engineering Award.



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