by Todd Ellner
November 8, 2016 Tips

Unless you are part of an experienced homebuilding team, microlam beams aren’t that interesting. However, if you want to build a home, you may need to understand what microlam beams are and when they are used.

What are microlam beams and what is their role in home building?

Microlam beams can be used in applications all over the house. They are a type of engineered lumber used for heavy structural support.

A microlam beam can also be referred to as a lam beam or laminated veneer lumber (LVL). Its construction is similar to plywood, but the microlam beam is much stronger.

The primary benefit of microlam beams is that they can be used for carrying different types of boards, joists and headers. You can use them as larger pieces of lumber, while also saving additional space.

Without the use of microlam beams, modern-day homes would not have cost-effective open plan kitchens, two-car garages free of center support columns, or extra-wide doorways. Microlam beams don’t run the risk of warping, shrinking or bowing as time goes by, providing added safety and long-term benefits to the owners.

The manufacturing process for microlam beams: how are they structured?

The way microlam beams are manufactured represents the essence to their strength and resistance. Microlam beams are easy to install and can be built-up on site to cut down on the heavy lifting associated with beams.

How are they constructed?

Much like plywood, thin sheets of wood are glued together to create beams. After that, you are able to see the direction of the grain alternate, which in return provides strength in each direction. Given the fact that the glue is very strong, once the entire beam is assembled, it will be extremely solid and heavy, ideal for carrying loads.


What do microlam beams look like?

Although they come in a variety of sizes, microlam beams usually have a smooth face with identifiable straight layers running in parallel. Here is a photo representation of a common microlam beam:


In the video below, our colleague Todd explains how our team installs microlam beams to one of the home building projects we worked on. A steel I-beam has been set in place, along with the structural microlam beams, which will support the first floor decking and the substantial floors above.

The Gialluisi Custom Homes team calculates the exact dimensions you need to set the beam in place, while our structural engineers make sure the weight of the beams is transferred properly so that the above floors can be supported.

Estimating the exact width, identifying the right length of a certain microlam beam, or selecting what structures need to be replaced are just some of the GCH team’s important decisions that need to be made during the home building process.

Gialluisi Custom Homes uses high quality microlam beams to set the foundation of every new home. If you want to find out more about the construction materials we use, or if you want us to build a home or renovate your house, contact us at 908-206-4659 or send us an email.

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