About Heavy Timber

Last Updated October 27th, 2020

Heavy timber is a construction method that uses large wooden beams to form the framework of a building. The wood beams typically have dimensions of 5”x5” nominal and larger, which for sawn lumber translates to 4.5”x4.5”. Products typically associated with “heavy timber” construction include lumber, glulam, structural composite lumber (SCL), cross-laminated timber (CLT), nail laminated timber (NLT), and a number of other mass timber products. Typical applications in construction include columns, beams, and trusses.

Heavy timber is also a fire rated classification, known as Class IV. The fire resistance of heavy timber construction is based on the size of the larger timber elements - as the wood starts to burn a char layer is formed, which insulates the structural member and slows the combustion process.

Options for Reuse:

Heavy timber is an excellet candidate for reuse, either in its original dimension, or often cut down to smaller dimensions to use as hardwood flooring or a veneer for composite flooring. Recycling and Waste to Energy are also options for heavy timbers.

Measurement Units:

Board feet, Linear feet

Outside Resources:

Timber Framers Guild

American Wood Council - Heavy Timber Construction (PDF)




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