The possibilities and characteristics offered by sawn and structural or laminated wood present important differences that must be known.

Those who work in the wooden structures sector know the importance of using structural wood for the construction of porches, pergolas and, of course, for large structures such as wooden roofs or houses.

The structural wood I am referring to is glued laminated wood. This concept that sounds almost strange outside the sector is necessary to know it in depth and understand why it is important for wood construction.

Aesthetically, sawn wood is usually more attractive than laminated wood. Just look at the fences, pillars and beams of the old houses where you can see the grains and the great knots of whole trees. But we must not forget that aesthetics are sometimes in conflict with security.

Let’s see the difference between glued laminated wood and sawn wood

Glued laminated wood. Usually, it consists of wooden pieces used as pillars or beams of different dimensions. The posts and beams are made by assembling and gluing small boards in specialized factories and under controlled conditions. These pieces (planks) were previously selected with criteria that guarantee the quality of the resulting wood. That way, laminated wood is certified with certain structural conditions for construction. That is, it can follow a pattern and, therefore, a structural calculation can be done to see what loads it is capable of supporting.

Lumber. Before the existence of laminated wood, sawn wood was always used for the construction of structures, either through large pillars and beams obtained from straight tree shafts, or through board assemblies made with joints on site.

The problem with construction with this type of wood lies in the fact that if the pillar has an internal failure we cannot know, it may be rotten or present a big knot that decreases its resistance and we do not know. This implies a very high risk for construction, as we leave the possibility of structural failure to chance.

Lumber is still used for the construction of small structures such as pergolas that do not support much weight, floorboards or structures for internal lashing of decks. But its use in structures that support high loads will never be recommended. In fact, it may even be banned for not following the country’s building regulations.