Why Cross Laminated Timber (CLT)?
Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) is the engineered wood of the future and is making the construction of entire buildings from timber a reality. CLT has grown immensely in popularity in recent times, in stark contrast to when originally developed in Switzerland in the 1970′s, CLT is an elaborate extension of the technology that began with the production of plywood. Timber is one of the world’s top performing materials. Not only has it been used and tested for centuries but its proven durability, sturdiness and strength has seen it remain as one of the most widely used materials to this day.
CLT is made though a multi-layer construction system which is made completely of solid wood. The result of bonding the transverse layers together ensures that the risk of swelling, shrinking and warping of the wood is reduced to a negligible level. The use of CLT in construction comfortably fulfils superior standards and requirements of modern building material.
CLT is formed as a large single block. It is made as a single piece of wood with less than 0.6% of its makeup being environmentally friendly and sustainable glue. Its solid finish allows it to act as structural beams, carry high loads, embody heat and sound insulating properties all while enabling rapid construction without the aid of water. The fabrication of the cross laminated timber allows for the regulation of the air inside the building which creates and comfortable climate of balance in both the winter and summer.
The result of this advancement in engineered wood is a vast and impressive range of benefits uses both where they were once only applicable to other materials like concrete and steel but also superior to these other materials.
CLT is both aesthetically pleasing and provides advanced acoustic properties. Often used in theatres and cinemas, timber and more plywood contain properties that absorb sound and reduce echoing. A classic example of the capabilities of timber is the Sydney Opera House. The multi-venue arts centre in New South Wales’ interior is lined with Brush Box acoustic panels with the ceiling containing White Birch plywood panels in conjunction with a plasterboard substrate.
CLT offers a multitude of benefits in regards to the performance of the environment. Sustainably managed forests allow for carbon neutrality and acts as a repository of carbon by converting CO2 into biomass through the process of photosynthesis. In comparison to concrete and steel, CLT and wood in general out performs in both matters. Wood and wood products such as CLT produce less greenhouse gasses, require smaller amounts of water, energy and fossil fuels than both concrete and steel.
Cross Laminated Timber can be used for an array of purposes; used for interior walls, exterior walls, interior roofing as well as external roofs and flooring structures. CLT can be made to lengths and sizes that have for long been uncommon and unattainable. The biggest limit on CLT is the ability to transport those large slabs as oppose to manufacturing resistance. Computerised machines assist with the openings for windows and for doors this guarantees precision of the final product resulting in minimal wastage along with minimising labour hours. It improves safety with less demand and complications for skilled workers on site, it generates less waste than alternatives and there is less disruption to surrounding. It allows for more progress to occur in less time.
Explore the rest of the ‘Why CLT’ categories to learn more about why CLT is great building material option.