Do LVL Beam Span Tables Take Into Account Various Snow Loads?

A beam span table for laminated veneer lumber accounts for snow loads if the region to which it applies is affected by snow. Span tables vary by region, complying with local building codes that require high snow load capabilities in areas such as New England, the upper mid-west and the mountains.

Laminated veneer timber and other engineered wood products are proprietary, and a beam's strength differs by maker and product line. The span tables reflect values for a particular manufacturer and item. Some manufacturers display maximum loads by the beam length, rather than the span supported by that length. In those cases, it is important to identify the actual span needed.

Snow is considered part of the live load for beams supporting a roof. Dead load is the weight of structural elements supported by a beam, and total load is the combination of live and dead loads. Amounts display as pounds per square foot. The maximum snow loads range from zero to 65 pounds per square foot, depending on building codes.

Determining the dimensions for laminated veneer timber products begins with identifying the span per linear foot the beam must support based on its position and angle. Preparation also includes figuring the dead loads and finding the maximum snow loads defined by the building codes. After acquiring the span table from the appropriate manufacturer, the final step involves plugging the numbers into the span table to decide the required thickness and depth of the timber.