What Is Microllam?


Quick Answer

Microllam is a brand of laminated veneer lumber, commonly called LVL, a type of engineered wood product. Weyerhaeuser manufactures Microllam, and this brand of LVL competes with VERSA-LAM from Boise-Cascade, GP Lam from Georgia Pacific and LVL products from other manufacturers. Like other types of LVL, Microllam finds use as floor joists, roof rafters, structural beams and in other applications that require long spans of strong lumber.

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Full Answer

Like other types of LVL, Microllam is made of numerous thin sheets of wood, called veneers, bound together with an extremely strong adhesive. LVL is similar to plywood, but uses much thinner lamination layers. Using thinner layers makes LVL stronger than regular plywood, as it incorporates more of the stronger adhesive relative to wood.

Many contractors prefer Microllam and other LVL timbers because these materials are not only stronger than natural wood, but they also have more predictable weight capacities and span lengths due to their manufactured nature. The large amount of adhesive in LVL also makes this material more resistant to the elements than regular wood. While natural wood can warp, twist and weaken when damp, LVL resists moderate moisture levels.

A very common use for Microllam and other LVL products is in building I-joists. I-joists are wooden beams that sandwich a large LVL board between two pieces of engineered or natural lumber. The joists take their name from the fact that completed joists resemble the letter "I." Because I-joists distribute weight equally between their three parts, they are considerably stronger and more durable than regular joists.

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