Cross laminated timber was first used in Europe as an alternative to stone, masonry and concrete construction. It has proven to be an innovative building material that eases the process of construction of various types of houses. Since it is flexible, it can be used on surfaces such as walls, floors and roofs.
However, there are numerous myths and misconceptions related to the use of cross laminated timber and here are some of the most common.
CLT is not in the Building Code
This is absolutely wrong since CLT panels are strong and are extremely affordable to be used for the construction of residential, commercial and institutional buildings along with large industrial centers and complies with the International Building Code. It is going to be a part of the International Building Code in 2015.
CLT being a wood product, catches fire easily
Wrong. Timber is not susceptible towards catching fire easily and resembles more like concrete. Mass timber cannot be lit easily and if at all it catches fire, it tries to put off the fire itself. In fact, research projects have revealed that CLT panels are highly heat resistant and are able to maintain structural rigidity for considerably longer periods of time even if they are exposed to fire.
The installation of CLT requires as specialized crew
CLT is nothing but a type of glue laminated timber i.e. glulam. Therefore, the CLT panels like pre cast concrete or SIP panels are easy to handle and install during construction and have a high level of prefabrication and support quick completion of the project.
CLT is not environmentally friendly
It is a general belief that manufacturing process of CLT is harmful for the environment since it requires too many trees to be cut down. However, this is not at all true since the lumber required for the making of CLT is obtained from sustainably cultivated forests and largely from Mountain Pine Beetle kill trees which if left unused decay and give out carbon dioxide back to the atmosphere.
CLT is very costly
Although the price of CLT is comparable with other building materials it is absolutely worth it due to the various advantages it offers. These benefits include lower installation expenses, earlier project completion, light weight building structure and work site safety.
Apart from the above mentioned myths and advantages of cross laminated timber, it should also be noted that the use of CLT enables a multipurpose, low carbon and cost effective wood based solution for our building problems and this is very important since wood is the only product that can be grown sustainably and is renewable too.