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Comparing Glulam and Solid Wood

July 10, 2014

Incorporating wood into your structure adds a rustic aesthetic that cannot be achieved by aluminum. Wood can provide a warm and comforting feel to a room, making it a more enjoyable place for the users.

Solid wood means the beam is sourced from a single tree, therefore it retains its natural grain. If the tree had a knot or other unique “imperfection,” so does the beam; some users enjoy the beauty and individuality this brings to their structure. Users also like solid wood, because they are comforted in knowing their structure was built from one strong, sturdy beam of wood.

On the other hand, some users prefer to use glulam (glued laminated timber) in their structure. Glulam is an engineered wood product comprised of several layers of wood bonded together by a durable, moisture-resistant adhesive, making it a more lightweight material. Its lamination allows it to offer increased strength.

Glulam is cheaper than solid wood, because the individual pieces that form the beams can be sourced from several younger trees rather than one big tree. This means glulam can be as large and long as a structure requires. It can also be manufactured in curved shapes, which is expensive to create with solid wood. Benefits aside, some users do not find glulam to be as beautiful as solid wood, because it does not include wood’s natural flaws.

Solar Innovations, Inc. offers both solid wood and glulam options for the interior of our structures. Wooden structures typically tend to have higher thermal efficiency because the wood allows the room to maintain an even temperature and not release as much heat and cold throughout the year. The wood interior is protected from the outside elements by its aluminum framing.

Structures 12′ or less typically use solid wood, and glulam is recommended for any structure spanning over 12′. Furthermore, we advise using solid wood for any structure that is going to be stained and glulam for painted structures. Wooden interiors are ideal for sunrooms, conservatories, or skylights, but we do not advise their application in structures with high moisture, such as greenhouses and pool enclosures.

For more information on Solar’s solid wood and glulam offerings, please call 800-618-0669.