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Engineered wood products


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By Mark in Seattle, WA on 10/25/2006


I'm using engineered wood, in part because of the green factor.  I bought 12' I-joists for an 11'6" span.  So, I had a lot of 6" scraps from my 9.5" deep joists.  I also had some little scraps from a GluLam, from an LVL, and from the OSB subfloor.  Once I was done framing the walls, I also had some 2x lumber scraps.  I was kind of proud at how little scrap I had.

I took the scraps to the campfire area and was amazed at the difference in how they burned.  The engineered stuff, expecially the I-joists, burnt like cardboard soaked in diesel.  Flames would jump up 5-6' from a 6" scrap.  The OSB web in the I-joist would get hot, the knockout holes would pop out, then it would quickly burn.  It would finish burning before the kiln-dried 2x6 scrap next to it had really caught on fire. 

I still like the engineered stuff, but the importance of smoke detectors, fire blocks, escape routes, etc. has just increased in my plans. 

Moderate Mark


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 10/30/2006


The resins used in the manufacturing of engineered wood certaining burn hotter than "regular" wood, however in the condition of a inside a wall or ceiling, engineered products tend to have a higher flash point.

Glulams will survive a fire and still be structural long after steel beams would have failed.

regardless of the construction materials smpke detectors are always added insurnace. Sprinkler systems are very good to have too, only add about $1.25/square foot of cost.

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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 11/26/2006


Your comments got me curious about what is in engineered wood products.

The resins they use to bond everything together make up 5-9 percent of the content, depending on whether it is laminated (glulams or microlams) or strand type products. What I found is that the material while fairly stable  and outgassed by the time it gets to the job site burning starts a new chemical release. And this is what you are exposing yourself to....Phenol Formaldehyde, Polymeric Diphenylmethane Diisocyanate and Paraffin wax.

So maybe its not a good idea to throw the stuff in the campfire, but it is okay to throw in the fireplace if adequate precautions are taken to prevent exposure to the  fumes and smoke.

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By Bill in Seattle, WA on 12/26/2006


Right Dale, formaldehyde is what first came to my mind. Engineered wood is not green at all, IMHO. Now, steel is green. And is usually mostly recycled.
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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 12/26/2006


Bill we could argue the "green" angle of engineered wood products. And we would both be right. The USGBC considers it so, for now, because it reduces the demands on old growth forests and uses much of the waste commonly associated with timber harvesting.

Most steel available for construction is recycled and recyclable.

Nice part about steel framing besides nice straight walls, lighter than wood studs and doesn't shrink, is that when the wall needs to be modified you still have re-usable material, not kindling.

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By Bill in Seattle, WA on 12/27/2006


True enough that engineered wood uses smaller branches, etc, which may otherwise be discarded in wood production. But I don't think 'reducing the waste in old-growth forests' is valid, as steel does that as well. IMHO trees are for growing, and not for building. Furthermore, formaldehyde, etc, absolutely does not belong in homes, most especially when there's a benign substitute that's even more sustainable (steel). Although habit and practice mean it's hardly used in homes.
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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 12/27/2006


I'm going to disagree with you about trees. Wood, not lumber, can be a very beautiful addition to a home and can be used as such. I agree there are many ways to build in this century that are far better than wood framing. Engineered wood is an improvement, but not usually the best solution.

Most people here on the forum are just trying to maximize the bang for their buck which too often results in short-term economics rather than longer term value.

Consider that the average home owner lives only 6.8 years in a house, it doesn't make sense to them to buy quality instead of quantity because their only profit is from inflated housing prices and inflation driven  "equity".

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By Trevor in Bonaire, GA on 1/25/2007


Hi all, I am looking at wood replacements for exterior doors and windows. Any experiences with Royal Wood and how great are the differences with wood and their products... price durability, workability???

Trevor


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 1/25/2007


Welcome to our forum.

Not familiar with Royal Wood, except for the engineered trim. Have a link or other info you could share?

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By Trevor in Bonaire, GA on 1/25/2007


Here is the URL for Royal Wood:

royal-wood.com


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