How to Install a Lam Beam

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Glue laminated wood beams (or simply lam beams) consist of multiple layers of wood, pressed and glued together to form very strong, long solid wood sections that are stronger than solid wood of the same dimensions. Because of the combination of many smaller pieces, opposing grain lines mean that the structural integrity of the beam is very strong. Available in a number of different sizes, their ease of use and ability to be shaped, as well as their aesthetics, make them a very attractive option for the professional construction worker or do-it-yourself home builder.

Things You'll Need

  • Glue laminated beam
  • 2-inch by 6-inch planks
  • Heavy wood screws
  • Saw
  • Steel ties
  • Determine the site in which you wish to install the lam beam. Reference the building code for your particular area. Every building code will supply specific information regarding maximum spans, support frequency, as well as maximum weight-bearing loads that will be applied over them. If the building code is not followed, your structure will not be able to be approved and will need to be torn down.

  • Mark and measure the two end points where you plan to install the lam beam. For example, if you wish to install this beam over the opening to a garage, you will need to measure and have your beam cut to the length between the two columns you will be mounting it to.

  • Cut four 2-inch by 6-inch planks to the height you wish to support the beam. These will be used as trimmer studs -- two on either side of the span where the beam meets the king studs of the columns you will butt the ends of the lam beam against.

  • Mount the 2 trimmer studs on either side of the span to the king studs or columns by screwing the first into the king stud, then the second into the first trimmer stud. Do this on the other side of the span as well.

  • Hoist the lam beam onto the trimmer studs and secure in place using steel ties that will bolt into the lam beam as well as the trimmer and king studs. Steel ties are simply flat metal plates with pre-drilled bolt holes that help to fasten two pieces together.

  • Build above the lam beam using it as a support for upper floors or just a ceiling.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the span you wish to install requires supports between the ends, install these at the time when hoisting the beam into place.
  • Glue laminated beams can be very heavy. Ensure that you follow the building code to avoid collapse due to improper support.

References

  • Photo Credit Dick Luria/Photodisc/Getty Images
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