What You Need to Know About Cross Laminated Timber

What You Need to Know About Cross Laminated Timber
7 min read

You've probably heard of cross laminated timber lately. It's the innovative new building material that's taking the construction industry by storm. Cross laminated timber, or CLT, is made of layers of wood boards stacked in alternating directions and glued together. The result is an engineered wood panel that's dimensionally stable, wind and earthquake resistant, and has the strength of steel. CLT can be used for walls, floors, and roofs in buildings up to 10 stories high. It's sustainable, renewable, and carbon friendly.

If you care about innovative and eco-friendly building materials, CLT should be on your radar. This wonder wood has so much potential to change how we build homes and workplaces. In this article, we'll explore what exactly CLT is, how it's made, and why architects and builders worldwide are excited to design with this versatile new product. CLT is poised to transform architecture in the 21st century.

What Is Cross Laminated Timber?

Cross laminated timber (CLT) is an innovative wood product that's changing the way we build. What is this wonder material?

CLT is made of layers of wood boards stacked in alternating directions, then glued together. This makes CLT panels that are thick, strong, and dimensional stable. Unlike regular timber, CLT won't warp, twist or bow.

  • CLT design can be used for walls, floors and roofs in buildings up to 10 stories high. It's a sustainable alternative to steel and concrete.
  • The wood layers give CLT two-way strength and rigidity. Pound for pound, it's stronger than steel and provides excellent sound and thermal insulation.
  • CLT is prefabricated, so construction is fast. The lightweight panels are also easy to transport and install on site with cranes or trucks.
  • CLT is highly fire resistant due to the glue and density. It can maintain structural integrity in a fire longer than unprotected steel.
  • CLT is eco-friendly. It's made from fast-growing, sustainably harvested wood and produces fewer carbon emissions than concrete or steel.

If you're interested in an innovative, green building material, CLT checks all the boxes. This versatile and durable product is transforming architecture and pushing the boundaries of timber construction.

CLT vs Steel and Concrete

Compared to steel and concrete, CLT has some real advantages.

  • CLT can be more affordable than steel or poured concrete. The materials and construction process tend to be less expensive.
  • CLT panels are pre-made, so construction is faster. Buildings can be erected in days or weeks instead of months.
  • CLT is incredibly strong for its weight. It can withstand heavy loads and is suitable for mid-rise buildings up to 10 stories.
  • Environmentally-friendly. Wood is a sustainable resource and CLT is made from fast-growing softwoods. It’s also reusable and biodegradable. Unlike steel and concrete, CLT produces almost no pollution during manufacturing.
  • The natural wood grain provides an attractive, warm appearance that many people prefer over cold, hard materials.
  • Wood is an excellent insulator, so CLT provides better temperature and sound regulation than steel or concrete.

While CLT has limitations for certain structures, it offers so many benefits for residential and commercial use. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly building solution, CLT checks a lot of boxes. Overall, it provides a solid yet sustainable alternative to mainstream materials.

CLT Projects Around the World

CLT is gaining popularity for construction projects around the world. ###Some notable examples:

  • The Stadthaus in London, UK is a nine-story residential building made entirely of CLT. Completed in 2009, it was the first high-rise CLT building.
  • In British Columbia, the Wood Innovation and Design Center showcases CLT construction. The six-story building used over 1,700 m3 of CLT and opened in 2014.
  • Norway's 14-story Treet residential building in Bergen opened in 2015 and is currently the world's tallest CLT building. It contains 51 apartments and an underground parking garage.
  • Australia's 10-story Forte apartment building in Melbourne was completed in 2012. It was a first for CLT construction in Australia and helped demonstrate its viability for mid-rise and high-rise buildings.

The use of CLT for building projects has taken off in Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Its popularity stems from its environmental sustainability, cost effectiveness, and structural strength. As CLT becomes more widely available, building codes are evolving to permit taller CLT buildings, opening up more opportunities for this innovative and eco-friendly construction material.

CLT allows us to build sizable commercial and residential spaces with a renewable resource. These groundbreaking projects from around the globe are paving the way for the material to transform building practices. The future looks bright for this sustainable alternative that is structurally sound, cost-efficient and environmentally friendly.

The Future of CLT

The Future is Bright for CLT

The future looks promising for CLT. As the world’s population continues to grow, the demand for sustainable and eco-friendly building materials rises. CLT checks all the boxes.

  • Its modular nature allows for fast construction of high-rise buildings. The tallest CLT building is currently 18 stories high, but that record is likely to be broken soon.
  • CLT is highly durable and long-lasting. Buildings made from CLT can last well over 100 years with little maintenance required.
  • CLT is cost effective and budget-friendly. Although initial costs may be higher than conventional materials, CLT’s efficiency, sustainability and lifespan mean lower costs in the long run.
  • CLT provides good thermal insulation and sound dampening. The wood’s cellular structure helps regulate temperature and minimize sound transfer between rooms, reducing heating/cooling and noise pollution.
  • CLT is renewable and environmentally-friendly. CLT is made from fast-growing softwoods like spruce, pine, and fir. By using wood from sustainably managed forests, CLT helps reduce deforestation and promotes responsible forestry practices.
  • The wood industry and building trades are still learning how to fully utilize CLT. As knowledge and experience with this innovative material grows, new applications, building techniques and cost efficiencies will emerge.

The future of building will be sustainable, and CLT is poised to play an important role. Architects, builders and homeowners around the globe are realizing CLT’s vast potential for eco-friendly construction. The material’s strength, versatility, renewability and affordability means CLT buildings will likely become much more common in the coming decades. The future of CLT looks very bright indeed!


You now know the basics about cross laminated timber, an innovative building material that’s transforming construction. Strong, sustainable, and versatile, CLT offers an exciting new option for architects and designers. As word continues to spread about its benefits, CLT looks poised to reshape residential and commercial projects around the world. The next time you see a wooden skyscraper or cutting-edge home, it just might be made of cross laminated timber. This eco-friendly material is the building block of the future, and the future is looking pretty bright.


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jason rany 78
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