Laminated veneer lumber holds a significant spot when considering building material. It is energy-efficient and offers several beneficial properties, making it an ideal replacement for steel and hardwood. This article explains the manufacturing process and advantages of LVL.
What is Laminated Veneer Lumber?
Laminated Veneer Lumber, commonly known as LVL, is a processed wood product. It is thin layers of wood stacked on one another using an adhesive. It belongs to the family of structural composite lumber (SCL), parallel strand lumber (PSL), and laminated strand lumber (LSL).
The layers of wood used in LVL are dry and graded and can be in the shape of flakes or strands. The adhesive that combines the layers is moisture resistant. The process of sticking together layers involves high-temperature heat and pressure. The final made blocks of wood are called billets.
What is LVL used for?
LVL has numerous uses in the construction industry. It shares the same uses as the shuttering plywood and Formwork plywood, such as the beams to planks, trusses, rafters, etc. Moreover, it can also make wall and floor panels when used in double thickness. It holds the capacity to bear heavyweight and extreme pressure, making it an ideal pick for building construction.
How is Laminated Veneer Lumber Made?
Laminated Veneer Lumber comes into existence after wood goes through multiple steps and processes. Let us find out below!
The first thing is to choose the right wood type for LVL and harvest it from the forest. Then, the separation of wood from bark takes place for each log. This process is called Debarking. It prepares the wood for the next steps.
For debarking, factories use hydraulic motor power machines. This machinery treats wood with sharp blades. After moving through the tools, the final product is finely tuned logs.
The debarked wood is then treated to steaming. The purpose of steaming is to correct the color tone, making it darker than before for the sake of looks. Before diving into the process, you should know that heartwood is the innermost area while sapwood is the area bordering heartwood.
Steaming takes place in a large vacuum tube and cylinder. The logs are sprayed with chemical steam inside the cylinder. The time it takes depends on the thickness of the sapwood. On average, it takes 48 hours.
The third step in LVL production is peeling the logs into thin sheets. Factories apply the rotary technique, where the wood log rotates while being peeled by sharp blades. The thickness of veneer sheets directly depends on the size of the edge. Another factor that influences the thickness is the angle of wood to the blade. The most commonly used veneer thicknesses are 2.5mm, 3.2mm, and 4.8mm.
After steaming and peeling, the next step is to dry the veneer sheets. Drying is mandatory; otherwise, the next treatment can become messy. Hot air is sprayed on the wood with high pressure from nozzle figures. The thinness of sheets increases after drying.
5- Trimming and Sanding
Then, trimming is done. Veneer sheets are given the right size and shape for the finest laminated lumber for this step. After trimming, sandpaper is applied to the veneer to give the smoothness and flatness of the sheets.
6- Adhesive Application
The next thing is to layer the veneer sheets. It is done by using adhesive. The adhesive should be high quality and should possess water-resistant and pressure-resistant properties. A large part of the overall strength of laminated veneer lumber depends on the adhesive.
The layering is vertical, with as many sheets as the required thickness. Moreover, huge machinery with adhesive nozzle sprays installed with little distance gets this job done.
7- Sanding and Packing
Another round of sanding takes place after the application of glue. In this process, medium to large, low grain sanding paper is applied around the veneer stacks. After sanding, the piles are cut into shapes such as wider veneer lumber, longer strips, etc. Then, the final product is loaded on trucks and distributed to buyers.
Laminated Veneer Lumber Advantages
The shape, durability, strength, appearance, and dimensions of laminated veneer lumber are what stand this product apart. LVL is available in different sizes and shapes. Its manufacturing process does not let the log size influence the LVL size. It is one of the strongest wood products, capable of enduring extreme environmental conditions.
Moreover, it has beneficial mechanical features because its manufacturing process leaves no dangerous chemicals active in the product. These advantages make LVL the best material for building projects across different industries. Let us discuss them all in detail below!
1- High Surface Quality
As mentioned in the manufacturing process above, veneer sheets are sanded twice. Moreover, it is peeled from the log. As a result, the final sheets of veneer are as smooth as they could be. Unlike other wood products, LVL offers easy handle texture. Sliding your fingers on it would do no hurt to you.
2- Thermal Performance
LVL has the same good thermal properties as film faced plywood. The strong glue used as an adhesive, and the fact that multiple layers of veneer are piled up, ensure the good thermal properties of LVL. Yes, using this product as wall panels or roof panels will keep your space warmer.
Laminated veneer lumber contains credible water, pressure, wind-resistant properties. Moreover, it does not rot with time. As a result, it will keep the walls of your building unaffected by the weather conditions.
The best feature of LVL is its versatility. It is one of the most versatile wood products. Like MDO plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), and lumber, it too has many vital uses. The making of the header, truck bed decking, ships, beam, skateboards, homes, offices, roadway signpost, rim boards, furniture, and many other items involve laminated veneer lumber.
Conclusion: Laminated Veneer Lumber
A suitable wood from a forest goes through harvesting, debarking, steaming, peeling, drying, sanding, grading, and packing for distribution. This whole process of manufacturing makes laminated veneer lumber the best choice for building material.
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