When you’re building a porch, deck, or other exterior structure, you need to know that it’s being built from strong, durable, and stable materials that are going to perform the way you expect them to. You also need to know that the material you’re building with will be easy to use (with no surprises), and that it will last the longest amount of time for your customers in order to help prevent callbacks.
There’s a lot of different types of lumber on the market for building posts and columns. Solid wood is one option and laminated wood is another. Laminated wood has a lot of benefits that make it the best choice over solid wood every time, no matter what style or type of project you’re working on.
What Is Laminated Wood?
Laminated wood is made from attaching thinner layers of wood together to form a thicker post. It’s often considered more stable and durable than a solid wood, because things like knots and weaknesses are unlikely to line up with one another.
There are two basic ways of laminating wood, mechanically using nails or brackets (mechlam) or by using a glue (glulam). Both methods of laminating wood can offer a lot of benefits in terms of better strength and stability for posts and columns, although glulam may be able to offer even more in terms of flexibility, particularly when being used as a support column.
5 Benefits of Laminated Posts
When creating an exterior for a home or residential building, it’s common to include areas such as porches, overhangs, and decks that may require the use of posts and columns for support. Choosing to use a laminated column in place of a solid one can provide you with several benefits:
1. Lighter Weight and Easier to Use
Laminated posts and columns are lighter in weight than solid wood posts of the same size and shape. This means that they’ll be easier to lift, carry, and install. You’ll be able to install them much faster and with less manpower than would be necessary for a solid wood post. This is particularly attractive when considering how many posts or columns may be included in some large-scale projects. Being able to cut down on the amount of time moving, carrying, and installing posts can go a long way toward savings on a project for both you, and the homeowner.
2. Better Strength and Durability
Laminated wood may be up to 2 times stronger than solid wood of the same shape and size. This is due to the way that the posts are an engineered construction. By laminating, you’re allowing the wood layers to strengthen one another. Knots and weak points are less likely to be a source of concern, and laminated posts are often more structurally sound. They can hold loads better, and for longer, without issues such as splitting or cracking that may occasionally arise when using solid wood posts made of pressure-treated wood.
XT Post is a laminated post from Belco Forest Products that is engineered for better strength and durability. They’re designed to bear weight and loads better than solid wood posts, and because they’re preservative-treated, rather than pressure-treated, they won’t carry the same potential problems with fastener corrosion or splitting over time.
3. Better Longevity
Laminated posts last longer than solid wood posts used in similar situations. They don’t twist, warp, or crack the way that a solid wood post might, so you’ll receive fewer callbacks, and your clients will get a better, longer lasting column.
XT posts from Belco Forest Products are also treated against insect activity and wood rot with a topical, eco-friendly preservative so that they’ll last longer than other wood columns. They’re also primed and ready for painting, so there’s no need to worry about surface color or issues such as bleed-through marring the finish.
4. Better Appearance
Pressure-treated posts and columns are not designed for appearance, and require the use of a type of sleeve or over material to help improve their looks. This is usually a type of fiberglass that won’t have the look and feel of real wood, and which can detract from the appearance of the finished job.
Many solid wood posts may also develop cosmetic cracks in their surface. While this doesn’t impact the structure of the post, it does detract from its appearance, which can result in unhappy customers.
Laminated posts are attractive, real wood posts and trim with a comb face. They look like real wood, because that’s what they are, so they’ll have greater appeal than posts that need a covering. They can be painted in any color, and they last longer without issues such as cracking or splitting, so they will retain their good looks over time.
5. Better Stability
There are many different ways to make a post, including solid sawn wood and mechanical lamination of many types. Out of all of these, glue laminated wood posts, like XT Posts, offer the most stability and bending strength. They perform equally or better under load tests than solid sawn or any type of mechanically laminated posts. This means that no matter where you’re installing them, or what type of load you need them to carry, you can trust that they’re going to do the job without slipping, warping, or cracking.
Get the Best Posts and Columns for Your Project
Glue-laminated posts and columns, like XT Posts from Belco Forest Products offer a superior material for all structural and decorative applications. Whether you’re finishing a deck or supporting a porch overhang, laminated posts will give you better performance every time. Visit Belco Forest Products to learn more, and get the best posts and columns available for your next project.