Cross-laminated wood

Concrete has long been the go-to material for construction, shaping our cities and allowing them to reach new heights. However, a new contender is emerging that offers similar opportunities and even more. Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a wood technology that is revolutionizing architecture. With its unique properties and benefits, CLT is poised to become the concrete of the future.

What Sets CLT Wood Apart?

Unlike traditional plywood, CLT wood is made by layering wooden boards in a cross-grain orientation. This arrangement allows for the production of large panels, surfaces, and walls. CLT timber can reach impressive sizes, making it versatile in construction. The cross-orientation of the layers reduces shrinkage and elongation, enhancing static load and shape stability.

CLT panels

The Environmental Advantage

One of the standout advantages of CLT is its environmental impact. As concrete production releases one ton of CO2 per cubic meter, CLT contains “sequestered carbon” that is naturally stored in wood. Even considering energy use in extraction and production, the emissions from wood construction pale in comparison to concrete. CLT is a sustainable choice that helps reduce the carbon footprint of buildings.

Energy consumption comparison

Strength and Flexibility

CLT is often referred to as the “concrete of the future.” It offers comparable structural strength to reinforced concrete but with greater flexibility. Unlike concrete, CLT can undergo large deformations without breaking or collapsing. Moreover, CLT is significantly lighter than concrete or steel, making it easier to transport and manipulate during construction.

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CLT wall

Fire Safety and Protection

When it comes to fire safety, CLT wood has its advantages. By carefully selecting and managing the elements that make up the structure, such as fittings and joints, CLT can be made completely airtight. Additionally, wood burns slowly, allowing time for evacuation. The charring process that occurs during a fire actually helps protect the wood, providing a natural defense mechanism.

CLT fire resistance

Preserving CLT Wood

To protect CLT wood from environmental conditions such as moisture and weather, two effective options are vegetable oils for interior use and mineral paints for exterior use. These products provide long-lasting protection without compromising the natural beauty of the wood. By applying these treatments every five years, CLT can remain in excellent condition for up to 25 years.

CLT wood protection

Precision and Collaboration

Working with CLT requires meticulous precision and collaborative efforts. Unlike traditional construction methods, CLT must be fully decided and predetermined at the factory. The assemblers play a crucial role in fitting the pieces together flawlessly. With a margin of error of just 2 mm, CLT allows for incredibly precise and efficient construction.

CLT assembly

Design and Construction Recommendations

Proper planning and collaboration are essential when working with CLT wood. Designing with the entire construction process in mind is crucial, as every detail must be carefully considered and decided upon beforehand. Additionally, the quality of the wood used in CLT manufacturing directly affects the quality of the final product. Attention to detail and accuracy during installation is paramount.

CLT construction

Embracing the Future

CLT panels have already gained approval for constructing buildings of significant height, and it’s likely that our cities will witness a transformation in design and construction with the rise of CLT. As we seek sustainable and efficient building materials, CLT wood offers a promising alternative to concrete, enabling us to create environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing structures.

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Find out more about CLT wood on Caravansarai.