The complexity and quality of contemporary exterior decks and porches demand an increasing quality of material. Long gone are the days when pressure treated lumber was the upscale option and outdoor furniture consisted of a redwood stained picnic table and an umbrella. Today we have composite and exotic wood decking, railings, even specially constructed fasteners all designed to help us enjoy outdoor living—especially in places like Cape Cod.
Until recently the only way for beams to span larger distances to support these decks, porches and balconies was to either use lots of posts or very large pressure treated beams, beams that are becoming more difficult to find. The engineered wood industry has addressed this by producing an entire product segment of high quality, high strength man made timber products. We now have a wide selection of treated Glulam beams specifically designed for exterior use. Commonly available now are Glulam beam and columns that can brave the elements and carry a guarantee against defects as well as rot, decay, and insect attack and perform in severe weather.
Anthony Forest Products, Boozer Laminated Beam Company, and Rosboro are just three of the higher quality glulam beam manufacturers offering beams and columns stocked in the New England market and available on short notice. All are “Industrial” (not “Appearance”) grade Southern Yellow Pine and are made of balanced laminations without camber so there is no top or bottom.
Beams come in standard widths of 3-1/2” and 5-1/2” and in depths of 9-1/2”, 11-7/8”, 14” and 16” in lengths up to 48’. Columns range in size from 3-1/2” x 3-1/2” and 5-1/4” x 5-1/4” as well as 6-3/4” x 6-7/8” for heavy duty applications.
Both beams and columns should be resealed in the field, once cut to size, with one of several readily available brush on treatment such as Cop-R-Tex, Copper Green or Copper Napthenante.
Joe Madera has been with Shepley for more than 26 years as the Engineered Wood Products Specialist. Joe works with Bill Campbell, who specializes in structural steel. Together, Joe and Bill help to coordinate structural layouts between designers and builders. They will provide plan details for approval and help you through your most challenging projects.
You can reach Joe and Bill at 508-862-6217.