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Community and Q&A

LSL Framing

rodrob15 | Posted in Building Code Questions on

I’m planning on building a small cabin with some laminated strand lumber (LSL) framing. I’ll be doing 24 inch on center, so I’m going with LSLs for some additional strength. Straighter walls and easier installation are added benefits too. LSL lumber is very expensive, so I’d like to just use them for the studs and then use standard dimensional lumber for top and bottom plates. I’m trying to find a cost effective way to incorporate some of the benefits of LSLs. I’m thinking that warping is less of a concern for the top and bottom plates.

Is there any concerns with this approach?

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  1. Malcolm Taylor | | #1

    I've never had a project where the strength of the studs was an issue. Usually the depth of the wall framing is determined by the necessity to provide adequate insulation - and that depth provides more than enough structural strength. That's why you generally don't see LSLs being used as wall framing.

    That said, the only problem I can see with mixing them with dimensional lumber plates would be the different rates of shrinkage of the two material. You should take care to use very dry lumber and keep it that way during construction.

  2. Tim R | | #2

    What size lumber are you using?

  3. John Spier | | #3

    There isn’t much benefit to using LSLs in wall framing for a small cabin. I work in a high wind area and occasionally need LVLs for very tall unsupported walls. I occasionally use LSL material where absolute straightness or stability is required. You’re probably better off saving your money and using premium grade lumber, like select straight Douglas Fir.

  4. rodrob15 | | #4

    Thanks for the responses guys... My walls will be 2x6..... I should have been a little more clear. I will have one tall wall of 12 to 13 feet with lots of windows, so I'll probably use LSLs for that wall regardless. Not sure on the rest of the house.

    Premium grade lumber would work well too, so I need to see how much that costs. I've only seen grade 2 and 1 lumber at my local suppliers. Select straight would work great because I'm also looking to make my install a little easier. Straight lumber seems to make everything go smoothly (i.e. window installs and interior finishing), so thats very important for me too.

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