Parallax Vs Glulam Comparison (Which One Is Better?)

Nearly all wood-framed buildings require the usage of engineered wood products. This article will concentrate on Parallax Vs Glulam, two distinct forms of engineered wood products. Design professionals must comprehend the distinctions and intended applications of various SCL products and glulam frames.

A class of engineered wood products known as structural composite lumber (SCL) is made by layering wood veneers or strands and joining them with moisture-resistant adhesives to make structural frame components, including beams, studs, and columns.

Compared to sawn ordinary timber, SCL members offer several benefits, including dimensional stability, better strengths, and resistance to moisture fluctuations. Parallel Strand Lumber (PSL), Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL),  and Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) are the three main products that makeup SCL.

Parallax Vs Glulam

Parallax and Glulam are engineered wood products frequently used in construction, but their production methods and intended uses vary slightly. Here is a description of each:

Parallax Vs Glulam 1


A type of engineered wood called parallel strand lumber (PSL), often known as “parallax,” is created by laminating wood veneers using powerful adhesives. The veneers are normally parallel to the length of the product; therefore, the name “parallax.” The production process’s glue forges a close link between the veneers.


Key Features Of Parallax

  • High Strength: Parallax has excellent load-bearing capacity and is often used in heavy-duty applications.
  • Versatility: Parallax comes in various sizes and lengths, making it adaptable to different structural requirements.
  • Minimal Shrinkage And Warping: The manufacturing process of Parallax reduces the natural tendency of wood to shrink or warp, resulting in a more stable and predictable material.

Functions Of Parallax

Parallax beams and columns offer several key functions:

  1. Load Bearing: Parallax beams are made to support structural loads and carry large loads in various construction projects. They are frequently utilized in residential and commercial structures as headers, beams, or columns.
  2. Long Spans: Thanks to their remarkable spanning ability, Parallax beams can span long distances without intermediary supports. They are, therefore, perfect for designing open floor plans and large rooms.
  3. Reliability: Parallax is produced to exact specifications, guaranteeing reliable quality and performance. Because of the predictability of the strength and dimensions, it is possible to design and build structures more precisely, which lowers the danger of structural problems.
  4. Resistance To Warping And Shrinkage: When compared to solid-sawn lumber, parallel beams have less of a tendency to twist, warp, or shrink. Due to their dimensional stability, they are less sensitive to variations in humidity and temperature, creating a more dependable and durable structure.
  5. Design Flexibility: Since Pellam beams are produced in various diameters and shapes, architects and engineers can create unique solutions for various construction requirements. This adaptability makes it simpler to maximize a building’s structural effectiveness.
  6. Sustainable Option: Parallax is a product made of engineered wood that was collected using sustainable practices. Builders can use Parallax beams to lessen their reliance on solid-sawn lumber, preserving natural resources and lowering the construction industry’s environmental effect.

Overall, Parallax outperforms conventional lumber in strength, dependability, and versatility, making it a preferred option in current construction projects. Its main roles are load-bearing, large spans, stability in dimension, and design flexibility.

Common Applications Of Parallax

  • Beams And Headers: Parallax beams can support heavy loads, making them suitable for long commercial and residential construction spans.
  • Columns And Posts: Parallax columns provide structural support and stability.


Another engineered wood product called Glulam is created using adhesive to bind many layers of dimensioned lumber. Unlike Parallax, glulam’s laminations can be curved or straight, giving designers additional design versatility.


Key Features Of Glulam

  • Structural Strength: Glulam is well suited for long-span applications due to its high stiffness and strength.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Glulam is used in architectural projects because it can be bent to give the laminations a beautiful appearance.

Glulam is an environmentally beneficial alternative created from locally sourced, renewable wood.

Common Applications Of Glulam

  • Beams And Columns: Glulam beams and columns are used in various structural applications, including residential, commercial, and industrial buildings.
  • Bridges: Glulam is used in bridge construction for its strength and durability.
  • Roof Structures: Glulam arches or beams can create unique and visually appealing roof designs.

Functions Of Glulam

Glulam performs the following crucial tasks in architectural and building applications:

  1. Large Structural Strength: Glulam beams are made to have a large amount of structural strength and capability for carrying loads. They are frequently employed in structures as horizontal beams and columns to support enormous loads, such as the weight of walls, floors, and roofs.
  2. Long Spans: Due to their superior spanning qualities, glulam beams can cross considerable distances without the assistance of intermediate supports. This characteristic allows architects to create open, roomy rooms with fewer columns or supports.
  3. Architectural Aesthetics: Glulam may be produced in various sizes, forms, and curves and has a pleasing natural appearance. This adaptability enables architects to design striking and distinctive structural components, such as arching beams or exposed beam ceilings, which improve a space’s aesthetic appeal.
  4. Resistance To Moisture And Decay: Preservatives are applied to glulam during manufacture, increasing its resistance to moisture, decay, and insect damage. It is suited for internal and exterior uses with exposed beams in outdoor constructions like bridges, pergolas, and timber pavilions.
  5. Sustainability: Since glulam is constructed from responsibly obtained wood, it is a green material choice. Utilizing glulam rather than solid-sawn lumber lowers the need for large-dimension trees and encourages ethical forestry methods. In addition, manufacturing requires less energy than steel or concrete, two common building materials.
  6. Design Flexibility: Glulam can be produced in various sizes and shapes, enhancing design versatility. It can be curved, tapered, or mixed with other materials to meet specific architectural requirements, providing designers additional latitude to construct inventive and distinctive buildings.
  7. Fire Resistance: Because glulam is made of thick, laminated materials, it naturally resists fire. Glulam will charge on the exposed surface in the event of a fire, creating a protective layer that reduces the pace of combustion and preserves structural integrity for a longer time than solid timber.

Regarding design flexibility, glulam offers strength, durability, and aesthetic appeal in various construction applications. Its main functions are structure support, long spans, architectural beauty, moisture resistance, design flexibility, sustainability, and fire resistance.

Precautions And Tips

Popular LVL wall cladding requires cautious handling and storage because it is wood-made. It should be handled just like solid wood. If necessary precautions are not taken, damage to the exposed corners and edges will inevitably occur.

LVL beams must be laid flat and above the ground on the job site. It’s crucial to remember that they should be clean before installation. Short-term exposure to weather damage has little effect on its performance, but long-term exposure can. Consequently, you should consider preservation treatment and consider covering the material.

To avoid damage, glue needs to be handled carefully and stored securely. You must adhere strictly to safety precautions to achieve their maximum structural strength.

Make careful you always use fabric slings when lifting glulam because surface scratches are fairly typical while handling it. In terms of storage, vertical is the best orientation. Consider covering them with a plastic sheet to shield them from the elements. Additionally, glulam lumber is exposed to external elements once it’s time for installation unless it was made specifically for outdoor spaces.

Another popular option for modern building wall cladding is laminated veneer lumber (LVL). LVL, often called microlam, comprises thin veneers peeled or sliced, put out in a parallel pattern, and bonded together under pressure and heat.

LVL is often available in widths of 3, 12, 5, 14, and 7 inches and depths ranging from 9, 12, to 24 inches. Sizes for columns range between 4 by 4 and 8 by 8 inches.

LVL is used by builders so frequently primarily because it is affordable. This beam type has the unique benefit of being fabricated to fit shorter beam widths. Additionally, a bigger beam can be produced by simply nail-laminating numerous plies together. This is especially useful in retrofit jobs where raising a large, heavy beam is difficult or impossible.

Benefits Of Using LVL

The following are only a few of LVL’s many fantastic benefits.

  • Choosing a product with high sustainability and durability can be economical.
  • greatest structural dependability and significant strength
  • similar to solid wood in terms of fire resistance burns slowly and predictably,
  • is conveniently accessible in lengthy durations
  • Large LVL beams can be constructed from small wood components.
  • It may be machined and cut using standard woodworking tools.


In conclusion, Parallax Vs Glulam are engineered wood products with exceptional strength properties. While glulam gives more design flexibility with its ability to be curved and is frequently utilized in architectural and aesthetic applications, parallax is noted for its straight, parallel orientation and is frequently employed in heavy-duty applications. The two decisions are based on the project specifications, design factors, and load-bearing requirements.

Both LVL and Glulam have benefits over one another in the construction sector. Glulam beams are often produced for a particular design. They are typically already specially stained, sanded, and finished before they are brought on-site.

They are beautiful and can be pricey. They are much stronger than concrete and steel despite being much lighter. Large buildings like universities, hotels, airports, and museums are the ones that employ glulam the most frequently.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is more durable, glulam or PSL?

Due to the consistent distribution of all flaws, including knots, in the glue matrix, PSL is significantly more uniform than sawn wood or Glulam. It has one of the greatest strengths of any engineered wood product.

Which is stronger, LVL or PSL?

In LVL, thinly sliced veneers are bound parallel using heat and pressure; this method is especially suitable for tiny beam dimensions. Its shear strength is greater than LSL’s, but its resistance to bending stress falls short of PSL’s.

What is Glulam’s substitute?

The only difference between cross-laminated timber and glulam is how the wood components are arranged. The wood pieces in this don’t go in a straight line; instead, they are attached perpendicularly at each layer to create one item. As a result, the piece’s structural rigidity increases.

Is Glulam less costly than PSL?

Glulam, LSL, and LVL beams are typically less expensive than PSL beams. PSL beams can be stained or polished when an attractive exposed application is needed.

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