A Comparison of Steel Beams & Microlam Beams

Steel beams can support heavier loads than engineered wood.
••• Building site image by Hedgehog from Fotolia.com

Microllam brand laminated veneer lumber (LVL) is constructed from thin layers of wood veneer glued together. It is similar in construction to plywood, but the wood grain runs parallel in all the layers of veneer.

Microllam

Microllam is typically milled in planks 1¼ inches wide, making it a good choice for beams spanning up to 16 feet. Widths between 3½ inches and 5½ inches are also available and depths range up to 20 inches.

Steel

Steel beams are much stronger than Microllam and other engineered wood beams of the same dimensions. Rolled or extruded steel I-beams – whose cross section resembles an uppercase letter "I" – are typically used in residential applications; they are available in widths and depths between 4 inches and 10 inches and standard lengths of 20 feet and 40 feet.

Considerations

One of the disadvantages of Microllam is that it is not pressure-treated, so it cannot be used for exterior beams. Microllam is, however, much lighter than steel – a 20-foot, 8-inch by 4-inch steel I-beam can weigh 300 lbs. – and much less expensive.

Related Articles

Types of Steel Tubing
What Is 304 Stainless Steel?
Graduation Types on Steel Rulers
What Is the Difference Between SA36 and A36 Metals?
What Is 304 Stainless Steel?
How to Convert Metric Tons to Cubic Meters
What Is a 5P Welding Rod?
How to Determine Square Feet Area
Difference Between 316 & 308 Stainless Steel
Characteristics of Aquatic Plants
How to Calculate Rebar Lengths
Uses of Thermoplastics
How to Size H-Beams
What Is a Hi-Shear Fastener?
How to Find FWHM
How to Find a Z Score
Strength of Aluminum Tubing Vs. Steel Tubing
HDPE Vs. LDPE
Test Your Knowledge on Middle School Science
How to Find the Lateral Area of a Square Pyramid