Handling Glulam Beams

Storage in the Yard and Jobsite

Keep beams off the ground using lumber blocking, skids or rack systems. The wrapping should be left in place to protect them from moisture, soiling, sunlight, and scratches. For long-term storage, cut slits in the bottom of the wrapping to allow ventilation and drainage of any entrapped moisture. If possible, store glulam under cover to protect the beams from moisture, soiling and sunlight. In many instances, the wrappings can be left intact to protect beams until installation. Seal ends of beams immediately after trimming or cutting.


Inspection: Physically inspect each beam. Repairs are easier to make on the ground before installation. Sort the delivered beams and determine which glulams will be exposed or unexposed in the finished building.

When used in an exposed application, appearance is important - make sure these beams are of Architectural Appearance quality.

Repair (if needed):

With beams planned for exposed applications, repair appearance defects such as sunburn, forklift damage, and water damage while still on the ground. Do not repair seasoning checks at this time, they most often appear after installation. After necessary repairs have been made, use tape to close the paper wrap so that the beam is protected during the installation process.


After the interior of the building is painted or finished, remove paper from beam and apply finish to the beam (unless you've pre-finished prior to installation). Any final cosmetic repairs (for checks and small knots, etc.) are best made after all finishes are applied to the beam.

Rosboro Glulam

Glulam Terms and Species


Unbalanced Glulam Beams

Unbalanced Beam

In terms of strength, the outer tension zone is the most critical section of a glulam beam. In unbalanced beams, the tension side has higher quality lamination than the compression side, allowing a more efficient and economical use of timber resources. To assure proper installation of unbalanced beams, the compression side is clearly stamped with the word "Top". Unbalanced beams are intended primarily for simple span applications, but can be used in multi-span and cantaliever applications.

Balanced Glulam Beams

These members feature symmetrical lumber quality to about mid height. Balanced beams are used in continuous-span and cantilevered applications where both top and bottom may be subject to flexural tension. They can also be used for single-span applications, though unbalanced beams are more efficient in this capacity.

Camber DiagramCamber

Among engineered wood products, glulam is unique in that it can be easily cambered to suit specific load-bearing spans and decrease the effects of deflection. The glulam industry recommends that roof beams be cambered for 1-1/2 times the calculated dead-load deflection. This amount will generally assure that the beam maintains resilience under load for many years, which may not be true for non-cambered wood products.

To achieve a level profile it is recommended that floor beams be cambered for 1.0 times the calculated dead-load deflection. Most residential applications require very little or no camber, which in turn makes Rosboro glulam the ideal choice. For example, Rosboro's standard camber is 5000-foot radius, which is nearly flat.

Rosboro glulam products are often distributed alongside other manufacturers products. We have found that we can best serve the industry by supplying a 5,000 foot-radius glulam. Some other manufacturers may produce their beams with anywhere from zero to 3,500 foot-radius camber. As the table below clearly indicates, when the manufacturing tolerance is taken into consideration, the actual difference between the values is very close at distances less than 26 feet, which represents the majority of residential framing beams.Camber Table


Douglas fir (DF)

Douglas fir, the predominant framing material in the west, is highly regarded for its dimensional stability and superior strength-to-weight ratio. Its relative density provides excellent nail-holding characteristics.

EWS Combination Balanced or Unbalanced Species Tension
Fb (psi)
Fb (psi)
Horizontal Shear
Fv (psi)
MOE 106
24F-V4 Unbalanced DF 2400 1950 300 1.9 True
24F-V8 Balanced DF 2400 2400 300 1.9 True