Cross Laminated Timber, or CLT, much like plywood, is composed of many layers of wood glued together so that the strength of the grain is oriented in perpendicular directions. This process gives CLT many of its beneficial properties along with the ability to be panelized.
The wooden layers of CLT are made up of kiln-dried sawn lumber of various thicknesses, but are typically 1.375” thick in the United States (because planed 2x lumber is the easiest to use). Typically, CLT is made of an odd number of layers in order to maintain a symmetrical layup and even strength. These prefabricated panels can be used as load-bearing floors, roofs or walls, and are between 4” – 12” thick.
CLT is a relatively new building system that originated in Austria over 20 years ago and is widely used in Europe. Its popularity quickly spread to Canada and now is penetrating the U.S. market. Because of CLT’s strength, many doors have been opened to allow wood buildings to compete again with mid and high-rise concrete and steel buildings.