We are considering a remodel of our home and do not know which product would be best used for a beam between the cathedral addition that was added on to our home before we purchased it and the orginal part of the house which currently has a gabel end.
We are getting different suggestions from various contractors we have spoken with and wish to educate ourselves as to what would be the best way for us to go. The opening will be 28'.
For a 28 foot span, you would typically hire an engineer or architect to design the beam, the connections, and the supports. They would select an appropriate type of beam based on the loading and aesthetic considerations. At that span, they might also consider a steel beam, or a truss, depending on available clearance. Typically a contractor is not going to be able to design the beam themselves, they would likely retain an engineer, since in most areas major structural renovations requires an engineer's stamp on the plans.
Contractors probably have personal favorite types of beams they are used to working with. There are many different manufacturers of laminated beams, and they sell their product with different names like Parallam or Versalam or LVL. In the end, it comes down to headroom, cost, and appearance, plus ease of installation.
Daniel provides all the right advice including aesthetics. This is a long span and one thing you might consider is that glue laminated beams are available cambered (with a slight radius or crown) so when the beam is installed and loaded it should be straight.
A glue laminated beam would be my preference for this application.