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Old 09-04-2008, 04:10 PM   #1
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Putting an LVL beam together


Hi,

I'm new to this forum and a little green as well. I'm building my addition and need a little advice.

The plans call for a beam made up of 3 2 x 10 LVL's. A pretty dumb question, but here it goes. How do I put them together? Do I nail them like I would with a conventional 2 x? Do I have to through bolt them together? Would the building inspector laugh if I did that and would it comprimise the LVL by drilling into it?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 09-04-2008, 04:25 PM   #2
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Putting an LVL beam together


nope, sure wouldn't.... but the inspector WOULD can it if you nail it. it must be stagger bolted every 2 ft. OC, meaning the first is 2 and 1/2 inches from the top, the next 2 and 1/2" from the bottom. my engineer had me do 1/2" bolts, but i only had to do 2 lvls. call the building office and check codes! (it's a free call) you may need 3/4" bolts to do 3. i'm sure one of the guys here will know as well. guys? 3/4" for 3?

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Old 09-04-2008, 05:10 PM   #3
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Putting an LVL beam together


Wait a second! I don't agree with that response.

I attached three Wyerhauser Microlam beams together AS PER THEIR INSTRUCTIONS. and how?

Special nails made for the job. The look like thick concrete nails. They are designed to withstand the shear forces. Screws do not have the same capacity!!!!

The nail pattern is special too. My beams were 14" high and have two rows of nails all level on the horizontal spaced 12" apart. Vertically the two nails are aligned dead center (which makes a lot of sense in order to gain the maximum shear strength).

CONTACT THE MANUFACTURER!!!(not the store)

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Old 09-04-2008, 05:13 PM   #4
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Putting an LVL beam together


Quote:
Originally Posted by rhody View Post
Hi,

I'm new to this forum and a little green as well. I'm building my addition and need a little advice.

The plans call for a beam made up of 3 2 x 10 LVL's. A pretty dumb question, but here it goes. How do I put them together? Do I nail them like I would with a conventional 2 x? Do I have to through bolt them together? Would the building inspector laugh if I did that and would it comprimise the LVL by drilling into it?
If the plans don't call for them to be bolted together, they don't get bolted together. There's no reason to bolt them. The nailing pattern might be on the plans, if not you can't go wrong with nailing 3- nails every12-16" apart.

I use construction adhesive between each lvl because sometimes they open up. Can't hurt to use glue.
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Old 09-04-2008, 05:20 PM   #5
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Putting an LVL beam together


might make a difference too if it's overhead or floor joist as mine was. i also had to use 6x6 posts to mount them to with 3/4" bolts. (sorry, fergot about that) the 1/2" were in the plan too though. codes vary all over the states too. i stand with the free phone call to the inspector to be sure! nothing worse than having to tear apart a job and redo it! =o) if ya call, they'll tell ya. that's why they get the big bucks.

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Old 09-04-2008, 05:27 PM   #6
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Putting an LVL beam together


1-3/4" LVL's do not have to be bolted together in any residential application. Some specifiers may call for it, but it is unnecessary and does not strengthen the beam. Nails are sufficient. Each LVL manufacturer has their own requirements for nail size and placement, however I have never seen nails specially designed for this application.

Bolting is always required on 4 plies (or more) of LVL. There is no way to fasten 4 plies together with nails.

Screws are not used, period.

This is not code-based. Since LVL's are a manufactured product, inspectors will enforce the manufacturer's installation requirements. If they require more, they'd better be able to substantiate it.
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Old 09-04-2008, 05:29 PM   #7
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Putting an LVL beam together


Quote:
Originally Posted by MdangermouseM View Post
that's why they get the big bucks.
There's nothing big about my paycheck.
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Old 09-04-2008, 05:36 PM   #8
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Putting an LVL beam together


all i can share is my own experience, my engineer said bolts and NO NAILS and the inspector checked to see they were there and properly spaced and tightened, soooooo, do i live in the sticks or what?

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Old 09-04-2008, 05:50 PM   #9
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Putting an LVL beam together


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Originally Posted by MdangermouseM View Post
all i can share is my own experience, my engineer said bolts and NO NAILS and the inspector checked to see they were there and properly spaced and tightened, soooooo, do i live in the sticks or what?

DM
Yes, in your situation, but you can't come on a forum and say that lvl's have to be bolted together as if they ALWAYS do because it's simply not true. Sometimes they do. I've had plans that called for lvl's bolted together for certain situations.
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Old 09-04-2008, 05:57 PM   #10
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Putting an LVL beam together


my apologies for that guys, i should have said the inspector MIGHT poopoo it, not would. he (the inspector) led me to believe that ALL lvls have to be bolted as if it were the only way to do it. again, i'm sorry.

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Old 09-04-2008, 06:21 PM   #11
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Putting an LVL beam together


Dangermouse, your designer apparently felt the need to specify bolts and that is ok. The inspector did the right thing and checked to make sure that the LVL's were specified as installed.

As inspectors, we're often at the mercy of the engineer of record's design wishes. If he says that painting the beam pink will make it stronger, we have to require you to paint the beam pink. If he wants bolts, he gets them.

There are, of course, inspectors out there that don't know any better and mandate bolts in two and three ply LVL's when they're in fact not required by the designer and the manufacturer.
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:31 PM   #12
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Putting an LVL beam together


ohhhhhh, THAT'S why i had to get that gallon of purple paint! NOW i get it! sorry.....

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Old 09-04-2008, 06:46 PM   #13
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Putting an LVL beam together


have you tried these screws for LVL's . The only time we bolt is when steel is brought in to the ply. ( which makes sense) if your engineer spec ed out bolts on the LVL'S, could just be an over kill on his part, Liability issue I suppose.

Last edited by buletbob; 09-04-2008 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 09-04-2008, 09:10 PM   #14
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Putting an LVL beam together


See page 24 of this installation guide for some good information. It is LP's LVL installation guide.
http://www.lpcorp.com/Literature/LP_...Tech_Guide.pdf

I'd consider allowing screws, but the LVL manufacturer would have to allow it by listing or an engineer would need to provide a design specifying the screw.
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Old 09-05-2008, 07:32 AM   #15
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Putting an LVL beam together


Thanks guys,

That tech guide is very helpful and also the advice about folowing the manufacturer's instructiions which was something I was not able to find on my own. If he wants me to through bolt it I guess I can do that in place if I have to but it doesn't look like that will happen.

The beam is going to be 35' long supporting the floor. I can get 36' long lvl's from the lumber yard so I'm psyched that I don't have to lap them in any place along the beam.

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