The top level of our house is cantilevered over the car port. It creates a good looking house! However, it means there needs to be super strong beam to hold the house up in the air without a pillar of some kind.
The architects originally specified a steel beam, but we’ve had to swap this out as steel creates a thermal bridge which is to be avoided at all costs in a passive house. See my earlier post ‘What’s a passive house?‘ for explanation of thermal bridges.
Thankfully someone in the 70’s created LVL (laminated veneer lumber), which is a high strength engineered wood product. LVL is created by gluing together (laminating) thin layers (veeners) of timber (lumber) to create a piece of timber with mega strong structural strength.
The grains of each piece are aligned to all run in the same direction. LVL is as strong as solid timber, concrete or steel. It’s hard to image thin bits of timber glued together make a super timber, but here it is signed off by the engineer and proudly holding up our house!
The big mumma piece you see in the pic is 60cm wide and 8cm thick. There’s two pieces that size next toeach other holding that corner our home up.
Being an engineered product means LVL is stronger, straighter and more uniform than solid timber, and as a composite product it’s less likely to warp or shrink. All things we like in a cantilevered structure!
It also means you can get a large super strong piece of timber product without needing a super large tree.
We love it, as it’s meant we can avoid a thermal bridge, and keep the floating look of our house.