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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthorwellburn
    • CommentTimeJan 19th 2019
    We are wanting to open up between front & back rooms in our 1908 mid terrace house. Internal wall is structural, 2 bricks thick (sideways)
    Opening about 3m across.
    All the builders want to use steel, but an 'engineered timber' product appeals.
    OK - it will be chunkier, but as i unsderstand it, doesn't need fireproofing / clad in PB so will be easier to work with / fasten doors / stuff too. - and muck lower embedded energy.

    Any experiences, or how to calc to Building regs?
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJan 19th 2019
    You will need an engineer, they tend to be deeper than steel,
    • CommentTimeJan 19th 2019
    What Tony said. It will need to be larger than a steel beam because it is not as strong, and larger again to provide extra material that can be charred in a fire to protect the core. A glulam supplier might be able to estimate the size. They are quite nice to work with.
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2019
    Great idea. Consider also solid timber like local douglas fir - can be installed green, no need for seasoning.

    Make its width the full thickness of the wall incl plaster both sides, so leave it exposed, maybe a stop-chamfer or stop-bead mould along both the under-edges - whatever might have been traditional for your 1908 house. (Stop chamfer means the mould stops a couple of inches short of where it bears into the wall).

    With a beam like this that's quite fat as well as tall, it prob won't need any extra size on account of fire resistance calculations. For fire-emergency strength, a much smaller factor of safety is stipulated, so after half an hour's charring, the remainder is likely to be still amply strong. It's different with say a tall narrow beam - after the charring there's almost no width of timber left - not so with a quite fat beam.
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2019 edited
    Go for it, Ive used it often. Builders generally are scared of working wood it all a bit "woo woo " to them.
    Some Glulam suppliers will do the calcs for you. When I installed 4M wide combination top and bottom running, fold and slide doors I used a 220 x 110 Glulam beam to span the opening. It's good to work with, it sands well, It can be stained, and takes a lovely lacquer finish. It looks good too in either a modern or rustic interior. I also used Glulam to build my own King post truss for the end elevation of my Sunroom.
    Green timber is an option, however, it will shrink and some knots may loosen. If you don't mind that in your particular decor then fine. In an existing structure where a more snug fit is permanently required for both strength as well as aesthetics, the engineered route is the best bet IMO.
    Exposed stainless steel fittings look good on it too.

    P.S. You may have more builder luck if you choose a small build company that has evolved through the Joinery trades route, as opposed to through the wet trades.
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2019
    Posted By: owlmanWhen I installed 4M wide combination top and bottom running, fold and slide doors I used a 220 x 110 Glulam beam to span the opening.

    I think the main question for sizing is what load the existing load-bearing wall is bearing?
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2019
    I thought the first consideration was aesthetics ie " a realisation that it would be Chunkier", all coupled with FP and structural load bearing, obviously walls too. I gave the sizes as an indication of the former and decor wise how it possibly? needn't be covered with PB at all.
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