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Is There More to Selecting the Correct Wood for Construction?

Wood is still one of the most commonly used building materials. The majority of residential buildings use wood for all or part of their framing systems. The material properties of wood – compressive strength, bending strength, stiffness, and hardness – are well known and available for reference in selecting the type of wood to be used in construction.

Material, geometric, and environmental factors also affect lumber. Factors like exposure treatments, moisture conditions, knot sizes, slope of grain, proportions and orientation of the timber elements, and exposure to heat all affect the integrity of lumber. Timber structures that are exposed to the elements also typically require more maintenance than other building materials. When these factors are not properly evaluated conditions can become dangerous:

  1. Structural failures
  2. Material property failures
  3. Injuries related to these failures

Inexperienced engineers, architects, or builders, believing that they are dealing with a less significant structure than one made with concrete, masonry, or steel, may neglect specifications for the correct product in wood buildings. Selecting the wrong type of lumber and/or fasteners and improper installation can lead to issues that may not be readily evident at the time of construction.

Poor construction practices, like improper flashing, can expose even the best wood to moisture resulting in rot and failure. The collapse of a roof, porch, floor system, stud wall, or entire building, either during construction or after decades of use, can cause injury or death due to their neglect of building requirements.

When incidents and accidents occur in wood buildings or structures, CED goes to the scene to complete an inspection, evaluate the findings, review codes, and provide a thorough report.  Use our engineers’ knowledge of wood and construction methods to assist with your cases. Research our structural engineers and submit a case for review online or contact us.

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