You can’t construct a post frame building without the posts, in fact, they’re the single most important element of the structure. Also called columns, posts embedded below soil function as the building’s foundation by channeling all loads to ground level. Because these columns support the structure’s entire roof system and keep the walls erect, it’s important to choose the right ones. Continue reading to learn about the superior strength of laminated columns and why they’re the best bet for building your pole barn.
Laminated columns are assembled posts consisting of three or more layers of dimensional lumber joined together. The scattering of their natural growth traits – like wane and knots – makes laminated columns highly resistant to twisting, bending, and warping. When correctly built, laminated posts are also stronger and less likely to decay than solid sawn posts.
Pick Your Posts
There are numerous ways of laminating columns, and arguments rage over which method is best. Since the continuity of the individual layers, the manner used in joining them, and the direction of the applied load affects their behavior, laminated columns are categorized as follows:
- Nail Laminated – individual layers are joined together using only nails and glue
- Unspliced – each layer is comprised of a single piece of dimensional lumber with no end joints present in the assembly
- Spliced – at least one of the layers is comprised of two or more pieces of lumber with at least one end joint
Even when reinforcing and fasteners are included, the material costs of laminated columns are typically less than similarly sized solid sawn posts. In fact, the price of solid sawn posts increases on a per foot basis in lengths over 16 feet. Conversely, the cost of laminated posts per foot stays pretty consistent – even as length increases – because they’re pieced together using smaller, cheaper dimensional lumber.
For most builders, the price of using laminated columns tends to average out because they need a combination of sizes. For others, the need for large quantities of laminated posts in various lengths leads them to invest in their own machine.
Soon, Western Building Supply will have the capacity to produce 3 or 4 ply laminated columns, up to 40 feet in length, from 2”x 6”, 2”x 8”, or 2”x 10” boards.
The Laminator uses hydraulic pressing clamps to secure the entire length of the post on all four sides during the assembly. A computerized nailing process ensures that the plies are kept tightly together, producing a straight and true laminated column. Each clamp supplies 3000psi to straighten the boards, and simultaneously sandwiches them together with 400psi.
With The Laminator, WBS continues our tradition of supplying and manufacturing our materials locally while leveraging our in-house fleet for seamless job site delivery, speed, flexibility, and quality control. Learn More