Mass Timber Durability: Explained

From thousands-year-old wood buildings that have stood the test of time to modern tall timber towers growing ever higher, well-designed wood structures are durable and built to last. With proper construction and maintenance, timber products can provide a long and useful service life. Good design also ensures that wood materials last and weather well in various climates, including those with high humidity, frequent sun, and heavy rain.

Next-generation lumber and mass timber products, such as glued-laminated timber (glulam), cross-laminated timber (CLT), dowel-laminated timber (DLT), and nail-laminated timber (NLT), along with a variety of structural composite lumber products, are enabling increased dimensional stability and strength, and greater long-span capabilities. To maximize the durability of mass timber buildings over time, design teams must carefully consider everything from deflection and drainage to airflow and breathability. During construction, weatherproofing and onsite moisture management are essential.

There are a wide range of resources to help ensure the durability of your next timber project.

Watch this video with durability expert Eric Wood, a facade specialist and mass timber practice lead with engineering firm Morrison Hershfield.

He covers everything from risk assessments and moisture management to onsite weather protection and post-construction considerations.

If you’re looking for more in-depth information about durable design and construction with mass timber check out WoodWorks’ comprehensive U.S. Mass Timber Construction Manual. This 81-page mass timber resource gives developers, architects, contractors, and installers a framework for the planning, procurement, and management of timber projects and provides a bridge from their experience with other systems.

A useful reference for all members of a mass timber project team and anyone interested in the construction of mass timber building, it includes detailed best practices related to preconstruction, moisture control, and onsite installation. Whether you’re somewhat new to wood construction or already well-versed, the U.S. Mass Timber Construction Manual provides the essentials to make your next mass timber project successful and durable for years to come.

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