The use of mass timber in construction has grown in popularity in recent years, with an increasing number of architects and builders resorting to this sustainable and adaptable construction technique for their projects. In this post, we’ll look at what mass timber is and why it’s become such a popular building technique.

What exactly is Mass Timber?

Mass timber is a type of wood construction in which massive solid wood panels or engineered wood products such as cross-laminated timber (CLT), glue-laminated timber (glulam), or laminated veneer lumber (LVL) are used to construct structural elements of buildings. These prefabricated wood elements are generally manufactured to exact specifications before being brought to the job site and assembled like a puzzle.

The Benefits of Mass Timber

There are various advantages to mass timber construction, including:


Mass timber is a renewable resource that may be exploited responsibly from properly managed forests. And because wood sequesters carbon from the environment throughout its lifetime, using it in building can also help to reduce carbon emissions.


Mass timber is a tough, long-lasting material that can resist huge weights, making it an excellent choice for towering buildings, bridges, and other major construction projects.
It is a form of engineered wood product composed of layers of solid wood, often softwoods such as spruce, pine, and fir, stacked and glued together in a cross-laminated shape. This results in a robust, long-lasting material that can be employed in a variety of structural applications, including building construction. The cross-laminated structure of mass timber is one of the primary aspects that contributes to its durability. One reason the finished product is significantly stronger and more sturdy than typical wood since the fibers are run in perpendicular directions after stacking and gluing the wood together.

Fire Resistance

Aside from its strength, mass timber is naturally fire-resistant. This is because wood burns at a consistent rate, and once charred, it can actually form a protective layer that prevents the spread of fire. Mass timber can be treated with various fire-retardant coatings and chemicals, such as ammonium phosphate, to further improve its fire-resistant qualities. Several stages are involved in making mass timber fire-resistant, including the application of fire-retardant coatings and the use of thicker laminations of wood to create a barrier that inhibits the spread of fire. Additionally, sprinkler systems, smoke detectors, and other fire safety precautions are included in the construction of mass timber buildings to further limit the risk of fire, as they are in any commercial or industrial building project.

Contrary to popular assumption, mass timber is more fire resistant than typical building materials such as steel and concrete. This is because when wood is exposed to fire, it chars, forming a protective coating that insulates the unburned wood beneath.

Design Versatility

Mass timber offers a wide range of design options, from conventional to contemporary. Its natural and warm appearance is extremely popular among architects and designers. Wood is beautiful, and often makes for a warmer, more comfortable experience than convential steel and concrete.

Construction Time

Because most of the pieces are prefabricated off-site and installed on-site, mass timber construction is faster than traditional building methods. This can save time and money on construction projects.

Compared to typical building materials, mass timber construction has various advantages. From sustainability to architectural flexibility, mass timber is a realistic option for architects and builders seeking a long-lasting, versatile, and environmentally friendly material. As the construction industry continues to adopt this new technology, we may expect to see an increase in the number of mass timber buildings in the coming years.

If you’re learning more about mass timber construction or are thinking about incorporating it into your next project, contact us today!

📸: Swinerton