Universal Glulam Plus Columns

Pole Barn Guru Blog

Hansen Pole Buildings Wizard Justine is in a never ending search to provide the best possible building components to our clients.

For some of the pole building kit packages we provide, glu-laminated columns are either specified by the client, or are the best design solution.

Long time readers may remember the friendly discussions over nail laminated columns (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2013/08/nail-laminated-posts/#comment-52247) as well as features on glu-laminated columns (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2014/04/titan-timbers/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2014/10/glulam-4/).

Justine was having a discussion with a The Home Depot® Pro Associate, who had suggested we investigate the use of Universal Glulam Plus Columns from Universal Forest Products®.

She managed to get a one page “fact sheet” in her hands, and I will share some of the information from it:

“Galvanized fasteners reinforce bond between laminated members”;

“UGP Columns use both a construction adhesive and galvanized fasteners to ensure strong bonds for optimal integrity”;

“UGP Columns employ 5×8-inch connector plates on 3- and 4-ply 2×6 columns and 7×10-inch plates on 3- and 4-ply 2×8 columns.”

In short, these are not a true glu-laminated column as AITC (American Institute of Timber Construction) would recognize.

glulam columnDale Schiferl of Timber Technologies (https://www.timber-technologies.com/) and I worked together for Duane Boice, P.E. at Gruen-wald Engineered Laminates (https://www.gruen-wald.com) back in 2000. Both Timber Technologies and Gruen-wald fabricate true glu-laminated columns designed specifically for the post frame industry.

On the Gruen-Wald website, I found this information which would be fairly descriptive of products such as the Universal Glulam Plus Columns:

“Numerous “laminated” columns have begun cropping up around the country. Most of them are nail laminated and some have added a bead or two of non-structural adhesive between the plies. This adhesive is totally useless to hold multiple plies of dimensional lumber in tension or shear and therefore is of no use in assigning strength to the product. Do not be deceived by the claim of “nail plus”. It is non-structural adhesive with 2 (two) stainless wires pulled through every 8 inches! These columns are limited in their application in that they must have lateral bracing in the weak axis (can’t be used as a stand-alone column) and the nails create problems for the contractors when they need to be cut. The nail pattern equivalent of our permanent adhesive would be 1-20d each square inch of column face area each ply. The column is also approximately 15% weaker than the Gruen-Wald Classic Column and cannot be stock piled for extended periods of time!”

Looking for or expecting true glu-laminated columns for your next post frame (pole) building? Make sure to be aware of what is actually being specified!

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