Engineered Wood Product 101- What is Structural Composite Lumber (SCL)?

Structural Composite Lumber (SCL)

Photo Credit: APA – The Engineered Wood Association

Engineered wood’s surge in popularity through the years comes as no surprise to us. Willamette Valley Company is a leading supplier of wood products and custom solutions for engineered wood manufacturers and we are seeing an increase in demand for engineered wood products like never before. More and more architects and construction builders are embracing them for their economic advantages, construction quality, durability, sustainability, and aesthetics. There is an extensive range of engineered wood products we’ve written about in the past like Plywood and Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), however, we’re taking a closer look at Structural Composite Lumber (SCL) and in this post. Here are some frequently asked questions.

What is Structural Composite Lumber (SCL)?

Structural composite lumber is defined by the APA – The Engineered Wood Association as “a family of engineered wood products created by layering dried and graded wood veneers, strands or flakes with moisture-resistant adhesive into blocks of material known as billets, which are subsequently resawn into specified sizes”. 
APA- Structural Composite Lumber (SCL)

What Are Examples of Structural Composite Lumber?

Some common examples of SCL include Laminated veneer lumber (LVL), parallel strand lumber (PSL), laminated strand lumber (LSL) and oriented strand lumber (OSL). 

-Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) is the most widely used of the structural composite lumber products and is often used in headers and beams, hip and valley rafters, scaffold planking and the flange material for prefabricated wood I-joists. 

-Parallel Strand Lumber (PSL) is frequently used as load-bearing columns. Like LVL and glulam, PSL is used for beam and header applications where high bending strength is needed.

-Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL) is used in a variety of applications from studs to millwork components.

-Oriented Strand Lumber (OSL) is made from flaked wood strands and also used in a variety of applications from studs to millwork components.

Why Do Builders Use SCL? 

There are a range of reasons why structural composite lumber  (SCL) products are an appealing choice, here are just a few. 

-Stability & Consistency. SCL is known by builders and architects for it’s solid, uniform properties and is virtually free from warping and splitting, making it ideal for a range of industrial uses and building projects. 

-Quality & Design Flexibility. The material’s high quality and design flexibility are also appealing qualities in the building and construction industry. 

-Cost Savings. SLC is not subject to the same price volatility found in solid lumber markets. 

Environmental Sustainability. SLC is sourced from sustainably managed North American forests and produces very little waste. It can be manufactured using small, fast-grow and underutilized trees, therefore representing an efficient use of forest resources. Another interesting fact: APA-trademarked SCL products are exempt from U.S. EPA and California formaldehyde regulations due to their very low emission rates.

What is SCL Used For?

SCL’s high quality and strength makes it a practical choice for rafters, headers, beams, joists, studs and columns. Typical uses for SCL are also

Upholstered furniture frame components
Wood furniture substrate
Case goods, shelving and retail displays
Door and window components
Recreational vehicles
Truck and trailer components
Bench and seat components
Engineered flooring substrate
Concrete form wales and bracing
Domestic and export crating and packaging
Substrate for counters, tables, pool tables, and bowling alleys

About Willamette Valley Company (WVCO)

The Willamette Valley Company is a leading supplier of wood products and custom solutions for engineered wood and mass timber product manufacturers all over the world for over six decades. WVCO works to fulfill our mission by maintaining close partnerships with leading wood products organizations like APA – The Engineered Wood Association, a nonprofit trade association for engineered wood product manufacturers. To learn more about engineered wood products and custom solutions, check out our wood products division and be sure to visit www.apawood.org.