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How much does a 20-foot LVL beam cost?

September 6, 2023
How much does a 20-foot LVL beam cost

A laminated veneer lumber (LVL) with a 20 feet span can cost anywhere between $6 and $12 per linear foot or $120 to $240 for the material alone. Including installation, the price of a 20-foot LVL can go up to $2,500.

The price can vary depending on the lumber grade, the thickness, the depth of the beam, and if you’ll hire a professional to install the beam. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss the cost of LVL beams, the factors that can affect their total cost, and some strategies you can do to save money when using them.

What factors affect the cost of LVL beams?

Installation Cost

Installation can significantly affect the total cost of the LVL beam. In fact, it’s sometimes the biggest contributor to the total cost because of how expensive labor can be.

Installing a 20-foot LVL usually costs $60 to $240 per linear foot, but this can significantly increase depending on the structure’s design, the placement of the beams, the skill level of the laborer, and more.

The more experience the laborer has, the higher the rate will be. However, they are unlikely to cause delays, inefficiencies, or errors during installation that can extend the project timeline and lead to higher labor costs.

It’s also worth remembering that the rates of laborers greatly depend on the cost of living in the area they’re from. Laborers from urban areas will probably charge a higher rate due to the higher cost of living in their city.

LVL Grade

LVL grades are designed to meet specific load-bearing and performance requirements in construction projects. Usually, the higher the grade is, the better the quality and the higher the price.

Some common LVL grades are LVL 1.9E, LVL 2.0E, LVL 2.1E, and LVL 2.2E. 

LVL 1.9E and LVL 2.0E are sometimes used for residential homes, as they already have a substantial load-bearing capacity and aren’t too expensive.

On the other hand, LVL 2.1E and LVL 2.2E are premium-grade LVLs with superior load-carrying abilities. These are usually used when the beam supports a large span.

Dimension

The depth, width, and length of the beam dictate how much raw materials are used when making it, so it can affect the cost of LVL beams. Larger and longer beams generally cost more, as they use more material and are harder to make.

LVL beams typically have depths ranging from 5.25 inches to 18 inches or even more. Depending on your needs, they can be 3.5 inches to 7.25 inches thick.

Standard lengths for LVL beams might range from 8 feet to 60 feet. Manufacturers usually don’t make anything longer than 60 feet because they are difficult to transport.

The dimension of the LVL beam you’ll need depends on the span, the load requirement, the structural design, and the local building codes. It’s best to consult a professional to avoid compromising the structural integrity of your home.

Additional Treatments

LVL beams can undergo various additional treatments to enhance their performance, durability, and resistance to certain factors. 

Among the common treatments applied to LVLs are fire retardant treatments and waterproofing. Fire retardant treatments help slow down the spread of flame in the LVLs while waterproofing protects the LVLs from warping and rotting caused by moisture. 

These treatments, while helpful, can cost a significant amount of money, so you should also consider your total budget before going through with them.

How do I save money when using LVL beams?

How do I save money when using LVL beams

There are several strategies you can use to save money while using LVL beams without compromising the quality or structural integrity of your construction project. 

Here are some things you can do to lower the total cost of LVL beams:

Go for an efficient design

Work closely with architects and engineers to design your project to minimize the need for large or lengthy LVL beams. An efficient design can help reduce material costs and maximize span lengths.

Compare quotes from different suppliers and contractors

Before pushing through with the project and signing contracts, obtain quotes from multiple suppliers and manufacturers to compare prices. Some contractors may also match the rate of another contractor if you negotiate with them.

Buy in bulk if possible

If you need multiple LVL beams, consider buying them in bulk from one supplier. More often than not, suppliers will discount customers who are buying in larger quantities.

If you know anyone who also needs to buy LVL beams, it’s best if you buy them together to get better discounts.

Consider local suppliers

Look for suppliers around your area to reduce transportation costs. If you’re buying large beams, the transportation cost will likely be high, so we want to minimize it as much as possible.

Use the correct grade

Opt for an LVL grade that meets the requirements of your project without over-specifying. While higher-grade LVLs are typically stronger, they’re often not necessary for some projects, so you’re only spending more than you should be.

FAQs about LVL Beams

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