The architects and structural engineer think that we'll need a beam or three in the house to keep the fairy-tale wolves at bay. Steel beams are typically the most expensive beam option (and therefore, probably too pricey for us), so we'll look at a couple of wood options instead. Traditional old-growth timber is not a great choice if we're trying to use materials from sustainable sources, but reclaimed timber may still be an option.
Another option, which I hadn't heard about, was Parallam (and similar structural composite lumber, like Glulam), but I guess that it looks a bit like wheatboard (which I had seen, and liked):
We'd look for a source that doesn't use formaldehyde to hold it all together. If we end up using this as a beam, we might leave it exposed. Has anyone out there seen this application? Does it look good exposed? What works?
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