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wet lvl's

newbuilder's picture

IF you went to the yard to pick up an order of 80' of lvl

AND it was lying out 'in the south yard' in an all day rain ...

Would you accept it even though it is supposed to remain dry?

(I don't want to be difficult -- but I don't want compromised materials either)

thanks -

nb  ((had a similar q. about tji's a year ago .. then, I refused them))

(post #74413, reply #1 of 15)

Depends if I really needed it right then or not.  It's just wood with some waterproof glue, it might cup but it probably won't kill it.  If you can afford the time though you could teach the yard a little lesson.



(post #74413, reply #2 of 15)

Down the road from me, a new one is getting framed.

Lotta LVLs in the air, and it's been raining off and on for a week and a half.

Should they take them down and start over?

The question down at the yard is, how long has that material been out of the shed?


"A stripe is just as real as a dadgummed flower."

Gene Davis        1920-1985

(post #74413, reply #3 of 15)

It's only been out there one full steady-rain day.

Is the idea to keep them 'fairly' or 'generally' dry?  or TOTALLY dry?



(post #74413, reply #5 of 15)

An lvl fresh out of the wrapper might have a higher moisture content than the one out back that has been cooking in the sun all summer before being returned and is currently under water.

Water on one side will sometimes cause cupping, although it comes back as the moisture equalizes.

We like to make accept/decline decisions based on actual measurements.  If it measures fat and tall we'll probably pass.  Same for significant cupping or an uneven factory rip that's out of whack more than 1/8". 

Keep in mind that some LVLs are rough looking because they were out of whack months ago and a builder simply returned it. Perhaps it's been passed around a few times.  Smaller lumber yards seem to keep crap around longer than the high volume yards.


Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.

If I could edit my location it would say I'm now in Reno :-)

(post #74413, reply #6 of 15)

hey, thanks ... thanks to all responders.

I'm going to get them -- or not -- now.



(post #74413, reply #7 of 15)

I would turn them down if the LVL's have expanded past their original size,  in thickness or height. 

I have had wet ones show up that were 2-1/8" thick and 12-1/4" tall.  They had taken too much water and would case problems in fitting the floor together.  As well as fitting in the hangers.  Just not worth fighting with them. 



Matt- Woods favorite carpenter. 

(post #74413, reply #8 of 15)

I would take a pass on them.

LVLs are supposed to be kept as dry as possible. This compeny obviously made no effort to do that. Heck, I wouldn't even buy any OTHER LVLs from them if they're all gonna get treated like that.

I've been called out too many times to jobsites for cupped LVLs. Guys put together wet LVLs and they dry on the outside first. That means they cup WAY out of plane. Really pisses off the framers.

They'll eventually come back straight once the building is dried in. But framers don't tend to want to take chances on that.

So my recommendation is to buy 'em dry and try to keep 'em that way. Wrap a tarp around 'em and tie it with bunie cords if you expect rain after they're installed.

Sure beats messing with problems later.

The only things to regret are the things you never did.

(post #74413, reply #9 of 15)

I totally agree.  When you purchase new building materials from a supplier, they should be in factory condition until you take possession of them.

I've never been shy about rejecting LVL's, paralams, Lam beams, I-joists, etc., if they show up wet or weathered, even when it's set me back timewise on a job.

To put up with a yard's careless handling of their goods is just enabling them to continue to be careless.

And I might add, when I'm confronted with these kind of situations (and they're admittedly rare), I make a point of throwing a very well-thought-out fit that gets the attention from the bottom to the top of the food chain so the culprits will be learn to be more attentive.

And I've had projects that spec'd a doubled LVL joist or ridge beam; really fun to do if the SOB's are cupped.

(post #74413, reply #10 of 15)

well ... I took 'em.  

the shorter ones were covered ... but the tarp the yard used wasn't big enough to completely cover the four larger ones (19' each).  So they were exposed for 2 -3 feet at each end.  I won't be actually using them for a couple o months and they'll be in the dry storage until then so .. hopefully .. if they cup at all .. they'll 'heal' before that.

to make some of you even more disgusted .. the 'yard' I'm talking about is HD.   They are SO much less per lin ft. than the major old yards around here that my meager budget just cannot resist.  Same manufacturer ... gotta special order is the only inconvenience .. but no hurry here as I'm workin by myself for myself.   The last time i went to pick up an order of tji's from them and they were sitting out I rejected them and they were totally gracious about it and re-ordered me more with nothing but total politeness.  So ...

Anyway ... got the shorter lvl's and the tji's last night .. and heading out the get the longer ones tonight.  Gotta join the 19 footers to make two 19' by 9 1/2X3 1/2 beams for the outboard of a twenty ft. high deck. 

thanks -



(post #74413, reply #11 of 15)

>> Gotta join the 19 footers to make two 19' by 9 1/2X3 1/2 beams for the outboard of a twenty ft. high deck. <<

These are for a deck? I hope you ordered pressure treated lvl's.

Joe Carola
Joe Carola

(post #74413, reply #12 of 15)

These are for a deck? I hope you ordered pressure treated lvl's.


as I understand it -- and if you google pt lvl you'll see what I mean -- p.t. glue lams and lvl's are extremely uncommon and difficult to produce.  (see answer to faq # 1 here:   )

I am going to make a solid epdm floor on this deck and the lvl will be sheltered.


(post #74413, reply #13 of 15)

>> p.t. glue lams and lvl's are extremely uncommon and difficult to produce. <<

That's not true around here. You can order them from any lumberyard.

I used 2- 24' 3-1/2" x 11-7/8" Gluelams this past winter.

Joe Carola
Joe Carola

(post #74413, reply #4 of 15)

  If they were going in a floor system, I would not worry. If it was a header in a wall I might care about the swell factor.

  Got two 9 1/2" X 18' LVLs this weekend 5 mins before closing time this past Sat. One looked like it had seen 50 miles of bad road, was going in the floor system. Did a-lot of nailing & a Bit of plane work, So it now fits like a Glove in the floor!

How about these?    Do you (post #74413, reply #14 of 15)

How about these?   
Do you agree they are unacceptable?  

LVL_Split2.jpeg426.97 KB
lvl_split.jpg138.94 KB

Looks like garbage to me. (post #74413, reply #15 of 15)

Looks like garbage to me.