How Much Do Engineered Beams Cost? Per Foot And Installation

A photograph of a stack of glulam beams arranged in a square-stacked pattern. Across the bottom of the image are the words, "How Much Do Engineered Beams Cost? Per Foot And Installation." In the center of the image is a stylized icon of a brown hand holding a fan of dollar bills.

Image courtesy of Medium.

Unsurprisingly, engineered wood products like engineered beams and plywood have become a core part of structural and non-structural construction.

These materials are strong, affordable, and environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional solid wood products and are often employed in building projects worldwide. But exactly how much do engineered beams cost?

Engineered wood beams cost between $3 and $90 per linear foot, depending on the type of beam you’re using. The cost of installing these beams is usually between $20 and $200 per foot of material used in construction.

Ultimately, overall costs when using engineering beams depend on several factors, including location, installation method, and project complexity. I’ll explore the per-foot and installation costs of the most widely used engineered beams in this article. Let’s get started!

How Much Do LVL Beams Cost?

A photograph of Laminated Veneer Lumber beams forming the support structure of a timber-framed building. OSB is visible above and black electrical cables are routed through the structure.
An LVL beam provides structural strength to wooden framing.

LVL (or Laminated Veneer Lumber) is a type of engineered wood used in various construction work — usually for load-carrying purposes. These beams are typically used in residential and commercial settings but can also serve as roof and wall framings.

But just how much do they cost?

On average, LVL beams cost between $3 and $12 per linear foot, but getting the material for as little as $2 per foot from various vendors is possible.

Installing LVL beams costs between $40 and $200 per foot, and the exact amount you’ll pay depends on labor costs and project complexity.

How Much Do LSL Beams Cost?

A photograph of a piece of Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL). The cross-section exposes the individual strands, which can be seen.
The individual strands of wood can clearly be seen in the cross-section of this piece of Laminated Strand Lumber. Image courtesy of Richwood Industries, Inc..

Laminated Strand Lumber (or LSL) beams are another class of engineered beams used in construction today. They consist of flaked wood strands and are pretty easy to recognize, even if you’re not a contractor or an engineer.

LSL beams cost between $3 and $6 per foot, and you should expect to pay between $20 and $50 for every foot of material installed. The actual purchase and installation prices vary according to your location, but the exact quantity you need can also influence how much you pay.

These beams are usually cheaper than traditional wood beams and offer relatively high shear strength.

How Much Do PSL Beams Cost?

A photograph of a beam made from Parallel Strand Lumber.
Parallel Strand Lumber has a distinctive appearance with long individual strands visible in its surface. Image by Simon MerOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link.

PSL — or Parallel Strand Lumber — is manufactured from long, parallel strands of bonded veneer and is typically reserved for high-strength applications. As you’d expect, PSL beams work amazingly well as supporting beams — able to withstand stresses due to weathering and age.

But how much do these engineered beams cost?

PSL beams cost between $20 and $90 per linear foot and are the most expensive type of engineered beams in this article.

Of course, installing them doesn’t come cheap, and you should expect to pay between $100 and $200 per foot of installed material.

The exact amount you’ll pay for installation and purchase varies, and buying and installing PSL beams for much less is possible.

How Much Do Glulam Beams Cost?

A photograph of a wooden structure made from glulam beams and archways.
Glulam beams are architecturally appealing and often used in visible places to make clean lines within a building. Image courtesy of Boise Cascade.

Glued laminated timber, or Glulam, is an excellent engineered wood product suitable for various applications. However, glulam beams are typically used to increase the architectural design of a building thanks to their aesthetic appeal.

They’re high-performing beams that can serve as practical — yet sustainable — alternatives to traditional wood products.

One foot of glulam beam costs between $15 and $50 in the US, and the exact price depends on the type and size of the beam you’re purchasing.

Installing the beams isn’t too pricey, and you should pay between $6 and $30 per linear foot of material.

As I mentioned earlier, many factors can influence engineered beam prices. The following section highlights the main factors affecting these prices and explains why engineers and contractors prefer to use price ranges when estimating project costs.

Factors Affecting The Cost Of Engineered Beams

A series of glulam beams bolted into a structure. The ends of the metal bolts are visible protruding through the wood. In the center of the photograph is an icon overlain with a US Dollar beneath a brown house with a yellow dollar sign on its side.
The cost of engineered wood beams varies according to factors such as the type and grade of the beam, the size, shipping costs, and the complexity of installation.

The wide price ranges I mentioned above might be surprising to the uninitiated, but they’re pretty standard in construction. After all, many variables can influence the cost of building materials and this is equally true of engineered wood products (EWP).

But what exactly are the specific factors that can affect the price of engineered beams?

Some of the factors that might affect the cost of engineered beams include the following:

  • The type and grade of the engineered beam.
  • The size of the beam.
  • The length of the beam.
  • The number of engineered beams used for a project (potential for bulk savings).
  • Shipping and handling costs.
  • The installation location.
  • The complexity of installation.
  • The construction method used by contractors.
  • Market conditions at the time of purchase and installation.

I recommend considering all these factors if you plan on building using engineered beams. This information will help you develop accurate and realistic cost estimates for a building project.

Use the information in this article as a guide to help you stay within budget during your project, and remember to shop around and negotiate for the best price.

Final Thoughts On Engineered Beams Cost

Engineered beams cost between $3 and $90 per linear foot of material used, but you should expect to spend between $20 and $200 on installation work.

However, I recommend you contact multiple suppliers to get quotes and compare prices to ensure you get the best deal.

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