Structural Composite Lumber (SCL)

Structural composite lumber (SCL) is a term used to encompass the family of engineered wood products that includes laminated veneer lumber (LVL), parallel strand lumber (PSL), laminated strand lumber (LSL) and oriented strand lumber (OSL).

With its ability to be manufactured using small, fast-grow and underutilized trees, SCL products represent an efficient use of forest resources as they help to meet the increasing demand for structural lumber products that have highly reliable strength and stiffness properties. 

SCL consists of dried and graded wood veneers, strands or flakes that are layered upon one another and bonded together with a moisture resistant adhesive into large blocks known as billets. The grain of each layer of veneer or flakes run primarily in the same direction. These SCL billets are subsequently resawn into specified dimensions and lengths.

SCL has been successfully used in a variety of applications, such as rafters, headers, beams, joists, truss chords, I-joist flanges, columns and wall studs.

SCL is produced in a number of standard sizes. Some SCL products are available in a number of thicknesses while others are available in the 45 mm (1-3/4 in) thickness only. Typical depths of SCL members range from 241 to 606 mm (9-1/2 to 24 in). Single SCL members may be nailed or bolted together to form built-up beams. Generally, SCL is available in lengths of up to 20 m (65 ft).

SCL is produced at a low moisture content so that very little shrinkage will occur after installation. This low moisture content also allows for SCL to be virtually free from checking, splitting or warping while in service.

SCL products are proprietary products and therefore, the specific engineering properties and sizes are unique to each manufacturer. Thus, SCL products do not have a common standard of production and common design values. Design values are derived from test results analysed in accordance with CSA O86 and ASTM D5456 and the design values are reviewed and approved by the Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC). Products meeting the CCMC guidelines receive an Evaluation Number and Evaluation Report that includes the specified design strengths for the SCL product, which are subsequently listed in CCMC’s Registry of Product Evaluations. The manufacturer’s name or product identification and the stress grade is marked on the material at various intervals, but due to end cutting it may not be present on every piece.


For further information, refer to the following resources:

APA – The Engineered Wood Association

Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC), Institute for Research in Construction

CSA O86 Engineering design in wood

ASTM D5456 Standard Specification for Evaluation of Structural Composite Lumber Products