Why build a CLT house?

Building a house from cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a smart, sustainable choice for homebuyers.

Building a new house is a significant investment, and the materials you select to build your house matter. Building materials contribute to your new home’s longevity, structural integrity, future resale value, impact on the environment, and even your own health and wellness. 

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a high-quality solid wood product that can be used to build a variety of structures — from single-family homes, to apartment buildings, to towering skyscrapers. In the architecture, engineering, and construction industries, CLT has an excellent reputation as a strong, versatile, and environmentally-friendly structural material. For homebuyers looking to build a pure-wood home, CLT can be an ideal choice. 

What is CLT?

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a type of mass timber — an umbrella term for a variety of engineered woods. CLT is manufactured from relatively fast-growing evergreen tree species, typically spruce. CLT was first engineered in Austria in the 1990s. In the decades since, it has emerged as a much-hyped modern building material celebrated as durable, strong, fire-resistant, and environmentally-friendly.

Factories produce CLT panels by gluing together perpendicular layers of solid timber. The perpendicular alignment of the wood’s natural fibers results in a structural strength, stability, and rigidity that rivals steel or concrete. While roughly 5% of CLT is a laminate glue, it is produced with modern adhesives that are breathable and reasonably sustainable.

What makes CLT a good house building material?

Your house walls, floors, roof, and stairs can all be built from CLT — as such, CLT can be the primary material used to build your home, not just a supporting structural element. 

Through meticulously planned architecture and engineering, including data modeling and use of building information modeling (BIM) software, a house model is conceived of as many panels that slot together. Then, a pre-programmed computer numerical control (CNC) machine cuts prefabricated CLT elements within 1-millimeter of accuracy, including slots for windows, doors, electrical outlets, and other house tech. This process eliminates needless wood waste, making it a more cost-effective and environmentally-responsible building material.

One to two standard trucks deliver the CLT elements to your house building site. There, with the use of a crane, the elements are erected within a matter of days, effectively transforming your construction site into an assembly site. The CLT panels fit together like high-tech building blocks, and the electrical installation quickly follows. Precision and speed are hallmarks of CLT, as is its low carbon impact.

What makes a CLT house environmentally sustainable?

CLT is a  solid wood product developed from trees grown in forests. Forests are vast carbon sinks that remove CO2 from the atmosphere and store it indefinitely. A tree’s biomass contains the CO2 stored throughout its lifespan, even after it is harvested, until it decomposes. A CLT house is a natural carbon storage unit with a long life span, as a house built from CLT will stand for decades or even centuries into the future. 

In order to ensure that your home is built from a truly environmentally-friendly material, it is critical to ensure that your CLT is produced from trees that are grown, harvested, and replanted in responsibly-managed forests. When forests are irresponsibly managed and overharvested, the resulting deforestation is harmful for the environment. As such, choose Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified CLT. The FSC is an independent forestry certification system that has strict accreditation requirements. FSC-certified timber strikes a balance between human timber harvest and the long-term preservation of forests. FSC-certified timber lets you build a low carbon-footprint house, while also preserving forests’ essential role in the health of the planet. 

Why does Asumma build CLT homes? 

It is evident that CLT is a smart and environmentally-sound structural choice for building a new house. But it’s also a delightful material for a host of other reasons. CLT permits a variety of innovative architectural possibilities, given its strength-to-weight ratio, versatility, and buildability. When CLT is used as the primary building material, the finished house smells fresh and sweet. CLT is a healthy, breathable material that — when designed by skilled timber experts — promotes incredible indoor air quality in your home. 

A house built from CLT — in combination with wood-fiber insulation, wood cladding, wooden window frames and door frames, and wooden doors — means people can enjoy a pure wood home that is healthy for its inhabitants, and also a healthy choice for the planet. Furthermore, pure wood is simply gorgeous, resulting in a stunning home, with a variety of surface treatments and finishing options to suit one’s tastes.

Asumma designs and builds stunning custom homes from FSC-certified cross-laminated timber (CLT). High-quality, environmental integrity, and beauty define Asumma homes. Learn more about us here.

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