Dowel-laminated timber (DLT) panels are a next generation mass timber product, which is particularly efficient for horizontal spans and allows for architectural flexibility. Commonly used in Europe, it is the only all wood mass timber product and does not use glue or nails. Structural design using DLT is covered by both the NBCC and IBC and applicable grading rules.

Panels are made from softwood lumber and are stacked like Nail-Laminated Timber (NLT), then friction-fit together with dowels. Hardwood dowels hold each board side-by-side, similar to how nails work in an NLT panel, and the friction fit lends some dimensional stability to the panel. DLT panels may be processed using CNC machinery, creating a high tolerance panel, which can also contain pre-integrated electrical conduits and other service runs.

Among the advantages of DLT, acoustic strips can be integrated directly into the bottom surface of a panel. This can help a designer achieve acoustic objectives while keeping the wood exposed and allowing for a wide variety of surface finishes. With growing interest in DLT, continued product innovation is likely, along with increased availability to US building designers.

Mineral wool or wood fiber insulation is used inside an acoustic groove to absorb sound. (Photo, reThink Wood | Sample courtesy of StructureCraft)



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