In this paper, results of flexure tests aimed at improving the structural behaviour of softwood beams reinforced with unglued composite plates and at developing an effective alternative to the use of organic resins are presented. The addition of modest ratios of GFRP (Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer) composite strengthening can prevent tension failure in timber beams. However the application of organic matrices presents problems of reversibility, compatibility and durability with timber and poor performance at high temperatures. The increment in capacity and stiffness and the analysis of the failure modes is the central focus of this paper. The experimental campaign is dealing with a significant number of un-reinforced and reinforced beams strengthened with unbonded GFRP plates. A 3-dimensional finite element model is also presented for simulating the non-linear behaviour of GFRP-reinforced softwood beams. The ability of the numerical model to reproduce experimental results for the load-deflection curves is validated.