Abstract A refined flexural theory for laminated composite beams subject to mechanical and thermal loading is presented. The formulation allows for warping of the cross-section of the beam and eliminates the need for using arbitrary shear correction coefficients as in other theories. By considering the stationarity of the energy potential the equations of equilibrium for the beam are obtained. By expressing the stress resultants in the equation as functions of axial displacement u 0, transverse displacement variable w 0 and higher order variables, a linear tenth order system of equations is obtained. The equations are solved numerically and the results compared with standard analytical solutions where available. The justification for use of refined theory is established for short and composite beams where cross-sectional warping is predominant.