The Light: A Lumber Playbook

The Light: A Lumber Playbook

Categories: COVID-19 The Light

Lumber prices are at an all-time high, driven up by surging demand amid a supply chain coordination squeeze, production limitations, and a pesky beetle.

How did we get here? Here are the top events and conditions affecting the lumber market:

We expect lumber prices will remain elevated into 2022, but lower than today’s extreme rates. Capacity takes time to bring online. We are aware of six mills restarting or adding capacity, but we estimate it will take them 6–18 months to ramp up production.

In the meantime, alternatives emerge. Here are a few on our radar:

  • Stamped concrete slab or pavers instead of raised decks: This alternative reduces or eliminates the need for treated lumber, decking, and hardware.
  • Concrete block construction: Done right, block-constructed homes are quiet, comfortable, and long-lasting. Block can retain daytime warmth from the sun into the evening, which is great in winter weather conditions.
  • Precut or prefab framing: Waste and inefficiency of precious materials can be reduced to miniscule levels with an industrialized approach.
  • European lumber: Research shows imports from Europe are increasing and could grow even more if producers obtain the grade stamps in like-kind for North American structural use and substitution.

For more inspiration, see our IBSx 2021 Show Village New, New Home” collaboration. It could be built using any or all of the above and you would never know the difference from traditional framing.

We will be diving deeper into these strategies and more at our April Building Products Strategy Event and Networking and during future New Home Trends Institute events.

Please reach out to Tim Seims or Todd Tomalak for more information on material constraints and details on substitutions. Contact Lesley Deutch or Ken Perlman for other inquiries and great ideas on how to succeed.

 


Tim Seims If you have any questions, please contact Tim Seims, Director of Building Product Intelligence, at (425) 492-0973 or by email.
Todd Tomalak If you have any questions, please contact Todd Tomalak, Principal, at (920) 373-6727 or by email.
Lesley Deutch If you have any questions, please contact Lesley Deutch, Managing Principal, at (561) 998-5814 or by email.
Ken Perlman If you have any questions, please contact Ken Perlman, Managing Principal, at (858) 281-7214 or by email.