Lumber Prices Are At All-Time Highs...
Lumber prices reached their highest point ever in 2021, up 340% from 2020. While lumber may have peaked, experts agree that we may never see pre-pandemic prices for OSB. These inflated prices are making lumber far less attractive as a building material. Modern builders are re-thinking a lot of antiquated ideas about construction materials.
Wood prices vary more than most goods, as both the supply of raw timber and the demand for production-ready wood both fluctuate rapidly. With the additional economic challenges of the last few years, sawmills have been unable to predict or respond to the needs of the market. The timber industry slowed in Spring 2020, anticipating a housing slump; instead, the housing market heated up, resulting in a massive lumber shortage. This in turn delayed new construction, further increasing demand and pushing the price of lumber even higher.
... And Those Prices Aren't Going Away
The long-term outlook doesn't look much better. Despite recent increases in wood production, sawmills are still reeling from the housing crash of the late 2000s, are reluctant to scale up to meet lumber demand. In many cases, they simply cannot afford to scale up facilities and staff. Worse, raw timber production is failing to keep pace with global demand; as timber production shifts to China and the Global South, prices and supply lead times are growing ever longer. Timber production is fuel-intensive, tying lumber costs to the oil markets and cost-push inflation. Finally, concerns about proliferation of wood pests and invasive species have many wondering if wood is simply no longer economically or environmentally sustainable as a primary building material.
Home-building companies are being forced to turn away clients and business because they simply can't source the materials or labor at reasonable prices. Developers are finding home construction is simply less profitable, as the high cost of lumber eats into per-unit revenues. With new home production slowing, the difficult US housing market is only getting worse. Sticker shock is scaring away independent home-builders and home-buyers alike, despite mortgage rates at historic lows.
As the wood and housing shortages grow more critical, there is no end in sight to the high prices of lumber... but there is a better option.
High lumber prices aren't going away, but there is a better alternative: ThermaSteel Structural Insulated Panels. ThermaSteel SIPs are faster and easier to install than lumber, saving costs on installation. They continue to pay dividends in savings on energy and maintenance costs. They're so energy-efficient, the Department of Energy used them as an illustration on ideal Building Energy Code Compliance. If you're a homeowner, that means higher property values and better resale value.
Besides their improved affordability, ThermaSteel panels are also stronger and safer than wood construction. Our 16-gauge panels are damage-resistant, maintenance-free, pest-resistant, fire-resistant, and windproof up to 220MPH. Unlike wood, steel doesn't rot, sag, or degrade over time. ThermaSteel panels are less vulnerable to damage from aging, settling, dry rot, moisture, and pests.
They're also environmentally responsible. Constructed of recycled steel and expanded polystyrene, the entire system is recyclable, and totally CFC- and HCFC-free. The panels are pre-cut to your specification, meaning reduced waste on site and no debris or haul-away costs.
ThermaSteel is, quite simply, a future-facing answer to the problems of lumber construction. Why not contact us for a quote?