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Fall is here and with it comes the annual scramble to get projects buttoned up before winter sets in. As par for the course in 2020, this fall may be challenging as material shortages, in all species of lumber and composite deck boards, still loom.

Lumber and sheet good (OSB, plywood) prices rose sharply in 2020 due to a supply and demand shortage. Just when we thought lumber prices could not go any higher, they did and to sometimes astonishing levels. Why is did this happen in the first place? Here is our take on how COVID-19 is affecting the building supply industry.

Early in the year, when the pandemic was new and uncertainly high, many manufacturers made the inaccurate prediction that demand for materials would be low due to nationwide shutdowns. The decision to make and stock less material was the wrong call because manufacturers did not accurately assess what DIY’ers in quarantine would do. With time on their hands and nowhere to go but home, DIY projects exploded.

Examples of this surge were notably seen in the decking market. The price of southern yellow pine treated wood rose to record highs and thus inventory to record lows. Trying to source treated decking, was like looking for a needle in a haystack. The demand for composite and cedar deck boards was equally voracious. All the DIY’ers, in addition to relatively strong single-family construction and remodeling, pushed the limits of what a fully operationally supply chain could produce much less one that was mostly shut down. Yikes!

Unfortunately, for the foreseeable future, we see little relief in sight in terms of product availability. As mills and suppliers struggle to catch up, backorders on decking, siding, and lumber are now commonplace. Additionally, we are seeing extended lead time on trusses, windows, and many other building supply items.

Like many others, you might be dreaming about replacing your deck, swapping out windows, doors, or taking on a winter project by finishing your basement. Whatever building project you may be contemplating, Glenbrook Building Supply is here to help you bring your quarantine induced dream to reality. However, please plan accordingly. It seems many are dreaming similar dreams!

Our thanks to all of you for your patience throughout 2020. Winter always slows things in our industry down a bit. Maybe, with a little luck, it will be enough to get the supply chain back on track. Glenbrook Building Supply, “A Good Place to Find!”