timber frame structure being built in rural area

Don’t Let High Timber Prices Stop You from Building

By now, we all know that timber and lumber prices have increased significantly over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that doesn’t mean you have to put your wood building projects on hold. Thanks to building techniques using heavy timber and mass timber / CLT, you have options to keep costs down in the face of high timber prices.

Why Did Lumber Prices Increase During COVID-19?

In the early days of the pandemic, the entire wood supply chain, including harvesting and production, halted. Then, since many of us were stuck at home, we finally started all those DIY projects we had been putting off. And finally, as the world slowly started to reopen, new home construction grew exponentially.

Now that the world is slowly getting back to normal, employers, including lumber plants and construction companies, are having a hard time hiring workers. This slows down the ability of anyone along the supply chain to do their part in supplying lumber and timber to DIY stores and general contractors.

When supply is low and demand is high, prices rise, and this is the case for all commodities, including lumber and heavy and mass timber.

These factors mostly affect the price of SPF, which is the wood of choice for traditional stick-built structures. However, to a lesser extent, they can also affect the price of heavy timber, which is usually made from Douglas fir, and mass timber, which is usually made from Black Spruce.

inside of timber frame construction project with green trees in back

Heavy Timber or Mass Timber / CLT Can Help Mitigate Construction Costs

Moving away from traditional building processes and using heavy timber or mass timber / CLT in your construction project can help mitigate rising wood expenses. While the initial cost of heavy timber, mass timber, and CLT is initially greater, using them can save you money in the long run.

  • Mass timber and CLT use tree types that are fast growing and harvested when they are younger. These harvested trees are then replaced by newly planting the same type of fast-growing tree, so there is a quicker turnover with this type of timber.
  • Heavy and mass timber components are cut to specs and dry-fit in a climate-controlled facility and then erected on-site. This cuts down on construction time and heavy equipment costs on the construction site.
  • Mass timber, CLT, and heavy timber are beautiful in their natural form, so they do not need to be covered by another material. With a protective coating brushed on, this is true for exterior applications too.
  • Mass timber and CLT are lighter than steel or concrete, so foundations can be smaller, leading to lower expenditures on other materials.

It may not be as soon as we would like, but as demand for DIY projects and new homes settles down, wood prices will go down too. In the meantime, consider using heavy timber, mass timber, or CLT for your next building project.

For more information on building with heavy timber or mass timber / CLT, contact us today!

timber frame construction personnel working on project

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