Lumber supplier usually has 30-45 days worth of supply, now it has 3-5
October 12, 2020 | 2:21 pm CDT
WICHITA, Ks. - The ongoing lumber shortage is still one of the industry's most dominant issues.
We've written about big and small construction companies who are feeling the supply crunch, which began soon after the COVID pandemic took hold. The pandemic caused a big decrease in supply, as well as an increase in demand - likely spurred by homeowners opting to renovate while they're stuck at home.
One company, a lumber supplier in Wichita, Kansas, usually has a 30-45-day supply of material. Now, it's down to just 3-5 days' worth, according to KSN News.
Mill Creek Lumber employee Jay Robinson said the company has had to do lots of substituting and scrambling. Whether it's framing lumber, decking, or siding material, job sites have been waiting. 
It isn't just suppliers feeling the shortage.
Employees at the small, family-owned Wichita Fence Company told KSN that larger companies are buying out most of lumber in the area, forcing some smaller owners to choose between paying bills and ordering more inventory. Greater buying power is a big deal.
Nova Scotia-based Rooftight Construction president Scott Smith said that his company has been much busier than usual over the past few months, but a lumber shortage is causing a bottleneck. Pressure-treated lumber is especially hard to come by, he said.
U.S. firm Bulldog Fence said it has had to delay several of its customers' projects, as it has been unable to find pressure-treated wood. The Florida company said the local Home Depot and Lowe's have bare shelves.
We wrote about how Rhode Island lumber business Coventry Lumber is seeing extreme demand for its pressure-treated wood. Demand began rising early April, the same time the pandemic really took hold. The company is doing whatever it can to fill the need. It said in late March demand was very low, and the company even pulled back on production.
Lumber prices are up 134 percent from last year - which adds up to around $14,000 extra per house, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
The median price of new homes sold in July was $330,600, up $22,300 from last July. according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. 
The NAHB thinks the issue is urgent enough to warrant White House intervention. The Association penned a letter to President Trump, urging him to call on domestic lumber producers to ramp up production. 
Besides the pandemic, wildfires on the West Coast are playing a big role in the shortage. More than a million acres of forest burned over the past two months.
Hurricane Laura devastated the state of Louisiana, causing $525.4 million in damage to Louisiana farmers and $1.1 billion to the state's timber industry. It may be one of the most damaging storms to agriculture the state has seen.
2020 has certainly been an eventful year.


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About the author
Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at [email protected]