Volatile weather primary cause of recent lumber price hike

Business News

COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — While the pandemic used to be the main reason why the cost of lumber has fluctuated drastically, those in the business tell 12 News it’s now primarily due because of the weather.

Greg Herbert, owner of Evergreen Construction, said the prices have been unpredictable since the pandemic began.

“The wood studs have gone crazy,” Hebert said. “Back in April they were up by 400% increase … it’s 130% above where it was, it dropped in August.”

August is when the price of lumber was the lowest since the onset of the pandemic, according to Evan Finnegan, a purchaser for Coventry Lumber’s parent company Finetco.

Finnegan said ever since then, lumber prices have steadily increased.

“Eastern Spruce and Doug Fir have basically doubled at this point, while the panel products and pressure treated has gone up about 40%,” Finnegan explained.

The price hikes last year were mainly because of shutdowns and low supply caused by COVID-19, according to Finnegan. But this year, he said the prices are going up because of a tough wildfire season and record rainfall.

“In the U.S. Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, they had a pretty tough wildfire season,” Finnegan explained, adding that within the last month, British Columbia has also experienced “tough record rainfall.”

“We can’t get material from British Columbia and the U.S. Pacific Northwest, which is basically the epicenter for Northern American lumber,” he continued. “That is causing the price to rise because there is no supply.”

Despite all of the ups and downs, Nick Rabar is moving forward with his ongoing project. Rabar is currently renovating a building in East Providence into a restaurant.

“It’s very different than it was that we started this 10 years ago,” Rabar said. “But you know, you just learn to roll with it and make the best of what we have.”

Finnegan said other disruptions in the supply chain and worker shortages are also impacting prices, and it’s unclear if the prices will continue to go up or if they’ll drop anytime soon.

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