Good Planning Prevents Unexpected Surprises

It’s no secret that most building materials have been in short supply the past 18 months. The wood products industry has probably been one of the most unpredictable. One month, lumber is the most difficult to get and pricing has firmed up. The following month, it’s plywood and panel products in short supply with record high pricing. The month after that, both item types are difficult to obtain.

The demand for engineered wood products grew during the pandemic, as renovation and new home construction surged when companies adopted “work from home” policies. The supply of laminated veneer lumber tightened, and distributors were put on “allocation”, meaning they could only purchase a specified volume and no more. Prices increased incrementally and today they hover about 30% higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Laminated veneer lumber pricing seems to have stabilized. However, supply issues are predicted for the next few years. Current LVL producers do not have any additional production capacity planned. No new North American mills are on the horizon, yet demand is anticipated to remain at unprecedented levels.

The Takeaway:
If your project calls for laminated veneer lumber (LVL), no matter the brand name or specie, do your homework and pre-order weeks in advance so you’re not caught in a quandary.  Supply of LVL beams and scaffold plank is anticipated to remain tight through 2022 and well into 2023.


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