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I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

03/23/2021 7:38 AM

The other day I was at Menards with my son in the back corner of the store where gutters, insulation and various panels are kept. Basically the most empty part of the store. I was reaching for a red corrugated panel of all things.. and my right hand ring finger brushed the edge of the immovable object (galvanized corrugated panel) in the next bin. Low and behold my finger split open looking a bit like Beaker from the Muppets and bleeding a bit like Julia Childs bit from the old SNL...

Of course I went about my panel wrestling and selection without so much as a wince. I was grumbling that I needed just one good one panel, and that so many of these were scuffed and dusty. As I went about the business of pulling them down and shuffling them. I was thinking to myself.. At least we're alone in this part of the store. Within a second of the thought Murphy's law struck and a guy appeared behind us expectantly waiting to look at the same dusty old red panels in the empty part of the store... I'll spare you the rest..

That's not what made me cry. (almost, but I did enjoy a wine)

A few aisles away I went to check the current lumber prices, and it was not good.

$7.09 2"x4"x8' pine!!! A year ago the same piece of wood would have been under $3 with some beautiful b grade's 2x4's found under $2!!

I "hear" it's all about mills being closed due to the pandemic, and even "stories" about people buying for "pandemic projects" and driving prices up?? I don't see that.

I don't live where the mills are, and it all seemed to happen at once (at the beginning of the pandemic) in every store with all lumber?? Not only has it stayed that way, but prices are still rising?!?!

I can't imagine being a builder right now? Does anybody have an ear to the sawblade? The shelves are stocked with lumber and few people are buying it like they used to.

What are lumber prices like in your country? Have they been effected the same way? What other industries is this happening in? Thoughts, ideas, reality theories?

Is this just an industry wide price hike? Designed to make us feel relived if the prices drop from where they are now to something still way higher than it was before the pandemic?

To put it into perspective, an average yard for an average homeowner with an average wood fence could expect the material budget for a really nice new fence to be about $1000.00. That, plus a couple days of labor. (easy enough to swallow) ... Now the material estimate would be oh say... two to three thousand?!. Cough cough choke!! (Maybe next year)

In Michigan I met a guy who would bring his sawmill to your felled trees and whip out 2x4s for about a buck. .20(per board ft) (he claims he was retired too!!! Toughest old B you ever met!) That was just a couple years ago when gas was actually higher than it is now, but ...Carona!

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#1

Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store.

03/23/2021 11:58 AM

In the early part of April last year (2020) lumber prices hit a multi year low of around $263 per thousand board feet, since then prices have been rising and volatile, now sitting around $1000., so lumber prices have nearly quadrupled in the last year.... some other commodities acting the same...

https://tradingeconomics.com/commodity/lumber

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#2
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store.

03/23/2021 1:35 PM

Coronascalping going on???

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#3
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store.

03/23/2021 2:45 PM

Very sticky legal area....I guess a case for either could be made, free market pricing, or price gouging...I think the question of essential items comes into play, how essential is the item in question certainly could throw the argument one way or the other...

Then again builders might consider the items more essential than other people...but generally speaking large consumers of commodities usually hedge their essential materials in the market by trading options....I have to come down on the side of fair market value in this instance...

https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/supply-and-demand-or-price-gouging-an-ongoing-debate

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#4
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store.

03/23/2021 3:43 PM

"The recent increasing price of lumber may be the single biggest threat to affordable housing in the United States, not to mention the threat it poses to the U.S. economy. Covid-19, which spurred an upsurge in home renovation projects and a drop in financing rates for new home builds, has caused a contemporaneous increase in lumber consumption and decrease in lumber production. This has caused a historical rise in lumber prices, to the point of crisis.

At the outset of the virus, many lumber mills made predictions that home building and other projects would come to a screeching halt and understandably made cuts to staffing and production. Now, however, lumber mills are scrambling to keep up and simply do not have the staff to fill the market demands. Lumber mill employment has only rebounded by about half, while housing construction employment is almost 100% back to normal levels.

While builder confidence is strong with sales and construction projects following suit, there is a shortage of domestic lumber to support the increased demand. This has caused lumber prices to increase by 130%(as of Oct 19, 2020) since mid-April of 2020. Increased lumber pricing is driving housing prices up by an average of $16,000.00-$17,000.00 throughout the country, and there is still continued demand for newly built homes.

The U.S. Government is leaning on the U.S. Lumber Coalition to work together to mend the supply chain and increase domestic production, while also seeking trade agreements with Canada and other foreign producers to help alleviate the domestic demand and inflated lumber prices.

But what can be done while politicians politic? Adding escalation clauses to project contracts that contemplate lumber can provide some relief. An escalation clause kicks in when the price of lumber (or another commodity) increases beyond a certain percentage. Once that threshold is met, the increased costs are passed down to the consumer to protect profit margins and ensure project viability."

https://www.constructionlawinsights.com/2020/10/hedging-against-the-lumber-crisis/

http://www.michaelcarliner.com/HE9407-Lumber-Futures.PDF

https://www.indeed.com/q-Lumber-Mill-jobs.html

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#5

Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

03/24/2021 11:00 AM

I just did a job for a fencing company owner who told me he had to switch from redwood to pressure treated because of the price and the lack of redwood available. We live in the Redwood Empire of Northern California and we can't get redwood? I don't think that is just markets. I don't see any logging trucks on the highway either and that's not usual.

The trees are valuable no mater what area they come from or why they came down, so we even see trucks hauling north out of Marin county with slide-fall and inter city removal of overgrown trees being taken to mills up north in Mendocino. West Sonoma County and Mendocino County have managed logging and cuts year round. You can usually see a logging truck once a day, I havn't been seeing them at all lately.

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#6
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

03/24/2021 12:01 PM

The same for us here in El Dorado County. Usually see two to three a day rolling down the 50 to the mills, currently zero on the roads. However with the high winds lately and the 3 trees down on the property two of which are Heritage Oaks and one 60' Fir. I have thought about purchasing a portable mill. The wife said she wants a new chicken coop, Barn for the goats (which we don't have yet, nor do I want) and some fencing to keep the Deer out of her new garden...I guess she does not like the Temporary (a year now) orange fencing I put up with the "T" posts.

These usually become fire wood for the insert but lots down so hey fire wood and barn.

Besides I have the chain saws and wood shop so hey it could be fun in my spare time....cough cough....

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#7

Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

03/24/2021 12:46 PM

We saw something similar with some woodwork projects I did for my wife's school. Material costs for white lumber - the nice clean boards suitable for cabinetry - went up substantially. My labor rate remained the same $0/hour so no way to shave costs there.

It's basic supply/demand though. Lumber producers misread the impact of Covid on them and reduced capacity while demand actually went up. IMO the lumber industry is probably low risk for disease exposure though, at least until in the retail establishments.

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#8

Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

03/24/2021 2:07 PM

With lumber prices being the way they are, I have put a hold on planned projects. There are some things I have to do, and I wince when I look at the prices, but . . .

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#9

Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

03/24/2021 3:04 PM

Southern BC Canada - a couple days ago I needed 1"x4" x8ft strapping for a crate - I expected about $2 or $3 per piece - it was almost $8/piece.

The prices for plywood and dimensional have skyrocketed over the last year. January 2019 time frame, pulp and paper mills were curtailing due to lack of chips from the saw mills. Saw mills were shutting down due to lack of demand. The problem started pre-pandemic.

With increased lumber demand and a slow response from production to the demand, fiber costs are escalating - so expect the cost of paper (and cardboard boxes) to start escalating in cost also.

The paper mills are starting to come back online, but the fiber cost is very high for now.

It may take a few years for things to stabilize again - that is the "problem" with a free market - it can take heavy swings.

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#10

Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

04/05/2021 2:03 PM

Methinks inflation, due to the extraordinary increase in the money supply, has quit a bit to do with any price increase. House gave themselves a $43,000 stimulus check on the first go round, their staffers got 10, don't know what the Senate stole. Or what they got in the other two. I'm quite certain their families will all receive "enhancement" checks from the foreign aid they gave away.

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#11

Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

05/11/2021 2:26 PM

Also,during the pandemic, a lot of people where dyi’ng on project.

fear not,... since there’s money to be made in lumber, you can bet, loggers and sawmills are cranking up their facilities...

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#12

Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

05/11/2021 6:59 PM

Yup, The redwood mills in Cloverdale CA are humming. I was there today and passed two logging trucks on the way from West Sonoma County full of Redwood.

Looks like the supply is coming back and the mills are gonna make bank at current prices.

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#13
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

05/11/2021 8:18 PM

And that's good because if they all are thinking that way, we can get supplies and hence prices back to normal expensive instead of abnormal expensive.

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#14

Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

05/11/2021 11:06 PM

Price parity....faster, cheaper, stronger...

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#15

Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

05/12/2021 2:44 AM

Go steel....

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#17
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

05/12/2021 4:14 PM

Things are cyclical,...

I recall in 1982, we bought a new sawmill, we had a choice between a wood frame and a steel from. My dad decided on a wood frame because it was quite a bit cheaper.

A few years later, the market dropped out, and steel was cheaper than wood, while wood prices.

just wait,... the loggers and sawmills are making while the money’s good, soon lumber will flood the market and the price will dropp... temporarily,... because by then we’ll be paying $5.00/gal for gas.

what a wonderful world, eh...

I have to be careful, that I don’t infer any comments that could be construed as racist by the ‘woke’ generation, but I’m sure I have.

Interesting tidbit I heard from my accountant about the ‘woke’ generation,... but that’ll be for the break room.

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#18
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

05/12/2021 6:38 PM

After destroying the country, you get to claim credit for making it better when things improve in spite of what you're doing.

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#16

Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

05/12/2021 3:30 AM

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#19

Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

05/21/2021 9:22 PM

Looks like it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Sawmills are closing down due to lack of logs...

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#20
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

05/24/2021 12:28 PM

Shoot. I was trying to delay my projects for when the prices came back down to earth.

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#21
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

05/24/2021 1:27 PM

If it makes you feel any better... your not only on those thoughts...

With the prices they are right now... I can wait.

but you can bet, those loggers will be busting their butts to get in the woods... if they can get the people off the government unemployment dole. Which will be soon, with some of the states eliminated the COVID relief adder to the unemployment checks.

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#22
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

05/24/2021 1:43 PM

I am beginning to think that the COVID adder checks to unemployment is just a sneaky way of raising the minimum wage and drive inflation through the roof.

Say goodbye to the value of your retirement savings.

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#23
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

05/24/2021 1:55 PM

My retirement is devaluing as we speak... but hey,... “help is on the way?

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#24
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

05/24/2021 3:13 PM

Like many have said before, we don't need the government's help, we need government to get out of the way.

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#35
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

07/01/2021 1:04 AM

Mine is doing great - perhaps you need better investments.

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#37
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

07/01/2021 4:40 PM

Even if your investments are positive, which most are, inflation is reducing the spending power of those dollars. That's the easiest way that the government can tax your savings. Print more money, drive inflation up, and voila, your savings are now worth less.

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#38
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

07/02/2021 10:33 AM

Same was said in the late 1990’s. Even though the the reason are different. In the 90’s it was all on paper before the bust.

In 2020, It the momentum that’s doing great from a hot economy and reasonable available resources. That ended.

even though investments are doing good... and that’s where the focus will be on... inflation and higher taxes will more then offset it.

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#25

Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

06/13/2021 9:16 AM

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#26
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

06/14/2021 4:44 PM

Wow, now that's a spike...nearly 700%

Current quote $1059.20

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#27
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

06/14/2021 4:50 PM

I have to say,... lumber prices for logs was dismal... where for the smaller operations, IMO, they were only going at it to basically break even to pay their creditors... if they closed down,...they would have left the creditors in the lurch.

unfortunately... I had planned on some dyi’ing based on the lower price.

also, I’m glad you weren’t offended by my post like some of our more fragile ‘woke’ members here would be.

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#28
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

06/14/2021 8:30 PM

I have a small project (building some custom multi-piece car ramps to raise the front and rear of the vehicle) that I could not delay because I need to pull the transmission out of my Sprinter to replace the torque converter because it won't lock-up (Code 2783). People seem to think because Merecedes-Benz are so expensive that they are high quality. This Sprinter only has 50,000 miles. Ugh.

I purchased the lumber from Lowes in Waynesville, VA yesterday.

Nine 2x4's, one 2x6, and three 2x10's all 8 ft long. $135 plus tax with the 10% military discount. Ouch.

That would have been about $65 a year ago.

Finishing the basement is going to wait. Maybe forever.

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#29
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

06/14/2021 10:32 PM

I’ll vouch that about MB, I just had my oil pan changed because, it rusted through?... so they say.

add to that, I’ll also say this about Porsche... they poorly designed car, but they are well engineered... (to get around the poor design)

and I like to do what our ‘woke’ members overdo, and its this... ‘sigh’.

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#39
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

07/15/2021 7:38 PM

When we logged off a section, we’d get prices for the select and #1 logs (hardwood) where we’d ship out, and keep the #2’s and #3’s maybe and the softwood logs for ourselves…

Those prices that you’d show was unbelievable for construction was better then some species of hardwoods in the log. I have no idea what hardwood prices were,… but I’m glad pricing are dropping.

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#30

Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

06/16/2021 7:26 PM

Looks like the fever broke, and the diy’rs are returning to their jobs where lumber prices are coming down...

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#31
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

06/17/2021 4:43 AM

Haven't they heard? The UK's not in the EU any more.

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#32
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

06/17/2021 6:26 AM

Those bastards, ... I’ll have a talk with them.

in the mean time, try this....

or this,...

or this,...

or this,..

or this...

Or taking another Avenue... when I get back to my computer... I’ll copy and paste the article...

and if that doesn’t work... well...

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#33
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

06/17/2021 8:30 AM

All the same I'm afraid, and I've tried half a dozen more by searching for

"cost-of-lumber-tumbles-after-record-high-prices"

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#34
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

06/17/2021 10:32 AM

Those were all news organization... there a video... I’ll copy paste the report and look for a general outlet... that may cross the borders... or in this case, the pond.

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#36

Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

07/01/2021 1:40 AM

Lumber at $716 still up around 300% from lows...but down over 50% from highs...

https://tradingeconomics.com/commodity/lumber

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#40
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Re: I Almost Cried at the Hardware Store

07/21/2021 4:47 AM

Lumber now around $542. ...

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