Why are the price of construction materials booming?

The price of many different things is on the rise, and building materials that architects use in their projects are not an exception. 

Lumber is a common material used in renovations and building houses. It is something that most people will have to consider the cost of when planning things out. 

To give you an idea of just how much the price increased, lumber was hovering around $400 per thousand board feet in normal times, but surged to about $1,500 per thousand board feet at it’s peak in 2021. That would be about a 275 per cent increase. 

Board feet can be confusing to some, as it is different to the typical measurement we use such as square feet. Instead of a two dimensional measurement that square feet would be, a board foot would be the volume of the wood by square feet. 


The three dimensions should be in inches. For example, let’s say you have a piece of lumber that is 96 inches (eight feet) long, three and a half inches wide and two inches deep. 96 x 1.5 x 3.5 = 504 board inches. Since it is feet that we are looking for, take 504 and divide by 144. That would give us 3.5 board feet. 

If the price of lumber is $400 per thousand board feet, that particular piece of lumber would be worth $1.40. When it was $1,500 per thousand board feet, that piece would have been worth $5.25. 

One particular reason about why the cost is so high would be a basic economic principle called supply and demand. 

What is causing the supply to be lower? Well, COVID-19 would be the broad answer to that question. Chopping down wood in order to have it put on the market is human labour. Due to pandemic reasons, there were limits on the amount of people that could gather to do the work. As a result, some mills were shut down and less wood was available. 

The wood also needed to be shipped to a location such as the hardware store, and that was not super affordable. 

What is causing the demand to be so high? Now that people are being forced to work from home, there was demand to improve the area they are being encouraged to stay in by doing renovations. That means that lots of people were purchasing a shortened supply of lumber. 

The cost of housing is currently sky high, and more housing needs to be built in order to alleviate the high prices as much as possible. 

Those building the homes need the wood as much as renovators need it. People are moving away from dense larger cities where pandemics can run wild to smaller cities and small towns and more places to live need to be built to accommodate that. There is also immigration to more developed countries like Canada and the United States, and that drives up the demand for more housing to be built. 

Looking for ways to reduce costs and bring your next project to life?
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