With lumber prices falling, this might be a great time to build a deck!
Remember a year ago? When the price for a 2×4 was about 15 dollars after tax, and 2 years earlier it was 5 dollars?
It’s back to the future time!
Spruce lumber is pretty close to the lows that happened as the pandemic began, but, watch for it to crash even further. Housing starts are dropping presently due to interest rates and seizing credit markets.
Cedar decking is back down to around $2.00 a foot, which is a welcomed sight. At its high, it was nearer 4 dollars. Rough-cut lumber stayed fairly stable throughout the last couple of years– that’s why you saw us using quite a bit of larger dimension lumber. It was just easier to fit into budgets.
Pressure-treated lumber has come off substantially but, we are not sure if they have their quality issues addressed or not.
During the pandemic, they were jamming lumber through the mill so fast, and, not maintaining equipment which led to lumber that we couldn’t even build decks from. Canfor was likely the worst offender.
We shipped back a lift of 2×10 that had a negative crown on top and bottom. Doesn’t it just figure it was a site with a big hill that meant we had to haul the lift twice, up, and down– and no, no compensation for our extra work required.
We don’t use much pressure treated to start with– but, when you are framing decks, there isn’t much choice. We advise that you take a good look at the lumber as it comes off the truck. Look for size variation (Height differences of more than 1/8″) and extreme or irregular crown. We always sort lumber as it arrives and crown everything going in, but we have started doing that in the driveway before moving it in recently.
Composite and PVC Decking
Composites and hardware are still a sore spot. They pushed pricing by about 40% through the pandemic and have still not dropped the prices. The lumber companies didn’t want to take the loss either, but, in the end, they saw the writing on the wall and took their pill.
It might take plunging sales for them to move– but, we expect that later in the year.
Locally Milled / Green Lumber
We know that the economy is tightening, and, many people are reducing their project budgets.
For this reason, we are looking for local mills that can supply white cedar/tamarack for rough-cut decks. This is the real “Green” alternative for decks. Permits are challenging but, if that’s not a priority for you, they are perfectly safe and serviceable.
It will look more like a rustic deck– however, if we finish the top surface with a hardwood floor sander and a high VOC finish– the durability might just be better than a treated deck at a lower price point.
Where are prices headed in the future?
We can say with confidence, “Prices will never be cheaper past this season”.
If you are planning a deck or outdoor structure like a pergola or cabana, this is your budgetary window of opportunity. Lumber prices are low enough that profitability is suffering for lumber companies and mills are already curtailing production. Many smaller lumber retailers may not survive– and, beyond this year the pendulum is likely to start swinging again.
We are still building mostly high-end PVC decks and Outdoor Structures– so, if you are thinking about it and need to start the design process in Southern Ontario, please get in touch!
416 951 9998