Pandemic Projects & COVID-19 Causing Northland Lumber Shortage
This last week I finally had the time, money, and motivation to build our backyard lower deck. It's been a project I've been meaning to get to for the last few years, but now being stuck at home and going stir crazy I decided to get it done. Apparently this is the case with a lot of people because we have a pretty significant lumber shortage.
It started right away when I was planning out the frame work. I was going to make the beefier part of the frame with doubled up pressure treated 2x8's. I could find some, but not at the length I wanted so I needed to adjust my plans. I looked at "thickdeck" (5/4) boards for decking and saw that there were not nearly enough for what I needed for my project at my local store so I figured I'd build the frame and worry about decking later. They had the option to order lumber so I figured I'd check back when I was ready for deck boards. That was a mistake.
So I got the frame built, and there were a few boards I had to go to different lumberyards to find. Everything in one spot was clearly not going to happen. At one point early in the project I was able to order green treated deck boards, but the next day I didn't have the option. So I called and asked if I could order decking boards, and I was told no. The reason is because the mills are not keeping up with demand, and they have no idea when product is going to be available.
So here I was needing to figure out a way to finish this deck. I ended up finding a place that had 2x6 pressure treated boards that were 14 foot in length. All of the other lengths were sold out. So desperate, I bought them and borrowed a trailer and loaded them up and finished the project. This lumber is more solid and will be a better deck, but the cost is a lot more than I had expected.
If you're going to take on a project, make sure you check lumber availability first and then plan your project accordingly. It's really scarce out there. I've talked with some friends that work as contractors, and they are running into the same problems. Once again, it's another surprise 2020 has thrown at us.