'I don't know if I can afford that' Local wallets feeling impact of lumber price hikes

Posted at 6:15 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 18:18:13-05

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The price of lumber is through the roof, and homeowners are taking notice.

"The biggest response [after they are quoted a price] is 'I don't know if I can afford that,'" said Marc Aguilar.

Aguilar is the construction superintendent for Steamatic of Virginia Peninsula. He said the pandemic, coupled with the recent storms in Texas, has caused lumber prices to surge.

"A regular piece of OSB (Oriented Strand Board) plywood at the beginning of last year was probably $20. I saw that in one of our stores the other day -- it was $47, so it was more than doubled," he said.

Aguilar said because people are spending more time at home, they are also more likely to start a home renovation project, like adding a new deck or fencing.

"[People are saying], 'I never noticed that we have a crack in the wall. I never noticed that the side of our house is rotten.' So they've got time, they're noticing things, they're calling us up, you know, and they want us to get things done," he said. "It's supply and demand."

As has become evident in the past year, the demand can be a doozy.

Aguilar said if you are quoted a certain price by a contractor, it may be a good idea to sign a contract at that price. He said in the course of a few months he saw one quote rise $3,000 based on the market.

However, if money doesn't grow on the trees in your yard, you may want to hold off altogether until prices come back down, the materials are readily available and there aren't supply chain constraints.