Coronavirus: Nationwide lumber shortage affecting local businesses

If you’re doing any ‘Do It Yourself” or home improvement projects, you may run into a problem. The coronavirus pandemic has caused a nationwide shortage in treated lumber.

“A lot of people who have been laid off or are spending more time at home have discovered projects to do,” Alan Pippenger, who is the owner of Requarth Company in downtown Dayton, said.

Pippenger said with lumber being in high demand, it’s becoming harder to find.

“There is a shortage. The worse shortage is in the preservative treated lumber that people use to build,” Pippenger said.  “We are having a terrible time getting it here. It’s been the one item we can’t find at any price. When a truck comes in, it’s quick to go right back out.”

Pippenger told Newscenter 7′s Katy Andersen there is a number of reasons for the lumber shortage. The main reason being when the pandemic first hit, lumber mills cut back on production.

“Companies cut back on their spring buys. Treating plants didn’t treat lumber because they expected demand to fall over the summer,” Pippenger said.

Instead, it became the summer for home improvement projects. Now that lumber mills cannot keep up with demand, prices have soared.

“For a lot of items, increases of 25 to 50 percent aren’t unusually in lumber and building materials right now,” Pippenger said. “So yes, prices are up.”

But Pippenger added there is some relief in sight. “I would expect you to see prices go down sometime September or October. Unlikely in August. Most of the mills are booked into August now, so you could see some relief in the fall unless something intervenes.”

Katy Andersen

Katy Andersen

I joined WHIO's team in September 2019. You can catch me on News Center 7 when I anchor Saturdays at 6 a.m., 8 a.m. and Noon, Sundays at 6 and 11 p.m., and while I am reporting during the week.