Examining the many variables which affect the cost of lumber.
You know the feeling, down deep in the pit of your stomach. The suspicion — or even conviction — that you’ve been had. It brings back all those other sinking-feelings-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach moments, like being manipulated by an older sibling just because nickels are bigger than dimes, being overcharged for auto repairs just because you didn’t look like the ‘type’ that would know what a dip stick was, getting less than your grandma’s antique ring was worth just because you needed the money now.
Well, we can’t help you get over your hard feelings toward your opportunistic brother, but we can help alleviate your fears of being charged unjustly at the lumber store — or, at the very least, at our lumber store. J. Gibson McIlvain Lumber has a proven track record that spans generations, and centuries.
While the price fluctuations inherent in the lumber industry may create suspicions on the part of customers, we hope to educate you so you can avoid that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach and so you can buy lumber at the optimal time of year, when possible, in order to save you money while attaining the highest quality possible.
One of the reasons lumber pricing is far from straightforward is that there are so many aspects of an order that come into play. Just for starters, we often ask the following questions, when a customer tells us the basics like species, grade, and number of feet:
• Do you mean board feet or lineal feet?
• What are the widths, thicknesses, and lengths your job requires?
• Do you need a particular grain pattern or have specific qualifications within the requested grade?
• Would you like the order priced for pickup or delivery?
• Do you need any milling or moulding work done?
Hopefully, you at least understand why it’s far from realistic to expect a cut-and-dried price sticker attached to sample orders. Basically, every order is a custom order, so each requires custom pricing.
Since decking lumber is notorious for highly fluctuating prices, we’ll use Ipe decking as an example. Like most tropical hardwoods, Ipe originates in South America, where the seasons are opposite ours. This attractive, highly stable, and long-lasting species has become the most in-demand species for high-end decking projects, and for good reason.
If an order for Ipe is placed in late spring or early summer, our inventory of Ipe will be high. The forces of supply-and-demand mean that the price will be relatively low, and we can easily find the exact sizes and grain patterns requested. However, assembling your order will mean opening various packs from different suppliers. While labor and processing fees for opening several packs will have to be figured into your price, because we have so much from which to choose, we can still find lower-end boards to help you meet your project budget.
Continue reading with Part 2.