Enter your zip to
find local pros.
Roofing Resources

The 2021 Lumber Shortage's Impact on Your Roofing Project

Between the coronavirus and remote work becoming the norm, many homeowners are opting to take on home improvement projects they have been putting off, like roof, window, and siding replacements. DIYers and contractors have found themselves roaming the aisles of hardware stores for lumber. But as they walked those aisles, they got sticker shock—in some places, the cost of lumber has increased fivefold. If you have been reading the news, you might already know that a lumber shortage in 2021 is causing wood prices to skyrocket.

Why is lumber so expensive? When can we expect lumber prices to finally come down? Keep reading to investigate the impact the 2021 lumber shortage may have on upcoming roofing and other home improvement projects.

Table of Contents

Why is There a Lumber Shortage in 2021?

During the global pandemic, Americans saw a number of necessities fly off the shelves. Toilet paper, sanitation and cleaning products, produce, red meat, and lumber were all sparse. When the shutdown happened, it impacted production at lumber mills both domestically and overseas, as well as the industry’s ability to move product from one place to another. The result has been a long-lasting lumber shortage.

wooden shingle roof

Spending more time at home, many also took on more home improvement projects. Homeowners built extensions for home offices, or even invested in new-construction homes. It was all a perfect storm for a lumber shortage, which we are still feeling the effects of today. In a survey, the National Association of Home Builders found that there has not been a shortage of this magnitude, at least since they started tracking the supply chain in the 1990s.

Canada is a huge supplier of lumber to the United States. Their ability to keep up with demand has been hampered even before the pandemic, thanks to a beetle. Usually tempered by cold weather, with warmer winters, mountain pine beetles have ravaged the forests of British Columbia, impacting 44 million acres of woodlands. Before this infestation, half of Canada’s lumber exports went to the United States.

How Much Did National Lumber Prices Increase?

With increased demand and lower supply comes increased pricing. In May 2021, the price of lumber per thousand board feet skyrocketed from $250 to more than $1,400, according to NAHB. This means that the cost to build a single-family home has increased more than $30,000.

Not only does this impact people trying to buy lumber, but the National Law Review notes that contractors are now not able to complete projects at the cost they had originally quoted their clients. In one case, the cost of a couple’s home project increased almost 50% in light of the lumber shortage.

Have Other Building Materials Been Affected?

It’s not just roofing and projects that require lumber that have been impacted by the shortage. The NAHB also found that the nation is also seeing a shortage of appliances, windows and doors, steel beams, insulation, roofing materials and more. These items have also skyrocketed in price.

When Will Lumber Prices Go Down?

Thankfully, we are already seeing the price of lumber decrease. This summer, Forbes reported that the cost of lumber dropped about $200 to around $1,113 per thousand board feet. This is possibly because the demand has decreased as people are turned off by the price. The higher prices also incentivized the industry to produce more lumber.

While the cost is still exponentially higher than the normal cost of lumber, it gives contractors, builders and homeowners hope that the cost will eventually settle for that new roof.

The Lumber Shortage’s Impact on Roofing Projects

Although national lumber prices are improving, you may still feel the effects of the lumber shortage if you are starting a roofing project. Because the cost of lumber is so different compared to previous years, it will likely be more challenging to budget for your roof repair or replacement.

Roofing professionals should be well aware of the lumber shortage’s impact. When connecting with contractors, ask for transparency in current lumber prices and ask for an up-to-date quote. Be aware that lumber prices are in a state of flux, so you may need to ask for an update roofing quote if you let some time pass after first receiving it.

Keep tracking lumber prices and look out for further declines in pricing. Experts are predicting prices to continue to lower and supplies to increase in the coming weeks to months. As of the time of writing this article, lumber prices have reduced by 30% to 50%, which means now might be the right time to pull the trigger on your roofing project.

Find today's best prices for your
home improvement project.