High price of lumber has people looking at alternative materials

Local News

In the past composite materials were much more expensive than lumber, but now it's not a huge difference

(WKBN) – It’s no secret there are a lot of shortages and price increases on materials, including lumber. But what can people do if they still want to build an outdoor space?

Stephen Carouthers from CMC Builders said composite materials have become popular. At one point, composite was considerably more expensive than lumber, but now the difference is “pennies on the dollar.”

“I’m telling people right now, one of the cheapest things you can do is concrete,” Carouthers said. “Paver stones are a little less expensive than that as well. If you’re doing something low to the ground, right now, concrete’s probably the best option for you or the paver stones.”

Carouthers said concrete prices have gone up slightly and hang around $130/sq. yd., but compared to lumber it is still cheaper. He said a $1,500 concrete patio would cost around $3,000 to $4,000 in lumber.

Looking beyond the deck and further into the backyard, it’s not uncommon to find a swing set. According to Greg Spagnoletta from Swing on Playsets in Girard, they use wood, poly and composite materials to build their sets.

“The prices are going up but the people are still buying,” Spagnoletta said.

He said they’ve seen a price increase of over 25% in the past three weeks on materials but sales for swing sets are 150% higher than years past.

“It goes from shipping, from employment, right from the bottom line,” Spagnoletta said. “You’ve got to look at workers. You need workers to make everything, and if you’re short on workers, you’re not getting your material.”

Spagnoletta said they also manufacture glass blocks and have seen a 50% increase in orders, but like Carouthers, he is having trouble getting more workers.

“Everyone and their brother is looking to hire right now. We’re in the same boat, we’re trying to work with what we’ve got. As far as being busy, oh yeah, we’re absolutely busy,” Carouthers said. “It seems like everybody’s busy, and there’s plenty of work to go around.”

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