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Rising Lumber Costs & Superior SIPs Framing Systems

Superior SIPs Framing Systems Help Combat Rising Lumber Costs

By Jeff Beason

If you are building a home, or even a commercial building, I am sure that you have noticed the soaring lumber prices. According to the NAHB, lumber prices have skyrocketed since mid-April, rising 130% (as of December 2020). And they continue to rise. There are many factors affecting lumber prices. Demand has increased while supply has narrowed. And yet, even during this pandemic, the amount of lumber used in construction continues to rise. And this doesn’t even account for the OSB and sheathing products experiencing the same extreme price increases.

With construction still climbing, there are other growing areas placing demand on the lumber industry.  Homeowners are taking on their own projects building decks or backyard seating areas, so they have a place to get outside during these troubled times. Restaurants are building outdoor seating and dining areas also, using more and more lumber. The soaring lumber prices are also attributed to lumber mill shutdowns. Prospective homeowners or commercial property owners are finding themselves scrambling to find alternative building systems amidst these skyrocketing prices.

There are many alternative building systems out there, but you must know by now that I am biased towards one, Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). I have mentioned all the advantages to building with SIPs in my previous blogs, but here are some of the key points.

  • You can build faster with SIPs, especially when you factor in the insulation and sheathing that must be installed after the walls and/or roof are framed with lumber.
  • SIPs already have the insulation and sheathing included.
  • With SIPs the interior and exterior finished are easier and less expensive to install because you have a continuous fastening surface.
  • You can downsize your HVAC if you use SIPs because they are tighter and much more energy efficient than stick framed structures.
  • There is less jobsite waste when building with SIPs as they are fabricated in an offsite facility (less waste means less money spent on waste disposal). And, of course, operating costs.
  • A SIP home or building costs much less to heat or cool.
  • There are many other advantages to using SIPs, but the last one that I will bring up will help you see why building with SIPs is advantageous now that lumber prices are skyrocketing.

Let’s dive deeper into these increasing lumber costs as they relate to framing:

A typical stick-framed home averages a framing factor ranging from 15 to 25 percent of, while a SIP home averages a framing factor of only 3 to 6 percent. The term “framing factor” is widely used to express a percent of the total wall or roof area occupied by framing members (LUMBER). We’ve heard several comments where a 3,000 square foot home is experiencing somewhere between $15,000 – $20,000 in added lumber costs, whereas a SIP home is closer to $5,000 in added cost. If you want to combat skyrocketing lumber prices, just use less lumber and frame your structures with far superior SIPs Systems. It just makes sense.

I built a new home recently. I hired a professional home organizer. She was tough. She wanted me to throw stuff out. I was like, “Nice try. That is not organizing. That is throwing stuff out.” Huge difference between organizing and throwing stuff out. I would never pay someone $400 to help me throw stuff out. I know what a garbage can looks like. I will pay someone $400 to help me organize the stuff….. that I should probably throw out.

There is a best-selling book about home organizing, I think it is called, The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up, something like that. (Which by the way also became a popular Netflix series.) The Author’s main philosophy is to take everything you own, you look at it one by one and think, “Does this bring me joy?”

And if the answer is no, you get rid of it. Based on that, I will be having a bonfire in my backyard. I will start by throwing my refrigerator in the fire. That thing is full of stuff that I needed to get rid of a year or so ago. The last time I cleaned that thing out was before the pandemic. Just before I had company. Sometimes when I have visitors, I stage my refrigerator. I put different items in. I put like six glass waters. “That’s just how I live. Is it different than most people?” “I thought everyone had six glasses of water lined up to the right.” “They don’t do that?” The guests say, “Oh, milk in a glass container!” I say, “I was in a hurry, grabbing stuff, putting it in. I didn’t notice.” Meanwhile, I have been refilling it with cheaper milk for years.

Let us get back to the lumber issue. Lumber prices keep escalating. SIP prices, on the other hand, have only increased by 20% over the same time frame. Because the framing factor (amount of wood used) of SIPs is much less than stick-framing, and because of the other advantages and savings that I mentioned previously, building with SIPs seems like a no brainer.

By the way, if you want to use my home organizer, or need refrigerator staging tips, please contact me here Contact Jeff Beason.  Or if you just have questions about SIPs feel free to do the same.

Jeff Beason

Premier SIPs Expert

Arizona, Nevada & Southern California

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