Lumber Update – March 2018

By Paul Rogers,

A turbulent February was not what anyone was expecting, but it’s exactly what we got: weather conditions and high demand exacerbated an already over-taxed transportation system, leading to panic buying and leaving buyers with needs that could not be satiated. Of course, this situation is not an entirely new one as there is little opportunity for correct predictions nowadays: the market has been reacting and over-reacting for most of the past year due to tariff threats, trucking shortages and a burgeoning home building market. Nonetheless, this last run-up took the breath away from many in the supply chain as the unprecedented activity for this early in the year was not on anyone’s radar. For those of us who follow a strategy of averaging costs by not starving or bloating inventories based upon market conditions, the cost implications were controlled but modest increases were still necessary. Pricing has since plateaued (as mills are actively looking again to build up their order files), but we could likely see another rally by month’s end as building season officially kicks off with the onset of spring.

Although it is easy to get caught up in talking of the woes of the market, we can’t take for granted how fortunate we are to have business, and lots of it. How fortunate are we to be living through a building renaissance, in which social media and television shows are inspiring hundreds of thousands of current and future home owners with ideas that are creative, aesthetically pleasing and profitable?  Many of us often reminisce of the homes we grew up in, with avocado colored appliances, wall paneling and rattling window sashes that needed to be held up with sticks. The average homeowner in those days didn’t have a fraction of the options available to them today, and design trends that would come and go (popcorn ceilings, pickled cabinets) would go a lot more slowly than they would today. It is amusing to watch home improvement shows where new potential home-buyers will easily cry out that they cannot live in a house with a linoleum kitchen floor or a bathroom with one sink. Let’s be grateful that our industry, in the midst of a housing boom, has embraced style, design and function to whole new levels and has worked tirelessly to meet the consumer’s demands, but let’s be even more grateful to the consumers who are willing to pay a little more to get exactly what they want.

Our collective challenge is to keep the momentum going by keeping the pressure on our industry to keep costs in check, to avoid budget-cutting or, even worse, discourage building. We work tirelessly to address and question every price increase that comes our way, and know that it’s our duty to you to do just that.  In addition, we clip out the peaks and valleys of costs and honor our quotes for 30 days so that there is a lesser impact on your project. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the effects the market may have on your current or future projects, please do not hesitate to contact your Shepley sales person. Thank you for your business!


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