Lumber prices skyrocket during the pandemic, impacting local lumber yards

By: Chelsea Donovan – NORFOLK, Va. – The lumber yard is nearly barren at Burton’s in South Norfolk.

“There has never been anything quite like this,” said owner Bryce Burton.

Burton’s family has owned the business, a staple for contractors for 75 years.

“We provide windows, doors, salt treated lumber to the construction industry,” he said.

But for the past six months, the supply is sparse.

“Everyone in America decided they would build a deck this summer that destroyed the salt treated industry,” said Burton.

It started with the mills who didn’t forecast the big building boom, many even pausing for the pandemic.

“They couldn’t keep up so its been a lack of supply and a major demand problem,” said Burton.

As an example he said a board used to frame a house used to cost $7 a board, and its now sitting at a costly $28 a pop.

Burton also said low interest rates have prompted everyone to want to buy a home but builders can’t afford the new skyrocketing lumber costs or even the wait to get the wood.

“For for the last six months its been hard to nearly impossible on some items to get in a couple days, some you would get in a couple days are taking months,” said Burton.

Burton’s bottom line is also affected by the climbing costs.

“The cost trickles down to contractors, and homeowners and everyone is seeing the inflation,” said Burton.

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