Universal Supply Co.
 General

October Market Update

Nov 19, 2013

Mild weather and smooth, steady supply distribution have lead to a conventional conclusion of October. A late surge in activity drove prices up only slightly. After a quiet autumn season, traders and buyers alike are looking towards winter with optimism as we now rebound further from the recession and move at a manageable pace. Work with your WBS salesperson to ensure you're equipped with everything you need as you prepare for winter projects.

Cost of Framing Materials Lift, Remain Steady

Costs of framing materials were up slightly in October showing a 2.14% increase from the minor dip we saw last month. Prices are a narrow 3.09% above last year's costs, but are much higher than 2011. This further indicates that last year's price differential was likely the most drastic to occur throughout the housing recovery, with more steady and gradual increases to follow.

Southern Pine Fir Supply Shows Uncertainty

Canada's aggressive SPF harvest program in the wake of the Mountain Pine Beetle devastation has lumber traders bracing themselves for a ripple effect. We're uncertain exactly how it will affect the market, but developments already occurring include the closing of two Western Canadian sawmills, Canfor and West Fraser. As a result, heavy speculative buying has driven prices up and orders out to November in mills across the U.S. and Canada, according to Random Lengths. The impact may not be as significant as many would assume, though. Traders have been prepared, knowing production adjustments were coming due to limited harvest after the beetle kill. Companies across the U.S. and Canada are considering increased production to offset the loss as they were already making plans to increase capacity in North America overall to meet rising demand after the recession.

Mass Timber Makes Gains in the U.S.

The use of mass timber for the creation of large-scale buildings is already widely accepted in Canada and Europe. Now, it's slowly gaining credibility as a cost-effective, sustainable and practical alternative to traditional methods of using concrete and steel. The benefits of switching to mass timber have gained credibility thanks to a recently issued report by a leading U.S. architectural firm in Chicago that has developed a system to construct a 42-story tower primarily using mass timber. Critics of mass framing timber focus on the risk of fire or panel shrinkage over time, but supporters claim sprinkler systems and advanced engineering temper those concerns.

Embracing Universal Design

A myth exists that if a homeowner chooses a universal design for a room layout then they must sacrifice appearance. As reported by JLC Online, universal design is trending, specifically in bathrooms. The concept of universal design aims to help contractors and designers turn rooms into safe, well-planned living spaces. Bathrooms can be hazardous areas with wet, slippery, small spaces with hard surfaces and edges, making them the ideal rooms for universal design elements such as railings, benches, easy-access showers and more. See how some leading design experts are taking universal layouts and outfitting them with a modern and original design.