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Shortage of pressure-treated wood delaying home, city projects

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 5:26 PM EDT
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(WILX) - Planning to repair an old deck or build a new one? Best of luck.

Pressure-treated lumber that is needed for the job is scarce.

At Legg Lumber, 4000 Hold Road, Holt, they said they started seeing a high demand for treated deck lumber about two months ago and now it’s grown into a shortage of other materials.

“It started with treated decking, four-by-fours and then spilling into picketed fence posts,” said Jon Legg. “It makes me nervous.”

Legg said in his years of work, this kind of shortage has never happened.

“My suppliers tell me they are not getting shipments from their supplier and it sounds like one of the bigger deck supplying mills was shut down for two months because of COVID, which put a real strain on their supply and now it backed up everything,” Legg said.

But at Legg Lumber the phone keeps ringing.

“We had 24 voice mails this weekend asking for treated deck boards and people aren’t even asking about the price,” Legg said.

That price, Legg said, has more than doubled.

“Before you could buy a four-by-four for around $9,” Legg said. “Now, right now, we are retailing them at around $19.”

That’s if Legg Lumber can get it.

“I have had some on order for 2 months,” Legg said. “Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don’t.”

This inconsistency is even pausing projects for the Capital Area Housing Partnership, 600 W. Maple St., Lansing, an organization that creates homes for single families and ramps for senior citizens.

“Our ramps are built with that deck boarding and we just can’t find that right now in a 60 mile radius,” said Rawley Van Fossen of the CAHP.

For now, Van Fossen said they are able to give out three temporary metal ramps for seniors, but they are worried that won’t be enough.

“We have folks beyond that, that still need the help, so we are concerned that we are going to reach a point that we have all of our temporary ramps deployed and no lumber coming in, we will have to tell people unfortunately they will have to wait,” said Van Fossen.

Legg’s advice: be patient and if you can get your hands on any treated lumber it, get it now. It’s unclear how long this shortage will last.

Legg Lumber said their suppliers hope to catch up on treated deck lumber by October.

In the meantime, the local business is working to sell composite decks to keep up their sales.

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