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Finding Alternatives to Building with Lumber

Explore Substitutes for Lumber Framing During the Shortage

Home prices have risen by around $36,000[1] thanks to a protracted lumber shortage constraining the production of new homes. The lumber shortage clashes with a rising demand for new homes as the economy opens and consumers return to their pre-COVID 19 goals to build their own homes. Builders are looking for alternative construction materials that can reduce their dependence on lumber.

Two options have gained traction following a focus on them at a recent National Association of Homebuilders webinar. Cost-effective, energy-conserving structural insulated panels (SIPs) and insulated concrete forms (ICFs) may become long-term alternatives to building with lumber.

Are you eager to build a new home or renovate your existing one? It’s important to find the right homebuilder in the San Jose area. Look for contractors willing to explore innovative ideas to help you stay on budget and finish your construction project on time. Flegel’s Construction is working on finding new lumber suppliers and using alternative materials to keep projects going for clients in San Jose, Cupertino, Santa Clara, Mountain View, and Palo Alto.

Two Alternatives to Lumber Framing for Your New Construction

Here is a brief overview of how ICFs and SIPs could act as framing materials in place of lumber:

  • ICFs are 48” x 16” Styrofoam blocks that interlock like Lego. The blocks have hollow centers to leave room for steel and concrete reinforcement. ICFs are energy efficient, with an  R-value of 23, which is at the high end of the recommended value for walls. In comparison, walls using batt insulation have an R-value of 15. ICFs are only used in walls but similar products are developed for roofs and floors.
  • SIPs are oriented strand board (OSB) with an expanded polystyrene (EPS) core. SIPs require a small percentage of the lumber used for traditional framing. Further, SIPs facilitate construction, resulting in faster build times and reduced waste. SIPs made of fast-growing hardwoods can reduce the overall cost of home construction projects. They have an R-value of 23 to 48, making them one of the most energy efficient building materials available.

Flegel’s Construction is always ready to incorporate new materials to create more cost-effective homes and renovations. Finding alternatives to building with lumber is a huge priority currently!

What’s Causing the Spike in Lumber Prices?

Several factors have contributed to rising lumber costs, including the following:

  • Many mills decreased production during the pandemic due to reduced demand
  • Lumber yards didn’t immediately ramp up production when the housing market rebounded
  • The volatile price of lumber has made it hard to secure supplies from Canada and other alternative markets

Choose an Experienced, Savvy Builder for Your New Home Construction

At Flegel’s Construction, we constantly seek out alternative building materials. Our resourceful construction managers use their years of experience to keep your costs within budget.

Contact Flegel’s Construction for more ideas on finding alternatives to building with lumber in San Jose, Cupertino, Santa Clara, Mountain View, or Palo Alto.


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