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High Cost Of Lumber Impacting Utah’s Small Construction Companies

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The cost of lumber has been putting a strain on construction across the country. In Utah, the problem has trickled down, affecting small businesses in the housing industry.

Designers have always said it’s a good investment to redo your kitchen, which means getting new countertops and cabinets.

A local cabinet company said with the recent lumber inflation prices and the building boom in Utah, homeowners might have to wait a while for that project to get done.

“These are the flat panels,” said Mandy Bird with Millcreek Cabinet and Design.

Styles come and go as Millcreek Cabinet and Design has seen over the last four decades.

“This one is very popular,” said Bird.

One thing they haven’t seen is record-high lumber pricing.

“It’s increased about 5 to 10%,” said Bird.

Bird said their businesses have been impacted by the nearly 200% increase in lumber costs, but construction companies are getting the worst of it.

“Part of it is just the availability of the product because there is so much construction going on,” she said.

Lumber mills COVID restrictions are what experts said led to the debacle with availability. But Bird is still trying to figure out a simple answer to the drastic increase in business the company has seen.

“We have gone from a 12-week lead time to an eight-month lead time,” said Bird.

Some of their competitors have quoted projects even further out — around a year before they could be finished.

In the final quarter of 2020, Housing Heat Index reported from Bankrate.com that Utah had the hottest housing market, including new builds.

“We work with some plumbing and electrical folks as well that are also seeing this kind of growth,” said Bird.

So if you’re in need of cabinets, Bird said to plan ahead.

One lumber yard said they have seen about a 20% increase in sales compared to this time last year. They don’t know when they will see a drop in these prices or when there will be a drop in the construction.

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