New homes cost $36,000 more because of an epic shortage of lumber
BY MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS
(CNN) — As the pandemic crushed the US economy last spring, sawmills shut down lumber production to brace for a housing slump. The slump never arrived and now there isn’t enough lumber to feed the red-hot housing market. The shortage is delaying construction of badly needed new homes, complicating renovations of existing ones and causing sticker shock for buyers in what was already a scorching market. Random-length lumber futures hit a record high of $1,615 on Tuesday, a staggering sevenfold gain from the low in early April 2020. That’s a big deal because lumber is the most substantial supply that home builders buy. “I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” said Brant Chesson, the president and CEO of Homes By Dickerson, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based home builder. Chesson said his company would love to build more homes to meet surging demand but currently it can’t find the materials, or labor, to do so. “It’s absolutely contributing to a shortage of housing,” he said.
‘This can only last for so long’
And because the housing market is on fire, the lumber shortage is costing many prospective home buyers even more money. Surging lumber prices alone have pushed the price of an average new single-family home $35,872 higher, according to an analysis by the National Association of Home Builders. “While lumber prices have gone up, we have been able to pass it on to the consumer with higher prices for homes,” Jeffrey Mezger, the CEO of KB Home, told CNN Business. “And there is still far more demand than there is supply.” But builders can’t jack up prices forever. “This can only last for so long before affordability becomes pinched and demand pauses,” John Lovallo, lead home builders analyst at Bank of America, said in an email. The median sale price of existing homes surged by a record 17.2% in March to $329,100 — the highest since the National Association of Realtors began tracking prices in 1999.
Lumber is so hot, it’s being stolen
Independent builders, which lack the scale advantages of large construction companies like KB Home, are already feeling the pain. Tom McCarthy can’t finish building a home in Bergen County, New Jersey because of the lumber shortage. “There are pieces of wood that we can’t find,” said McCarthy, a real estate broker with the Chen Agency who also builds homes with his father on the side. McCarthy estimates the cost of lumber for the home will hit $70,000, nearly double the cost of building the exact same home in a nearby town just eight months ago. Some renters are also paying the price. The NAHB estimates that the lumber price spike has added nearly $12,000 to the market value of an average newly built multifamily home — translating to households paying an extra $119 per month to rent a new apartment. The shortage — and price boom — is so extreme that builders report having lumber and other raw materials stolen from their construction sites. “Theft has been huge in our market. We have tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen during the year,” said Chesson, the North Carolina builder.
Saw mills can’t keep up with demand
Today’s shortage has roots in the previous housing boom. New home construction crashed after the housing bubble popped in the mid-2000s. That made sense because the market was badly oversupplied. But the downturn also drove countless sawmills out of business, leaving the industry unprepared for today’s surge in demand. And then Covid happened. Sawmills eased output last spring in anticipation of another bust and as they grappled with heath restrictions. “There was a great fear among sawmills to prepare for a downturn. When home buying surged, they could not open up capacity quickly enough,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors. At the same time, demand for lumber is also being driven by a surge of renovations and expansions of existing homes. But contractors are having trouble finding and paying for lumber, creating another headache for consumers. “It’s a cost that our members can no longer shoulder the burden on,” said David Pekel, CEO of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. “They have to pass the cost on to the homeowner.”
Industry calls on Biden to act
The lumber shortage is just the latest example of how the rapid economic recovery from the pandemic is pushing supply chains to the limit. Manufacturers are desperate for workers. Smartphone, auto and appliance production is being sidelined by a shortage of computer chips. And the lack of tanker truck drivers has raised the specter of gas stations running on empty this summer. In the case of lumber, the shortage is being amplified by tariffs. In one of the first shots fired during the Trump trade wars, the previous administration hit Canada in April 2017 with tariffs of up to 24% on lumber. Late last year, the Trump administration slashed those tariffs to 9%. The home building industry is now urging President Joe Biden to take further action. In a statement to CNN Business, NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke called on the Biden administration to “temporarily remove” the 9% tariff on Canadian lumber “to help ease price volatility.” Fowke also urged the White House to “bring together interested stakeholders to hold a summit on lumber and building material supply chain issues to identify the causes and solutions for high prices and supply constraints.” The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
‘Sharp fall’ in lumber prices ahead?
The good news is that industry executives expect lumber production to catch up with demand — eventually. Samuel Burman, an assistant commodities economist, predicted in a recent note to clients that there will be a “sharp fall” in lumber prices over the next 18 months. “The mills are coming back online. I think we’re past the worst of it in terms of supply availability,” said Mezger, the KB Home CEO. Let’s hope so, because the market desperately needs more supply. “We have a housing shortage in America. The way to relieve that shortage is to build more homes,” said NAR’s Yun. “The housing market has created haves and have-nots. Home builders are smiling big, but first-time buyers are very demoralized.”
When the weather is nice, there’s nothing better than watching your children playing and having fun. Having a playset in your backyard is a way for your family to enjoy the outdoors together while staying home. It doesn’t matter that the playset is a Gorilla, Backyard Discovery, KidKraft, or any other manufacturer, it’s an investment.
As a consumer, you’ve probably done your research when choosing the right playset or swing set for you and your family. This process can be timely and a little stressful so you want the playset to last. You now have your new playset, installed and ready to play on. What’s next? Keeping the playset in great condition and looking like new is important to increase its life.
WHY SEALING IS IMPORTANT
Sealing your wooden playset or swing set will protect it from the various outside elements. Also, most manufacturers require the playset to be sealed for the warranty. With your playset being exposed to the elements, many issues can arise as time goes on. Excessive heat and wind can dry out the wood, causing the pieces to become brittle. Rain and snow can also adversely affect the wood with time.
Sealing the playset will help to prevent mold, sun and water damage. Once the wood breaks down,it can cause injuries from splinters and worn areas It can also cause the playsetto be unstable if the wear is significant enough.
WHEN SHOULD THIS BE DONE
Leisure Installs recommend applying the seal on the day of installation. The seal does require up to 72 hours to dry depending on weather. The playset will not be able to be played on until it’s completely dry.
It can also be done in the future but requires additional steps and typically costs more since it requires two days to complete. If the sealant is not applied at time of installation, then the set must be pressure washed and allowed to dry completely before the sealant is applied. It should also be inspected for any cracks, damage, or splinters and be repaired. Up to72 hours of dry time is still required. This can put the set out of play for up to 5 days.
We know there’s a lot to consider but let Leisure Installs handle the process for you. We are here to help your family enjoy their playset or swing set for years to come.
Installing Family Fun!
Call us or visit our website to schedule your installation and weather sealing today.
If you’re like most people, you and your family are spending a lot more time outside and at home. What’s another great way for your family to all have fun? Get a playset or swing set to enjoy in your very own backyard! Right now everyone is looking for something to keep the kids and themselves busy. Families are getting outside to spend time together, taking the time to pursue hobbies, or completing more home DIY projects. Coupled with demand, wooden playset manufacturers such as Gorilla, Backyard Discovery, and KidKraft are dealing with unprecedented times. Here are some things to be watching for as you build your playset or swing set.
The ability to be at home has had some interesting outcomes! One is we are facing a lumber shortage. This shortage is due in large part to an increase in DIY projects being done as many families are staying home to avoid the pandemic. This lumber shortage is greatly affecting the quality of lumber we are receiving with the playsets. In our 20 years of experience, this is the first time that we are seeing a high rate of parts arriving damaged or not to normal standards (in our opinion). This is affecting all manufacturers and all models, large and small.
When purchasing and assembling a new playset or swing set, it is very important that you examine all the pieces by unpacking first. Examine the posts for deep cracks and splits (some surface cracks and blemishes are expected). If your main support posts or swing beam has deep cracks then the structural integrity of the playset could be impacted. Warping is when the wood is slightly bent and is common with many sets. Many times the piece can be used if it can still be attached. However, it is important to take time with these pieces during assembly to avoid potential splits. Manufacturers typically cover defects in wood and replace them without charge. Failure to inspect the pieces could cause the playset to become unsafe for your family’s use and could lead to injury in the future.
We understand that everyone is excited about having a new playset for their children’s enjoyment. We would be doing you a disservice to continue to assemble the structure without waiting on the replacement parts. These are frustrating times and we ask that you be kind to your installer, even if that installer is yourself.
Many manufacturers have halted production and are now just opening back up. Know that Leisure Installs are taking preorders and will do everything possible to help you find the perfect structure to meet your family’s needs. We install playsets or swingsets purchased by you as well as other structures including basketball goals, sheds, and gazebos.
While things are uncertain, let us take the time to enjoy what we have and have some fun.
Are you a parent looking for something to keep the kids busy while everyone is at home avoiding groups and gatherings? It is unprecedented times as the country addressees the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants, bars, business, schools, daycare, malls, theaters, and even public parks and playgrounds are reducing their capacity to minimize the potential to spread the illness. The upcoming days, weeks and months of families being asked to shelter-in-place means parents need ways to keep children entertained and active. For years, backyard wooden playsets and structures have been a great option! Buying the right playset for your family is important.
But which one?What do you need to know before installing a playset yourself or hiring a professional?
For over 20 years, my husband and I have been installing residential and commercial playsets in the Midwest and Arizona. During this time, I have learned a lot about playset quality, price points, and structural durability.
There are many but a few of the most common wooden residential playset brands are Congo, Backyard Adventures, Cedar Summit by KidKraft, and Backyard Discovery. Lifetime has some great playsets as well but are typically constructed of metal and plastic materials. All of the brands offer sets along the spectrum of price and quality but there are a few items to consider before buying a playset for your backyard.
Here are a few things you need to think about before buying the playset:
More modestly priced playsets use slightly smaller sized corner posts and swing beams. The pieces that make up the sides, tower, and the rest of the playset comes in many smaller, need to assemble pieces. The manufacturer is passing the value savings of the playset down to the assembly through greater deconstruction for shipping. We have noticed the wood has a greater likelihood of splitting during assembly. Investing in a quality playset will ensure you get your money’s worth! The swing beam is always the biggest give-a-way on quality and durability. It is a great day when the box is open and 4×6 swing beam is there! It also means sturdy 4×4 corner posts. We have noticed that the retail price for playsets with these larger parts is slightly higher but it is worth every single penny. Many more affordable options use a 2×6 for the swing bean, 2×4 corner posts and twice as many pieces to put together. Some actually have you install a board to make it look like a 4×4! Typically, cheaper playsets cost more to install as it takes twice the work. If you have a few older children or want to swing with your kids it is important to have a sturdy swing beam. It just isn’t strong enough. Invest in a good product and check the construction!
Playsets typically have two primary roof styles: vinyl or wood. For the most part the roof style is preferential based on look and price point. Vinyl roofs may be more likely to be lost in a strong wind or heavy rain storm but are also easily replaceable. If you do loose one often the local hardware store will have a generic replacement vinyl roof. Wood roofs offer great coverage and will help to protect the deck even longer against sun and weather damage but will require more stain during maintenance. Many modes have add-on features such as a play chimney, working shutters, and window cutouts!
I cannot tell you how many jobs we have had to tell parents we could not do until the yard was better prepared. If the playset’s physical footprint is 16′ by 20′ you actually need 22′ by 26′ of space to meet the recommended 6′ play safety zone standard. We will not install your playset if there happens to be a large rock under the swings or put the playset 2 feet away from a the cinder-block wall. Decorative trim pavers are also often an issue for safety and need to be removed or replaced with rubber ones. We understand not every yard will have exactly 6′ on all sides but we can help you find the safest place with a reasonable amount of safety zone. If you have a small space there are still many options for you to pick from. For example, Backyard Discovery has several playsets with a smaller footprint.
A level play area is important for building your playset. A difference of even an inch is significant and can delay the installation of your playset. For most playsets, the current method of manufacturing assumes installation on a level ground. The playsets cannot be adjusted or modified from the manufacturer’s guidelines nor would you want to make modifications. However, in many cases, the playset can be trenched in the ground but that increases the likelihood of wood rot and will need greater care and attention. Most often we ask you to work with your landscaper to prepare the area to avoid damage to sprinkler lines. Every part of the country has different issues to consider. Spend time preparing the area properly for the safest play zone for your kids!
If you buy a quality set, you can double if not triple the life of the playset with regular maintenance and stain. Hot summers, storms and heavy winds are rough for wooden playsets. Weather sealant every two years will do wonders to protect the life and longevity and look of a playset. If you miss a few years, a solid stain such as Behr’s DeckOver fills in cracks and reduces splinters. It is also important to regularly check the bolts and hardware for the swings and other activities. These can loosen over time with normal wear and tear. We are also noticing significant damage to the base of many playsets due to lawnmowers and weed eaters. These will wear down the structural frame of your playset and cause it to need major repairs or just tossed in the trash.
It is always recommended to add a protective layer or surface for your playset. Rubber playground (6″ depth) mulch is a great option and highly recommended. Pine playground mulch (9″ depth) is also another great surface option for the play area. This helps protect children in case of a fall and minimize the risk of injury. There are a number of options available from a mulch like product to a cushioned play pad. A concrete pad or landscape gravel are never a suitable option as a play surface. Minimizing the risk of head injury is so important and your play surface is a big part of creating a safe place for kids to play.
The wood typically does not get hot to the touch but the hardware, plastic slides, swings and monkey bars can in direct sunlight. Look for areas of shade if possible. If needed, a solar shade is a nice addition to increase the hours of play. If you plan to install the playset on artificial grass with hours of direct sunlight…it gets HOT to the touch! Installing playsets on artificial grass means I will spend the day burning myself every time I have to build something on the ground. We bring shade tent just to keep the temperature of the hardware and materials down so we can hold them to install.
Leisure Installation Service is a residential playset, basketball goal, trampoline and structure installer serving the the Phoenix metropolitan area since 2014. Providing installation services for most models of Do-It-Yourself playsets and other outdoor residential recreation equipment. Please visit our online shop to explore the models of Backyard Adventures, Congo and Gorilla Playsets we offer. We thank you for your business and support. We look forward to building you a playset for hours of fun!
James and Sasha Lewis are a husband and wife team living in the Valley. Sasha is an Arizona native and James grew up on a farm in Missouri. The tire swing in our orginal logo represents the hours of fun we spent with our children when they were little in our Midwest backyard. Our children are now grown but we have many great memories of our backyard playset, jumping on the trampoline and shooting hoops. Thank you for allowing us to help your family create lasting memories too.
Written by Sasha Lewis, Owner, Leisure Installation Services.
The modest metal swing sets of the past have been replaced by play structures made of lumber with intricate accessories like rock-climbing walls, spiral slides, bridges and skybox play decks. Modern play structures, like Gorilla play sets, start at $1,000 for a very basic model and can reach $10,000, depending on brand and add-ons. Needless to say, a swing set is a significant investment for your home and your children’s development.
This spring season, when my husband and I were ready to purchase a swing set for our daughter, we turned to our friends at Leisure Installations – Outdoor Recreational Equipment Installations. They were able to provide us with inside knowledge on play set brands and equipment, and we’re also the ones we trusted to install our new playground equipment. In fact, many Phoenix families are turning to professional swing set installers for their tiny tots beloved sets.
If you’re considering making this summer extra special by purchasing a swing set, here are reasons other parents are turning to the pros:
Professional is better. There’s a reason why I prefer having my makeup done by a professional and my house cleaned by a pro. When working with a true expert, you ensure perfect results and you eliminate the stress and hassle of doing it yourself. By partnering with Leisure Installations, the professional swing set installers in Phoenix, you will have peace of mind that your children’s new playground is properly and safely installed and meets all codes.
Saves time. Who has time to put together a swing set? Not me, not my husband nor does anybody else I know. With family life, home life and work life, installing a swing set hardly fits into our schedule. A new swing set should inspire fun, excitement and quality time together for your family, not create new stresses and challenges over a tedious installation. The pro installers at Leisure Installation Phoenix have the necessary time to install your play set because it’s their job. In fact, it’s one of the things they do best!
Sick of the clutter. Boxes filled with play set parts take up a lot of room! If your honey has been consistently skipping this big task on his honey-do list, it is time to take matters into your own hands. Call the experienced installers today at 480-980-6929. Or, you can get a free quote via the web. They can get your play set up so it can be put to good use!
Professional planning. A professional who installs swing sets has the equipment, know-how and training to provide optimal results. A professional will analyze your Arizona backyard terrain and landscape, taking into account any special accommodations needed. A professional installer can ensure that the installation is done correctly and with minimum disruption to your yard. They can also help with the additions of mulch, sand or whatever substance you’ll be using under and around the set.
Service and support. Once your swing set is installed, it’s wise to have it properly maintained. James Lewis at Leisure Installations can help you maximize the lifespan of your swing set. Staining and maintenance are key in the longevity of your playground set!
Added value to your home. Everyone knows that once you install an awesome play set, you’ll have a home that everyone wants to come too – children and parents alike. And, if you’re eventually looking to rent or sell your home, a professionally installed play set can be an attractive element to families in Phoenix looking to rent and / or buy.
Relocating. Speaking of buying a home, if you’re moving and your children are attached to your play set, you can take it with to the next house. Leisure Installation Services will disassemble your playground, load it on a trailer, deliver and re-install it at the next location. The playground set will be checked for wear and any problems will be brought to your attention, immediately.
Saves money. Can you imagine how much it would cost to tear down a swing set that was installed haphazardly? Worst yet, if the neighbor’s kid hurt themselves because you had faulty equipment? In this case, I think we all agree to go pro.
Leisure Installation Services is a family owned company dedicated to bringing quality and integrity back into this world. Owner, James R. Lewis has more than a decade of experience installing residential and commercial playgrounds specializing in Gorilla play sets. As a parent, James insists that safety and security are paramount and every set installed must be “good enough for our own children.” Leisure Installations expertly installs play sets, basketball goals, trampolines and gazebos and sheds. For more information, visit leisureinstalls.com.
Amanda Rumore is a writer, mom blogger and lifestyle expert. Scottsdale-based, by way of Chicago and Los Angeles, she lives with her husband, Anthony, daughter, Mia Valentina, and Boston Terriers, Gigi and Harley. Amanda is the founder of ValleyGalInc.com, writes for various magazines and appears on local television stations featuring family-focused stories. She was also voted “Favorite Valley Mom 2016″ in the Best of the Valley!
It is time to get your playset ready for the season and for your kids to be outside! The Phoenix summer heat is hard on outdoor playsets. Reduce the risk of splinters, minimize the wear from sprinklers and harsh monsoon winds. Make your playset look like new again! Staining your playset with a weather-resistant paint after a pressure wash will extend the life of your set and will help to keep your backyard looking beautiful! Call now Leisure Installation Services to get a QUOTE and scheduled your playset stain and repair today in Phoenix!
Our Phoenix playset stain and repair services include:
Pressure wash to remove dirt
Solid stain with weather protectant applied on interior and exterior of set. We use Olympic and Gorilla stains.
Hardware tighten and basic repairs (Broken beams/boards may require a return trip and additional costs. Please check your warranty for replacement parts.)
Repair recommendations (May incur additional fees; upon agreement.)
Make your playset like new again and protect against the weather. Above all, enjoy your leisure time and let us do the rest!
Service is available in the metropolitan Phoenix area. The playset stain and repair will be scheduled over 2-3 days. Sprinkler systems will need to be turned off during scheduled dates to ensure proper application.
Overview 1st Day – Pressure wash (and drying time) 2nd Day – Stain & Repairs 3rd Day – Repair (if needed)
Getting Costco‘s Twin Mountain Lodge playset with both the tube and wave slide? Call Leisure Installs for your professional installation in the Phoenix area. Most installations can be scheduled and completed within one week. Average installation takes 6-8 hours and is completed in the same day.
We look forward to working with you!
Call (602) 935-6126 NOW to schedule!
Costco’s Twin Mountain Lodge playset comes with:
FSC Certified Cedar
Tube and Wave Slides
3 Position Swing Beam
2 Story Clubhouse
Panelized Wall Construction
Serving Phoenix, North Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler.
Tis the season for holiday décor. Phoenix residents are especially holly and jolly during the holiday season, as we do boast sunny 70-degree days throughout much of the wintertime. Our warm weather doesn’t stop us from adding holiday cheer to our homes. Decking the halls, adding faux snowmen and hanging glistening lights is a favorite amongst many Phoenician families.
This year, a growing trend in holiday décor is becoming even more popular. Did you know that many of your neighbors actually skip the hassle and frustration of hanging outdoor Christmas lights and hire a professional? Yes, there are professional Phoenix holiday light installers that have perfected their craft so Valley homes can shine ever so bright.
Leisure Installation Services
Homes throughout Phoenix are being lit by the professionals at Leisure Installation Services. Formed by husband and wife team, James and Sasha Lewis, they created a family owned company dedicated to bringing quality and integrity back into this world. As parents, they insist that safety and security are paramount.
During the holiday season, they specialize in Phoenix custom holiday lighting services. They install commercial grade c7 lights cut to a home’s specific needs. After the season, they come back to remove the lights, which you get to keep. They will also hang your pre-owned lights.
Their company also provides residential installation of entertainment and premanufactured products such as wooden playsets, trampolines, basketball goals, sheds, and gazebos.
More About James and Sasha
Fa la la la, hanging holiday lights might be one of the most festive jobs of the season, except for the big guy in red, of course. We asked James what his favorite part of the job was. “The best part of hanging Christmas lights is when they turn on and the house lights up,” explains James. “It’s always great to get photos from customers the first time the lights can be seen at night. Everyone remembers driving through neighborhoods as children looking at the lights and it is always great when we can be part of that.”
The least favorite part of hanging phoenix holiday lights? “The ladder work!” says James. “That’s also why I am in business! Each installation requires a unique approach because of the home design and landscape. Being able to maintain safety at all times is my primary concern and Phoenix topography adds an interesting challenge at times.”
As you would expect, James and Sasha’s home is lit up for Christmas. They are a bit traditional in the timing, so they put up their Christmas tree on Thanksgiving and everything begins to come down within a week after New Year’s. Their two story home is complete with the white c7 lights and the front tree wrapped in white mini lights. A Christmas wreath hangs from the front door welcoming family and guests. For fun inside the house, they wrap the banister with multicolored LED lights.
DIY Tips for Phoenix Residents
Be careful to not overload your circuits by plugging too many lines together. Pay close attention to the limit recommendations to avoid fire hazards.
If you are using hot glue on the stucco and do not want to ruin it when taking the lights down, use heat to quickly soften the glue so it releases the string instead of popping it off the wall.
On a tight budget? Place a wreath on the front door and one eye catching decoration inside other than the tree. One or two things can add to the holiday spirit.
If you’re looking for Phoenix Christmas lighting done by professionals at your home, be sure to contact Leisure Installation Services at leisureinstalls.com. They also offer Christmas lighting specials all through the season..