IN DEPTH: Lumber and Structural Panels

Sherwood Lumber has focused its new-product introductions on higher- end products, too. “Our latest products are geared to providing finishing panels for various applications, including cabinets using hardwood veneers,” Berwick says. “These are premium panels specially designed for specific applications where they are needed.”

Boise Cascade - CombiplyBoise Cascade offers a variety of plywood options, including Combiply, a combination of hardwood and pine veneers for industrial applications; Sturd-I-Floor, made with Western fir and Southern pine species; sanded panels; SelectBead, a decorative sanded pine plywood; and SelectPly, a premium sanded hardwood plywood.

RoyOMartin presents its products as more than a commodity by promoting its FSC certification. “We can uplift the products and gain some LEED points for architects who seek them,” Peters explains. “It’s popular, but it’s mostly driven by geographic markets today, either due to competition or code requirements. Over time, as the country moves more into using as many green products as possible, we expect to see more interest in FSC-certified lumber products.”

Radiant-barrier sheathing also is gaining attention. “Radiant-barrier sheathing is a type of enhanced panel that is growing in popularity very quickly,” says Weyerhaeuser’s Hendry. “It’s engineered to lay flat and stay flat, and it offers both a roofing sheathing and insulation, so it saves time and material. Anywhere air conditioning is running 250 or more days per year, it’s becoming popular. It can make a dramatic difference.”

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CLT Gaining Interest
The growth of tall-wall applications is leading builders to look for longer panels. RoyOMartin expanded its line of OSB panels with 8-, 10- and 12-foot sizes. “The lengths create an added value for builders due to the labor savings and the lessened waste,” Peters explains. “They’d rather use a 10-foot panel rather than splice together an 8 and a 2, which saves time and labor. It’s also a more efficient panel if it doesn’t have a seam in it. As people become aware of the availability of these products and see the benefits from fewer cuts, they are using them more.”

New techniques using cross-laminated timber (CLT) also are gaining attention. “We’re seeing a trend toward new techniques,” says Weyerhaeuser’s Higley. “Demonstration homes here and in Canada are gaining interest, and the concepts are definitely moving this way. It’s very much on our radar how we can tap into that trend. Taller wood construction overall is gaining attention. It’s a trend we expect will be sustained for the coming years.”

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