IN DEPTH: Lumber and Structural Panels

Boise Cascade’s Nyblad agrees. “Cross-laminated timbers are an exciting new wood product that’s growing in popularity. Building large, multi-use commercial properties with wood is good for our industry and is a complement to the many great uses of wood. Wood is renewable and cost-effective for building today and tomorrow.”

Adds Weyerhaeuser’s Neal Shunk, strategic marketing manager for OSB, “Builders are looking for more predictability in their wood products, especially for tall applications, so a lot of interest is going into what’s being done with cross-laminated timber. We think the answers lie with OSB panels. They provide a value that can’t be matched otherwise. We think OSB is sexy.”

These added values are making builders look twice at dimensional lumber as codes are causing them to rethink their construction practices. “I-joists are losing out to 2x10s and 2x12s to some extent,” says Roseburg’s Killgore. “It’s only a few percentage points, but it’s a definite drop. There’s a ton of supply of solid-sawn lumber, so the lower cost adds pressure to the market, which makes it important to sell the value proposition.”

- Sponsor -
Roseburg - KD and green lumber productsRoseburg Forest Products produces KD and green lumber products from Douglas Fir, White Fir and Hemlock. Its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility is said to maximize the use of wood fiber in the production process. A variety of standard lengths are available plus additional custom lengths, which can be shipped in a mixed-product shipment.

RoyOMartin’s Peters agrees. “In their use of EWP, markets continue to evolve, as does the competition. We try to stay at the forefront and ensure builders understand the full value of the products. More builders are reviewing the structural properties of each product and their full benefits. Builders are coming back to wood in some cases. They appreciate the value of lumber and their ability to use it in many situations in ways they’re familiar with.”

Challenges Ahead
This year will see significant challenges, especially from imports, suppliers agree. “Due to the current strength of the dollar, imports into the U.S. have become extremely competitive,” says Boise Cascade’s Nyblad. “Canada historically ships large quantities of wood products offshore, but now it’s quite competitive coming to the U.S. Brazil and Chile currently have good quality panel products coming from their mills to our domestic markets.”

Adds Roseburg’s Killgore, “Every product is affected in some way. It’s a direct competition that we have to address. In the past, we could make a quality argument against imports pretty easily, but these days, the products are of a good quality. There’s not that much difference for the builder. The differences come in service capabilities and shipping reliability. We have worked really hard internally on our cost structures and made good improvements to ensure we remain competitive. We saw the competition coming and prepared for it.”

RoyomartinEclipse Reflective Housewrap, a radiant-barrier OSB sheathing from RoyOMartin, has been verified by RIMA-I to replace traditional housewrap in a sidewall application. It offers a Class B fire rating and is available in an FSC-certified option. The product is said to control vapor movement while remaining breathable and provides energy efficiency.

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