As folks begin to recover and rebuild from the terrible devastation from hurricans Harvey, Irma and Maria, the rest of the U.S will feel the impact in the building market. How will this affect customers who build a log home? We spoke with Katahdin president and CEO David Gordon about the near future in building.
Immediate Needs Affect Dimensional Lumber and Plywood
“Most people’s immediate needs before and after storms of this magnitude are for protection: plywood and oriented strand board sheets (OSB).” These building supplies — especially plywood sheets— are in high demand prior to the storm for boarding up windows. After the storm, these supplies are used for covering up and shoring up. Katahdin dealers and builders rely on local sourcing in many cases for these supplies, so availability may be limited in some areas.
Replacing Damaged Interiors Draws on Sheet Rock & Insulation Supplies
When flooding occurs, much of a home’s interior is water damaged and needs to be replaced. This means removing sheet rock, insulation, flooring and cabinetry. Some suppliers for sheetrock and insulation may face temporary shortages, but manufacturers have been on notice and can gear up production quickly. Other materials such as windows, doors, roofing, kitchen and bath fixtures will flow into the markets more gradually, Gordon said, with minimal disruption in supply.
Construction Labor Shortages in Storm Areas
Adding to an already stressed labor market in construction trades, rebuilding efforts may be stymied by the shortage of construction labor in storm areas. While some adjacent areas may feel a drain of labor shifting to the south, we don’t foresee this impacting our dealers, says Gordon. Log home construction requires some specialized skills that keep these crews near their home base where log homes are under construction or planned.
Fortunately, much of a Katahdin home is constructed from abundant supplies of Northern White Cedar. Temporary shortfalls may occur in dimensional lumber, including 2 x 4s and sizes all the way to 2 x12” planks used for floor systems in some of the larger homes. “We won’t know the full impact of these storms in the building business until December,” Gordon said.
In the meantime, you can count on the dealers and builders of Katahdin’s network to keep an eye on supplies and plan for temporary shortages in some kinds of supplies so that projects under construction continue according to schedule.