What has happened to the price of wood?

by Mars

We decided that we would extend our vegetable garden this year and make some 2×2 metre raised beds in the field so that we can grow sprawling vegetables like pumpkins and squash, sweet corn and some cut flowers for Kirsten. The plan was to remove the grass and build the raise beds to a height of around 40cm using 8×2-inch boards.

I started to pull up the grass for our beds this morning, and calculated exactly how many boards we’d need for the raised beds (and for the compost bin extensions). All in all, we worked out that we needed 40 4.2-metre boards.

I called our wood merchants at lunchtime to put in our order because it typically takes them 5-7 days to make the delivery. I gave them our account number (to get our discount) and I nearly fell off my chair when the salesman informed me the wood amounted to £1,135. This was our discounted price. £1,135. That’s a whopping £6.80 per metre.

I asked the sales guy if he’d made a mistake and he laughed saying no he hadn’t and that the price of wood has skyrocketed because of supply issues across the UK. I have no idea whether that’s true or not, but £28.50 for a 4.2-metre, 8×2-inch board is sheer madness.

Needless to say I never placed the order and we’ve decided to be a bit more creative. We have plenty of pallets that we’ve collected for various projects, and I’m going to cut them down to size and build the beds from them. We probably won’t have enough for all the raised beds, so I’ll visit our local hardware store and collect used pallets from them which they give away for free. From our perspective this is a far more sensible and sustainable approach, because whatever pallets are left over, they typically burn or discard.

It’s going to be a lot more work, but it’s the right thing to do from a sustainability perspective and it’ll save us over £1,000.

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anna mycoe
anna mycoe
1 year ago

Hi Mars
The price of materials is ridiculous at the moment, you have made a smart move !!
Anna

Lesley
Reply to  Mars
1 year ago

Yes, it’s gone crazy. All building materials have gone through the roof, IF you can get them. Multiple factors they say, Brexit causing supply chain delays, demand from DIY projects in lockdown… One of the reasons we’re building more hugelkutur beds at the moment is that we refuse to pay what they’re asking for wood at the moment. Unfortunately this is affecting our self build too as insulation, cement, plasterboard are all similarly affected. Crazy times

Cathy
1 year ago

The prices are sky high here too… if you can get it at all! Same with lots of other building materials and the building trade and garden designers are saying their order books are full but they can’t supply. The reasons given are broken delivery chains… This should not be the case in our region – the heart of forestry in Germany. So it makes you wonder…. Good luck with the pallets.

Fabio DeLima
Fabio DeLima
1 year ago

Good move, Mars!

NormanB
NormanB
1 year ago

It’s the same in North America – the ‘Brexit effect’ is clearly very pervasive and far reaching.

Eddy Winko
1 year ago

I was curious how much it would be here as I have just received delivery of about 6 cubic meters cut to size for a building project and was told that prices are expected to rise soon.
If my calculations are correct you need 1.6 cubic meters of wood, price in Poland 1440 zloty or roughly £280
Either imports for the EU are putting pressure on UK prices, or someone is making a lot of money!

Ken
Ken
1 year ago

I’ve seen on a woodworking channel that the price of “lumber” has skyrocketed in the US as well… Think I’ll wait to build our raised beds ????

Gary Hardman
Gary Hardman
1 year ago

Pallets are a good choice. They tend to be very hard lumber.
You might also consider non-standard lumber like wooden fence posts. These tend to be cheaper and as long as you don’t need it pretty, they work just fine.

The Re-Farmer
1 year ago

Prices have gone insane here in Canada, too – up by about 300%, in general. Locally, a single sheet of 3/4 inch plywood is almost Cdn$150. In the city, they’re about $85, last I checked. They used to be about $35 a sheet in the city, so about $50 a sheet, locally. At least we have some available, though. The guy who price checked it for me told me of a customer who’d driven from British Columbia to our province to get some. Last summer, my brother had to go to another province to get lumber for his deck.

I knew about the price increases in Canada and the US, but didn’t think it’d be the same in the UK, too!

Christian
1 year ago

A lot of commodity prices went up. In absolute terms, they’re often still at okay prices because the 1–2 years prior, prices dropped. So relative per-year change is overly dramatic.

Except lumber. Geez.

Check out the lumber price index history here: https://tradingeconomics.com/commodity/lumber

In Germany, you can get wood from the local DIY stores at normal prices, but serious building material is apparently getting scarce, too.

Good call upcycling the paletts. My grandpa built a whole tool shed with 2 rooms from these and it stood for 40 years 🙂

Christian
Reply to  Mars
1 year ago

He even reused the nails when there were any in wooden boxes he throw into the mix. Like: extract, hammer dtraight, insert into shed. Sound weird coming from today’s availability of everything. But that’s how people did, apparently, build stuff cheap 🙂

Cindy
1 year ago

Same in Belgium. I pay about €6,33/m
And pallets are hard to find in our country.
Good luck with the project

NormanB
NormanB
1 year ago

For anyone interested in understanding the supply chain issues (rather than correlating every problem to Brexit) and has 20 minutes to spare, then I recommend this YT video – https://youtu.be/b1JlYZQG3lI

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