Lumber Is Really Expensive Right Now—How To Save on Your DIY Project

As you get ready to start your home DIY projects, prepare for record-breaking lumber prices. Over the past year, the cost of lumber has increased 430%—from $259 per 1,000 board feet of lumber to over $1,300. The latest numbers from Nasdaq show lumber prices at $1,500 for 1,000 board feet.

Why, you ask, has lumber prices risen?

  1. Many people are taking advantage of historically low interest rates and building new homes.
  2. Similarly, many people are choosing to stay in their current home but are taking on remodeling projects they may have put off before.

 Additionally, for those with plans to do DIY projects that use lumber, setting a budget is a challenge due to delays that may result form the shortage.

While you might have to wait on certain renovations affected by lumber prices, there are still ways to complete your DIY projects—you just have to get a little creative. Here are some expert tips on navigating high lumber prices and what you can do to find more affordable options.

1. Plan ahead.

Before you start your project, come up with a detailed plan-a scope of work (SOW). While this might not be the way you typically go about home DIYs, sticking to a solid, detailed SOW will help prepare you for the cost of the project. Include all the details of the project both big and small, item by item.

2. Change the focus of your project.

According to experts, lumber costs are not expected to come down to their pre-pandemic levels anytime soon. So instead of canceling your project all together, try refocusing. Using paint to upgrade an area could have a surprisingly dramatic effect for little money.

Other material upgrades, like backsplashes or countertops in a kitchen, may be a more affordable option this year.

Check out a rehab we did where we painted the existing cabinets, replaced the hardware, added trim to the top, a new backsplash and counters. It made a HUGE difference and very little wood was used.

3. Use alternative materials.

The record-breaking prices of lumber might be an opportunity to use cheaper and more sustainable materials like:

  • Recycled wood
  • Bamboo
  • Cork
  • Trex


4. Shop around.

Check out local reclaimed wood stores in your area. Consider calling a local demolition company. Ask them if they’re tearing down a house, and maybe they can sell you the materials off of it.


5. If you’re going through a contractor, carefully review all documents.

If you have a bigger project that involves a contractor or remodeling company, make sure you thoroughly review all contracts. Because of the uncertainty around high lumber prices and when they will come down, many contracts are adding price escalation clauses. This means that the final cost of your project is subject to change if there are fluctuations in the price of materials during the project, leaving you with an unclear idea of your bottom line.

Look for any clauses that allow the builder to increase the price due to the cost of raw materials and identify when the contractor (and the homeowner) may cancel the contract if the price rises too much beyond the amount listed in the contract.

For more information, check out the full article here.

JNT Property Solutions is a family-owned residential redevelopment company that specializes in helping homeowners out of tough property situations. They operate primarily in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Colorado.

Do you have a tricky property situation? Contact us for your free consultation today. 608-630-5060  [email protected]


All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. JNT Property Solutions make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use.

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