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Builders Turn To Alternative Materials Amid Supply Chain Disruptions and Labor Shortages

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Building Materials

Builders Turn To Alternative Materials Amid Supply Chain Disruptions and Labor Shortages

Labor and supply chain issues have created substantial hurdles for builders over the last several years, but alternative products and materials offer a cost-friendly solution 

July 26, 2022
Stack of wood, composite, and foam construction materials
Image: Stock.adobe.com

Supply chain disruptions and a widespread labor shortage have led to longer construction cycle times and rising construction costs for builders across the U.S. over the last several years. Apart from imposing a number of new challenges onto the home building industry, the pandemic and its lingering consequences have also forced builders to adapt to maintain production levels even in the face of unprecedented obstacles. When inflated prices and a lack of product availability slowed down construction, builders turned to alternative materials, like switching from OSB and plywood to fiber board sheathing options, Home Innovation Research Labs reports.

Similarly, in the midst of lumber shortages and price volatility, Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) became the most popular wall stud species reported by home builders, surpassing the longtime favorite Spruce-Pine-Fir (SPF) lumber sourced from the Northeast and Canada. 

As the shortage of skilled construction workers worsened during the pandemic, building materials that promised installation in fewer steps, or installation by lower-skilled workers, rapidly gained popularity. For example, in 2021, tile and solid hardwood floors lost market share while luxury vinyl plank and tile and engineered wood flooring continued their rise. Tiled shower and bath surrounds also took a tumble, while manufactured units and solid stone and polymer panel surrounds gained popularity.

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