Lumber store owner and roofing contractor explain high OSB prices // WJFW Newswatch 12

Photo by WJFW Newswatch 12

Story by Morgan Johnson

Local news Published 21-05-21 16:21, Last updated 22-05-21 11:28
argonne – “I was born and raised in it,” said Argonne Lumber owner Tony Keepers. “I was collecting garbage here when I was 12.”

30 years with wood and Tony Keepers did not expect something like this. And neither did his father, who first opened Argonne Lumber in 1980.

“His wise words were, ‘I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with that.’ No one has seen anything like it,” Keepers said.

A 400% increase in price of oriented strand board or OSB. Last year around this time, Keepers said OSB sheets were about eight dollars. Now it’s over $50 a sheet.

It’s not just OSB that has followed this trend.

“It’s hard to get a real explanation for why it’s happening, but it’s basically all construction materials right now,” Keepers said.

One of Keepers’ observations is the housing market. He says more people are building instead of buying.

“They sell a house and then they have to build because they really have nowhere else to go,” Keepers says.

But if someone needs OSB to build, they usually hire a contractor like Josh Hunt of Oneida Roof and Chimney. Hunt is a third generation roofer. Despite ongoing awards, Hunt did not disappoint last year.

“At the worst time, people were home, stories were going around that people are redecorating their house because they are at home,” Hunt said. “They’re doing a deck, they’re doing a kitchen, they’re doing this, that or something else. During the pandemic, the construction industry, the construction industry as a whole, was booming; everything was very good.”

Hunt says the market has been up and down over the past year and there is still uncertainty going forward. “We’ve never, I don’t think in my life, seen the situation we’re in right now and there’s a lot of unknown,” Hunt said.

One thing that is far from unknown is that the demand for building materials will always be there, which works in favor of both Hunt and Keepers.

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