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With summer just around the corner, and Ontario still under lockdown orders, many of us are thinking about home improvement projects.  Now would be the perfect time to build that deck, or update that old fence.  Or maybe you’re looking at larger renovations, like a full main floor or even adding a small addition to your home.  As many of us are now working from home for the foreseeable future, the home office is very much in demand. 

You may have noticed that lumber prices have gone up significantly since the last time you had a home improvement project on the go.  You are not alone.  Lumber prices have actually doubled what they were in 2020.  With many mills forced to shut down to adhere to Covid-19 safety guidelines, production slowed down significantly. Now, as things slowly open up, the mills are all once again running at full capacity yet it isn’t enough to meet the current explosion in demand.

With low interest rates, and high house prices, homeowners are finding themselves in a position with lots of equity on their hands and more need to renovate. After spending a year and a half in their homes many people feel the need and want to upgrade their space.


How is the lumber price increase impacting home renovation projects?

We spoke to Craig Essery of Men At Work Design Build for some expert advice and guidance on best practices during this current lumber shortage.  Here are some examples of how the lumber shortage is driving up the cost of some common home improvement projects:

  • A 200 square foot deck (10’X20’) with stairs and guardrails all around has increased from about $2500 in 2019, to $5000 in 2021
  • A main floor renovation: The lumber cost for a project of this size has increased from the $5000 range 18 months ago, to about $10,000 this year.
  • A two storey, 500 Square foot addition on each floor previously came in at $20,000 is now costing upwards of $40,000.  Renovations of this size are taking a bit more of a hit than smaller projects
  • A full house build from the ground up, 2 storeys, 2000 square feet has gone from about $50,000 to $100,000

For the larger renovation projects, the cost can seem somewhat prohibitive, however, as Essery notes:” Steel framing hasn’t moved much, so it could be a nice alternative until the market stabilizes.  As for exterior projects, you can now get more premium decking products, like the composite material lines, for a similar price.”  Like all the industries impacted by Covid-19, the renovation industry has been forced to think outside of the box.

Is now the right time to start a renovation project?

Despite these significant price increases, the renovation industry has not slowed down. So the big question is, should you wait for the lumber market to stabilize before you begin your next big project?  According to Essery, the short answer is, no.   It’s likely the market won’t equalize this summer as the industry had hoped, and when it does, furthermore, lumber prices are not expected to ever go back down to 2019 prices.  Much like the Toronto real estate market, don’t sit on the sidelines, jump in and get it done while you can!

Do you have any renovation plans for the summer season? We are here with the answers to all your home renovation questions! Our team of seasoned real estate professionals are west end experts and know a thing or two about home renovation!  Contact us here with any home renovation questions, or just to say hi. We’d love to hear from you!


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