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Building Products Digest


My customers are looking for quality and innovation that they can count on. For years we have experienced that quality with Simpson Strong-Tie and continue to reap the benefits of products that save time and money and perform above expectations. There is no equal!”

Lonnie Holmes – Manager, Bloedorn Lumber

To learn how our commitment to quality, innovation and support adds value to you and your business, call (800) 999-5099 or visit

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BPD Special Features

January 2014

 Volume 32  Number 11

Building Products Digest

In Every Issue















Sparkman, Arkansas

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Building Products Digest

January 2014

TOTALLY Random By Alan Oakes

Let’s get growing


IRST, A HAPPY NEW YEAR to all our readers. I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your families and are charged up for the year to come. May 2014 be profitable personally and in business. This year certainly holds a lot of promise, as forecasts suggest the gains of the last two years will continue in 2014. Indeed, at the top end of the housing starts forecasts, numbers will approach historical averages. Most businesses that have survived are already facing the challenge of how to grow again. In speaking to many owners, I know some are nervous about the thought—and for good reason. When and where to invest is a tough question. I think that many would admit that in the years 2004-2007 we were all drinking the Kool-Aid and, as the market grew, we may have taken actions that our instincts told us not to. Companies entered the market and, just as quickly, exited it with no solid foundation of business. Others invested heavily, taking on debt to manage what turned out to be phantom business. Many paid a heavy price, and the industry today is a fraction of what it was only six years ago, with an awful lot of pain during the process. But the good news is that if you are reading this issue, you were one of the great survivors of our “Great Depression.” We as an industry (and this is your comment to me over the years) never learn. So the question perhaps to ask as the industry grows again is, how are we going to grow the right way? Whether large or small, we will face the challenge of growth this year. The challenge is, if you are seeking out new business, it has to be worth the time and risk. Too often we chase new opportunities without considering whether these activities can be short- and long-term profitable, a good use of resources, worth the risk of adding new resources, or fit into the culture of our company. Perhaps the latter is what we do not take heed of often enough. For any growth decision you take (developing or stocking a new product, adding staff, expanding, remodeling, rebuilding, etc.), make sure you have the funds. Monitor your cash flow intently. Nothing chases off your friendly banker like money wildly flowing in and out, as many discovered last time round. Indeed, get the bank to buy into your growth and any short-term negatives that you anticipate. Line up financing before you expand. No surprises! Keep staffing increases to the minimum to protect cash. Staffing is normally one of our top expenses—consider outsourcing in the beginning. Work with your suppliers, where appropriate, on scheduling, co-op marketing, training, etc.—all to get your new program off the ground as quickly as possible. The key to any business success for the long term is to have a strategy that is focused, concentrates on profit opportunities with healthy margins, and allows you to work with customers that are profitable to the company. (Yes, you know the ones you don’t want: the ones who are low-margin to start and get even lower with their constant demands). Don’t waste time or resources on unprofitable business. Let those customers go elsewhere. Don’t let them bleed you. Identify the driver of your business and concentrate your energies on building that. Understand where you can gain the most. In previous columns I have suggested ranking your customers by their value to your business (by the way, that value changes every year). Pay attention to the quality of their business. Their value is not only the hard profit on products sold, but also includes the costs of servicing them. When that is done, you probably will get a better understanding of their true value. It’s the same with new customers. New business is great—in fact, the lifeblood of every company—but if you lack the skill set in your company to manage this new business, and if it does not fit in with your culture (sales or otherwise), stay clear. All business is not created equal. Again, have a great year. I look forward to meeting you on my travels.

Alan Oakes, Publisher


Building Products Digest

January 2014


Building Products Digest

A publication of Cutler Publishing

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Publisher Alan Oakes Publisher Emeritus David Cutler Director of Editorial & Production David Koenig Editor Karen Debats Contributing Editors Carla Waldemar, James Olsen Advertising Sales Manager Chuck Casey Administration Director/Secretary Marie Oakes Circulation Manager Heather Kelly

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SUBSCRIPTIONS Heather Kelly Phone (949) 852-1990 Fax 949-852-0231 or send a check to 4500 Campus Dr., Ste. 480, Newport Beach, CA 92660 U.S.A.: One year (12 issues), $24 Two years, $39 Three years, $54 FOREIGN (Per year, paid in advance in US funds): Surface-Canada or Mexico, $49 Other countries, $65 Air rates also available. SINGLE COPIES $4 + shipping BACK ISSUES $5 + shipping BUILDING PRODUCTS DIGEST is published monthly at 4500 Campus Dr., Ste. 480, Newport Beach, Ca. 92660-1872, (949) 852-1990, Fax 949-852-0231,, by Cutler Publishing, Inc. (a California Corporation). It is an independently owned publication for building products retailers and wholesale distributors in 37 states East of the Rockies. Copyright®2014 by Cutler Publishing, Inc. Cover and entire contents are fully protected and must not be reproduced in any manner without written permission. All Rights Reserved. BPD reserves the right to accept or reject any editorial or advertising matter, and assumes no liability for materials furnished to it.

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And that’s where the comparisons end.

INDUSTRY Trends Dealers on Twitter

How dealers are using Twitter


ESPITE WAILING FROM experts on the necessity of companies being active on Twitter to instantly communicate with customers and prospects, few LBM dealers tweet. Of the nation’s estimated 10,000 LBM retailers, the vast majority appear to have never set up a Twitter account and, among those who have, only about 30 independents send out more than two tweets a week. Next to feeling the service is not worth their time, the next primary reason for not using Twitter more is that dealers feel they don’t have anything worthwhile to say. So just what are those 30 active users finding to talk about? BPD surveyed the communications of 30 indpendent lumber dealers most active on Twitter. What we discovered is that few are dreaming up long, complex posts to amaze the masses (after all, the service limits messages to 140 characters or fewer). Most are building an identity, such as: The Linker. Linking to home improvement articles (like “How to Install Crown Moulding”) may kickstart a project—and a purchase. Linking to industry news (the latest NAHB housing statistics) can also get pros thinking

What the Top 30 Are Tweeting Survey of 30 actively tweeting independent LBM dealers, based on 967 total tweets from Nov. 1-Dec. 2, 2013

about you as an expert. Links can also be time-savers. It can be doubly timeconsuming to maintain presences on multiple social media platforms, so some dealers use their Twitter account primarily to link to updates on their blogs or Facebook page (which allows posts in excess of Twitter’s 140-character limit). In addition to links to its Facebook page, Parr Lumber, Hillsboro, Or., sends out several links a day to photos it’s collected on its Pinterest site, highlighting glamorous projects and interesting new products. The Conversation Starter. Ideally, tweeters want their name spread not only to their followers, but in turn to their followers’ followers, so it’s key to engage them and turn the monologue into a dialogue. Dealers ask what their followers’ latest project is, what their dream purchase is, or what their plans are for the holidays. Peter Lumber Co., Pleasantville, N.J., and City Lumber Co., Dyer, Tn., solicit participation with a weekly trivia contest. The Commenter. No one joining your conversation? Chime in on theirs! Dunn Lumber, Seattle, Wa., has collected more than 8,500 followers by themselves following an equal number of users and regularly commenting on their tweets and photos—and thanking anyone who mentions Dunn Lumber. The idea is to get the Dunn Lumber name out wide and often, and to be seen as a friend to the community. The Promoter. Got something on sale? Tweet it. Ashby Lumber, Berkeley and Concord, Ca., publicizes specials on a near-daily basis. Meek’s Lumber, Springfield, Mo., even tweets out downloadable coupons. How about an upcoming contractor night or other event? Ro-Mac Lumber, Leesburg, Fl., uses Twitter to direct followers to its weekly “Around the House” radio show. The Recruiter. About half of the 50-plus Tweets a month by Lyman Lumber advertise the various job openings at its Wisconsin and Minnesota facilities. (With more than 250 locations, 84 Lumber has so many positions available that it maintains a separate Twitter feed, 84LumberCareers.) January 2014

Building Products Digest


FEATURE Story By Jessica Arant, DMSi

Are you at risk of surprise sales tax?


OST BUSINESS LEADERS are comfortable discussing things like risk, ROI, and market share. They are less comfortable discussing sales tax, but it’s a conversation that needs to happen. States are getting increasingly creative about finding new revenue sources through sales tax. Businesses can easily incur “surprise” tax liabilities without realizing it. Assuming sales tax rules are the same across all your territories can be a costly mistake.

What is Nexus?

Sales tax starts with something called “nexus.” Nexus is the relationship a business must have with an authority (like a state or local government) in order for that authority to collect taxes. Let’s simplify that. Imagine you have a store in Nebraska: you own your building, pay employees, and complete business transactions in the state. All these things give you nexus in Nebraska, and the state will collect sales tax from your business. Say you have a customer, Jim, who works in Iowa, but comes to Nebraska

to purchase his materials. You probably don’t have nexus in Iowa just because your customer works there. But let’s change the situation. Jim calls in his orders from Iowa and your employees deliver materials to his jobsites in that state. Now Iowa might argue you have nexus in their state and you owe them sales tax. The problem businesses face lies in the words “probably” and “might.” Each state has different nexus triggers. If your Nebraska store sells an item to people in two different states, you may have nexus in one but not the other. Things like buildings and equipment are almost universal triggers, but many states are starting to define nexus based on activity rather than physical presence. Sending an employee to a trade show, industry conference, or training seminar can all give you nexus in a state. You can establish nexus in Arizona if an employee spends two days of the year there. If your Nebraska store has a lot of Iowa customers like Jim, Iowa might argue you have an “economic nexus” in their state, even if all your

sales take place in Nebraska.

Delivery of Goods

Delivering purchased items is a common nexus trigger, but there are a variety of ways states approach the issue. In Georgia, the “taxable event” takes place at the ship-to location, but in Kansas, it occurs at the ship-from location. In some cases, just delivering an item may not trigger nexus, but offering a service can. (It’s the difference between delivering a door, and delivering and installing a door.) The method of transportation may be a trigger as well. Are you using your own fleet, a common carrier like FedEx, or a third-party vendor? The bedding store Mattress World is an excellent cautionary tale about ignoring delivery-related sales taxes. Mattress World is located on the Oregon-Washington border. Many Washington residents would cross the border to purchase and pick up mattresses. Mattress World started offering delivery and set-up service to their Washington customers through a third-party vendor. But hiring and sending that vendor across state lines created nexus under Washington’s tax code. The company didn’t plan for this and ended up with a $1.7 million (plus tax) debt to the state.

Jurisdictional Boundaries

KEEPING TRACK of differing sales tax rates within your selling area is imperative. Consider that in one area of Colorado, there are six different tax rates contained within a single zip code!


Building Products Digest

January 2014

We’ve been discussing nexus triggers as a state-by-state issue. The truth is you can create additional nexus within the same state by crossing into new tax jurisdictions. States might define their tax jurisdictions by cities or countries, but the boundaries aren’t always so clear. To further complicate the matter, some states allow jurisdictions to set their own sales tax rules. Getting business from a new area in town means you could owe a

pletely new sales tax to a completely new authority. Colorado is notorious for this: they have six different rates in a single zip code!

What’s in a Name

Definitions are one of the stickiest points in sales tax, in part because they can seem so arbitrary and absent of common sense. KitKats, Twizzlers and Whoppers are not “candy” under the Streamlined Sales Tax definition because they all contain flour. Indiana categorizes marshmallows as “candy” (taxable) and marshmallow crème as “food” (exempt). Pennsylvania does not tax clothing, but does tax “fur articles,” which include “articles made of woven animal hair or wool that resembles fur in appearance.” (Presumably a wool sweater would be exempt, but a coat with sheepskin trim would not.) California’s 2013 tax on “certain lumber and engineered wood products” is a great example of definitionrelated chaos. Under this rule, “fencing, railing and decking” are subject to the tax, but bamboo fencing, pre-constructed railing sections, and “deck packages” are exempt. Retailers spent countless hours determining which items in their catalogs were taxable. It was a huge investment of time and

money for the businesses, but it needed to be done. Shortly before enacting this new rule, California announced a plan to hire 300 auditors. Businesses are held responsible for complying with tax rules, even if those rules are almost impossible to understand.

The Take-Away

• Check the nexus triggers for every territory your company interacts with. Don’t assume you need a building or permanent employee in a state to owe sales tax there. • Check the tax rules regarding deliveries for every area you deliver to. You may need to collect additional sales tax from customers in some areas but not others. • Check the jurisdictional boundaries for every state you do business in. Make sure you’re collecting the correct amount of sales tax for each jurisdiction and remitting payment to the correct authority. • Pay attention to definitions attached to sales taxes. The distinctions between taxable and exempt items may seem arbitrary and silly, but the state is going to be very serious about collecting fines and penalties. Sales tax is incredibly complicated. You need a good tax consultant to

make sure you follow the rules in all jurisdictions where you have nexus. But once you know what you’re supposed to do, the next step is doing it consistently. Automating tax calculation is a great strategy because it virtually eliminates the risk of human error. Services like Avalara work with your ERP system and calculate the appropriate rate for each transaction. Your software platforms should be robust, yet flexible enough to handle the inevitable changes in sales tax rules. California’s lumber tax impacted products so inconsistently that most POS programs couldn’t apply it correctly. Many businesses resorted to calculating sales tax by spreadsheet. Agility software was one exception. It adapted to the change easily, and users like Peterman Lumber, Fontana, Ca., and S&J Lumber, Madera, Ca., were able to incorporate the tax without a problem. You may not want to think about this topic, but it’s far better to discuss sales taxes now with your colleagues, rather than later with an auditor. – Jessica Arant is communication coordinator for DMSi Software, Omaha, Ne. Reach her at

January 2014

Building Products Digest


PRODUCT Spotlight By Ed Perez, Boral

The many uses of manufactured stone veneer


ANUFACTURED STONE veneer promises to be more popular than ever in the residential building materials market this year, as its ease of installation and extreme versatility make it a perfect solution for customers looking to keep pace with today’s design trends. Whether it’s a production builder seeking innovative ways to add curb appeal to a community or homeowners wishing to update their residence through a creative remodel, consumers continue to favor manufactured stone veneer because of its varied uses. And the number of applications are still growing: the product’s high adaptability means it is often a natural fit for even the most innovative developments in design. Pioneered more than 50 years ago, manufactured stone veneer is cast


Building Products Digest

from natural stone molds and then meticulously hand colored with mineral oxide pigments to give it the depth, pattern, complexity of color, and unique pattern of stone. Due to its lighter weight, it actually has many more design uses than natural stone. Manufactured stone veneer can be adhered to most wall surfaces, since it is one-third the weight of full-thickness stone. To comply with building codes, stone veneers cannot exceed 15 pounds per square foot, which allows for greater design flexibility. Durability is another prime characteristic of stone veneer, which is of crucial importance to developers, builders and architects who need predictable strength, consistency and quality in their stone veneer products, ensuring materials are safe to handle and remain secure over the long term.

January 2014

Concrete mix used to make stone veneer must withstand at least 1,800 psi without damage, which ensures its durability for years of service. In fact, stone veneer products usually come with a 50-year limited warranty. Made with Portland cement and lightweight aggregates, manufactured stone veneer is low maintenance and can tolerate a wide range of climates. Boral’s Versetta Stone, for example, is rated for wind resistance of over 100 mph. This panelized stone veneer is easily installed in any climate, because its mechanical fastening system does not require heating the wall to a certain temperature during cold weather. Residential projects of all types can benefit from the installation advantages of panelized stone veneer, as evidenced by the recent completion of a $27.9-million affordable assisted living community in Lansing, Il. The community, known as St. Anthony of Lansing, houses 125 apartment units in a three-story building on a four-acre parcel. General contractor LedCor selected panelized stone veneer for its ease of installation in cold weather. The portion of the building that involved 27,000 ft. of product applied via traditional stone masonry methods

took three months to complete and required a full wall tent and heat. In comparison, installer Residential Exteriors applied 27,000 ft. of panelized stone veneer (along with an additional 54,000 ft. of fiber cement shake siding and trim) to the building in just three weeks, without the need for a wall tent and heat. Even with the cold weather, there were no delays. More cost effective than natural stone and available in more than 100 colors and textures, stone veneer is increasingly popular for both exterior and interior applications. Stone veneer can be utilized in almost any manner, even as cornices, copings, wall brackets, and door surrounds. No matter where it’s used, stone veneer makes good construction and design sense— and even a small amount makes a large statement. Following are some of the varied applications that dealers can now target to sell stone veneer: Fireplaces: With the wide variety of stone veneer styles available, it is easy to achieve virtually any look for fireplaces. Stone veneer fireplaces can feature anything from a traditional, rubble texture to a modern, sleek feel. They can be ornate, reminiscent of Victorian styles, given a Tuscan or

Mediterranean appearance, or simply a stone wall and floor on which a wood burner sits. Kitchens/Bathrooms: Stone veneer islands and backsplashes can add texture and variation to kitchens, while decorative stone veneer accents can lend a rustic or natural vibe to bathrooms. A little wall cladding in stone veneer goes a long way. Arches/Doors/Windows: An ordinary arch, door or window can be transformed into a stunning architectural feature just by adding some stone veneer accents. Using stone veneer to offset brick window accents is a growing trend, as is combining different stone veneers to give a very customized look. Keystone windows and arches are also trendy as are window and door surrounds made from carved or inset stone. Exterior Facades: Whether used as an accent or a full wrap, stone veneer can add curb appeal to any home. Using different materials and colors can provide a three-dimensional quality, creating more interest and depth to a building. Layering also helps articulate human scale while complementing the architecture and surroundings. More earth-toned colors are being favored by architects, who are incorporating stone veneer into exterior facades as a way to complement the natural scenery around many homes. In some cases, styles that emulate the natural stone found in nearby surroundings are used, giving the illu-

sion that a piece of the landscape has been incorporated right into the home. Outdoors: A major trend today is the use of stone veneer for outdoor fireplaces, kitchens, barbecue islands, and cabanas. Stone veneer walls can be used to add character and form to gardens and outdoor yards. Their beautiful aesthetics and extreme durability also make them a perfect option for lining driveways and property borders. A Tuscan vernacular is also popular, in which elements are completely cladded—as if the materials were “pulled off the land” and the outbuildings (such as a pool house or shed) have the same look. Columns: With columns a preferred solution for housing heat structures in backyards, stone veneer makes for an ideal wrap because of its light weight. Stone veneer columns in a square shape are a favorite at the moment for backyards, while traditional, Tuscan-style columns are a classic choice for adding old-world charm to entranceways. No matter what your customers’ design needs and interests, stone veneer is likely to be an ideal fit, given its beautiful aesthetics, adaptability, durability and relatively low cost. – Ed Perez is the area sales manager for Boral Stone Northern California and Northern Nevada. Based in Roswell, Ga., Boral USA subsidiaries include Boral Bricks, Boral Roofing, Boral Stone, and Boral Material Technologies. Reach him at

MANUFACTURED stone veneer use is growing both indoors and out. January 2014

(Photos by Boral USA)

Building Products Digest


FIRST Person By Gordon Birgbauer, AIIS/MFP

Industry-specific software isn’t the only solution



I have shared your pain, struggles and sleepless nights with—dare I say it?—IS (Information System) or, as it is sometimes called, IT (Information Technology). I’ve never liked either of those descriptions. Let’s move to a much broader description: ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning. Why is it that we spend countless labor hours on budget meetings, integration methodologies, maintenance, inappropriate functionality, and the inflexibility to adapt to changing business needs? What frustrates me even more is that we allow this IT to rule our business lives with substandard performance, only to be assured, “Don’t worry, your software provider will have it fixed in the next enhancement release.” I contend that LBM industry-specific solutions don’t have to be your only options. A SKU is a SKU is a SKU. You’re telling me that the barcode on that Victoria’s Secret shelf is different from the barcode on a gallon of paint at your store? I guarantee you that walking down Fifth Avenue and visiting the Ralph Lauren store or Gucci store, that they don’t have the ERP struggles that our industry does. You don’t need to have exponential budgets, either. There are solutions outside our industry that offer these ancillary benefits for us to run our day-to-day operations. They are just as efficient and also effective for our internal and external customer. Let’s look at the facts. Compare the growth of our industry in terms of dealers, market share, revenue and profitability to that of Home Depot,


Building Products Digest

Lowe’s and Menards. They, like most Fortune 500 up to 5000 companies, use outside ERP systems. The experts at your local “geek shop” have probably never even heard of your system. If you search Monster or any of the other employment networks for IT or ERP jobs that relate to our industry’s specific software package, you won’t find a huge pool of qualified prospects. Why is it that some co-ops use systems like SAP, but offer their dealers different ERP solutions? I guess they never read Harvard professor Michael Porter’s work on value chain and the importance of transparency to the customer in order to bring value to all stakeholders. The basis of his thesis is that Enterprise Resource Planning facilitates improvement to a company’s value chain, thus generating significant competitive advantage. ERP is the integration of a busiJanuary 2014

ness software solution into a company’s activities and strategy. The theoretical motivation behind implementing an ERP project is to increase efficiency, thereby reducing costs and increasing profitability and customer satisfaction. In addition, there should be increased efficiencies around the supply chain, consolidation of information, and an overall business improvement, which gives those who use ERP an advantage over their competitors. According to Porter, a company’s ERP project can be assessed by the level of improvement in terms of productivity and customer satisfaction. The analysis of the data presented by ROI figures will clearly show that ERP systems provide a significant benefit to the value chain, increasing competitive advantage within an industry. Companies like SAP and Oracle have been leaders in creating value efficiently and effectively by adapting quickly to business changes for their clients. To better compete in the 21st Century, dealers may want to consider more than just industry-specific ERP packages. Like most owners who grew up in this business, I have sawdust in my veins. I love the independent lumber industry and want to see all of us succeed. – The former president of LumberJack Building Centers, Algonac, Mi., where he spent 22 years, Gordon Birgbauer is now a lumber distribution consultant, as president of AIIS/MFP, Algonac. He can be reached at

COMPANY Profile SilvaStar Forest Products

Producer branches out

Targets custom orders, shipping


being acquired by the owners of Welco Lumber, Vancouver, B.C., SilvaStar Forest Products, Bellingham, Wa., is expanding its business by introducing new products and services. “Many companies offer one or more of the same services we do, but none offer the same unique, complete solution,” says Mike Thelen, SilvaStar’s chief operating officer. “Our motto is: ‘Together, your product line combined with ours builds a world of possibilities.’” Here’s how it works: The company produces its own fascia, trim, siding, decking, patterns and furring strips in its 100,000-sq. ft. manufacturing plant. However, with annual production capacity of 200 million bd. ft., there’s also room to dry, mill and stain to customers’ specifications. An additional 40,000-sq. ft. of additional covered storage keeps everything in great shape. “Customers bring their raw material to our plant,” he explains. “If it’s wet, we re-dry it in our kilns. We then process their lumber to match their individual specifications.” NE YEAR AFTER

A SIX-CAR RAIL SPUR on the property enables mixed loads for substantial savings. (All photos courtesy of SilvaStar)


Building Products Digest

January 2014

SILVASTAR’S plant produces a range of company-branded products, plus custom milling and staining to customers’ specifications.

A six-railcar spur on the 30-acre property—which is paved and fenced—simplifies delivery. “We offer a unique advantage for our rail customers, allowing them to order highly mixed cars combining material from our inventory with their custom milling and staining orders,” he says. Adding product from nearby producers isn’t a problem either. “Framing lumber from nearby sawmills can be used to complete their orders,” he adds. “This allows purchasing flexibility and substantial savings.” More than two-third’s of SilvaStar’s business is with two-step distributors, such as Boise Cascade, Boise, Id. “We currently supply 14 Boise locations from Woodinville, Wa., to Pompano Beach, Fl.,” says Thelen. “We also supply custom-branded products to the big boxes.” Mike Bland, general manager of Boise Cascade Building Materials Distribution in Riverside, Ca., says that Boise decided to partner with SilvaStar because “they understand that customer loyalty is all about building longterm relationships. I would rate them right at the top.”

COMPETITIVE Intelligence By Carla Waldemar

Same footprint, but a Cinderella transformation


C LINE ’ S GOT HIS dream job—just ask him. He signed on a year ago as retail merchandising manager for Bloedorn Lumber, headquartered in Torrington, Wy., with 21 stores and a truss plant in four western states. Joe Maya’s crazy about his job, too. He’s worked 17 years in the Worland, Wy., lumberyard he manages, which Bloedorn bought in 2000. “I love merchandising,” swears Greg, who recently masterminded the complete rehab of the Worland store Joe runs. And you couldn’t pry Joe himself out of it with a forklift. “This is my hometown, where I grew up. I love working here,” Joe jubilates. And after the remodel, he loves it even more: Sales are skyrocketing, and new-customer count is on the REG

uptick, too. Bloedorn, launched back in 1919 selling lumber and coal, is on track to remodel the majority of its locations, two stores at a time—some, like Worland, drastically; others with a more subtle touch. The Torrington and Buffalo locations, already completed, each shifted focus in slightly different directions—one toward the retail market, the other to the pro. No cookie cutter in the grand design: “Each store is a little different,” says Greg. So we’ll look at Worland, which celebrated its grand reopening in late September. What’s the town like? Let’s ask Joe, who’s one of the 5,000 folks who live here. First of all, “it’s not a bedroom community,” he laughs. “In Wyoming, every little town is out on

its own. We’re the only lumberyard in town.” But they don’t write off the challenges. “Very strong competition” thrives here, according to Greg, who’s spotted an Ace, True Value, Big Horn, and big boxes looming down the highway. “So, we saw a need to diversify, to update things.” If you, too, are feeling that urge but hesitate to undertake a huge expansion, take note: “remodel” doesn’t have to mean “expand.” Worland’s 10,000-sq. ft. footprint stayed the very same. And, challenging as it was, the store never closed during the top-to-bottom rehab. Customers not only took the upheaval in stride, they acted as cheerleaders, creating a buzz around town (a.k.a. free advertising) about the progress.

TOP-TO-BOTTOM remodel of Wyoming yard began on the outside, with new landscaping, signage and stylish color scheme.


Building Products Digest

January 2014

Planning was done with input of store management. “We spent a lot of time working together,” Joe reports, “back and forth, exchanging ideas. Sometimes I couldn’t believe the new items Greg would suggest—‘Not a chance!’—but we went ahead with many of them, and they’re doing very, very well.” Not by accident. Greg had done his homework, patrolling the aisles of the competition, counting the linear footage in their stores. “I did a market and site analysis, which spurred us to add whole new categories, like RV accessories (lots of tourists along the highway), Dickies work wear, and outdoor camping and cooking gear. We positioned these new features all together in an area of their own, and they’ve been very well-received. We plan to advertise them with circulars and with Ladies KICKED OFF with a recent grand reopening celebration, the makeover has turned Bloedorn Lumber Night events.” Those ladies are thrilled with the into a destination store. store’s brand-new cabinet displays, Greg reports. “Talk about a wow factor! “I started on the outside—I always do, where it’s most Plus chandeliers and ceiling fans and new positioning of visible,” Greg explains. “We put in new lawn and planting, windows and doors.” Speaking of wow, the floor now new paint (from an orangey-red color scheme to one of showcases working fireplaces and pellet stove and a brandmuted green—more stylish), added new signage. It was new outdoor kitchen in the home décor area, complete with right on a busy highway, so people took notice. grill and fridge. The lawn and garden department has “Before, business was 80/20, focused on pros. tripled, including a garden tower and 17-ft.-by-35-ft. Contractors had their own counter, back near the office, greenhouse nurturing live plants. Joe’s staff of 11 will which (unfortunately) they couldn’t see from the front expand in spring to include a nursery-products expert. A door. Now they can spot it, plus there’s more to appeal to new cabinet specialist is already on board. the walk-ins. With the recession, we knew we couldn’t rely Bottom line: Bloedorn has become a destination store. only on the building trade, so we decided this was the time “You don’t have to run to the boxes. Now it’s more in line for an update and a repositioning of the departments to with what the d-i-yer expects from a retailer,” Greg allows. attract the retail trade—especially those with a female “We’ve incorporated items customers have been asking appeal. Today, ladies tell us, ‘I like the way the store is for, and it’s greatly expanded our customer base—espeorganized. Now I can come in with my husband.’” The cially females. We’ll be holding events like Powder Puff paint department, Greg gives an example, used to be right Mechanics—mowers, weed cutters—and classes in canup front. Now, it’s halfway back, on the power aisle, so ning and food preservation.” folks can see it easily. Fine, but how about those pros? “Well, you know,” Same for contractors goods. “‘I never knew you had Greg laughs, “when change happens, it’s, ‘I can’t find it!’ faucets,’ they tell me,” says Greg, “yet there’d been a 28But then I hear, ‘I didn’t know you carried X.’ They were ft. aisle of them, where the pros first came in the store. so locked into their patterns that they never walked the They were right in front of them.” Wrong! Explains Greg, other aisles.” the master merchandiser, “You need a transition zone. The night before the grand reopening, the store hosted a When customers first come in, they need to get their bearcontractors’ night (wives—thrilled—were invited, too) ings, decide where to head. They need space. So we creatwith a catered barbecue dinner, demos ed a foyer with tiled floor and an automatic door (used to and prizes. Then followed the public be swinging). And”—big deal—“we’ve added shopping reopening. “That day—wouldn’t you carts. They’re used to grabbing carts in other stores, and know it?—was the first big snowfall it’s working here. They’re buying more, filling them up.” of the year. We were worried, but Everyone—especially the ladies—likes the new look, the store was full. Lots of new faces, too. Formerly the interior was lit by fluorescent tubes and faces we hadn’t seen for a long hanging on chains from a vaulted ceiling. (“We were heattime, coming back to us. Sales ing a lot of empty space.”) Now, there’s a new drop ceiling are definitely up, and (unlike with new insulation, drywall, paint and lights. Restrooms, the pro accounts) they’re payoffices and break rooms got upgrades, too. ing in cash!” During the months-long transition, gondolas had to be shifted from one side of the store to the other, and products dropped in the power aisle to be sorted through—which to save and which to sell off in the $1 bin. Several brand-new departments were added.

Carla Waldemar January 2014

Building Products Digest


OLSEN On Sales By James Olsen

The size of the motor


have we gone over this?) They just may not have the motor to deliver on your expectations.

FRIEND ONCE TOLD me, “If you’re crazy and poor, you’re called crazy. If you’re crazy and rich, you’re called eccentric.” Let’s just say, if they had been born rich, my parents would have been eccentric. My mother read John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath about the Dust Bowl migration of millions during the Depression from Oklahoma to California looking for work. A powerful novel, the book won the National Book Award, a Pulitzer, the Nobel Prize, and drove my mother to think that it would be a good for our family to pick fruit in the summer, like migrant workers! To my father, an easy-going dreamer and English teacher, in that order, it must have seemed like a great idea, because we spent every summer from age 5 to 14 picking fruit. School would get out on the 6th of June and on the 10th we were gone with the wind (really just an old Ford Fairlane wagon) like a band of fruit-picking gypsies for two-and-a-half months. No baseball, golf or summer tomfoolery for the Olsen boys, no—just Grapes of Wrath.

Many managers I work with have salespeople working for them who are “just good enough not to fire.” They have been haranguing (managing?) these same salespeople for years. Who’s lazy? The sales team or the sales manager? A dirty little secret of sales management is that it is a pain in the neck (read: difficult) to hire and train new salespeople. So it’s easier to try to get growth from the team in front of you. Most managers have some very good salespeople who will never be great. Are they profitable? Yes, more profitable than most, but all their manager can see is what they could be doing (if only), not the great work (especially visà-vis their motor) they are doing. Expecting A+ results from a B+ salesperson is the same as a salesperson wanting A+ results from a B+ account base! SALES GROWTH IS YOUR JOB. Banging your fist on the table and saying, “Sell more!” will not get it done.

Motor Size

Maximize & Grow

I have a twin brother, David. We picked fruit together for nine summers. Cherries, apples, peaches, strawberries, plums and pears. In nine summers, I never out-picked him. David has the focus, drive and tenacity to finish big and small jobs. He is the senior v.p. of a Fortune 500 company. He is a machine with no off switch. His motor for work is bigger than mine. We have the same DNA, but the power is dispersed differently. (I sing and dance better, but no one is paying for that.) You may have some David Olsens working for you. Congratulations, you’ve won the salesman’s lottery. Treat them great; they are rare. Realistically, you probably have more James Olsen types (not Superman, just his pal, cub reporter Jimmy Olsen) working for you. Asking a player to make a play he cannot make and then getting angry with him for not making it is bad coaching, but it happens all the time. It happens on sales teams, too. Any time you hear yourself saying, “If only he would _____ more, he would sell more” or “All she has to do is _____ and she would sell more,” stop. You are not smarter than your sales team. They know what you are telling them. (How many times


Building Products Digest

January 2014

Banging the Table

Set a profitability goal for all salespeople. Make it aggressive. Don’t give in to mediocrity, but be realistic. Once your individual salespeople hit that number, work with them (give them RST Leadership sales training, for example) to get better, but when you get to maximization with your current team, hire more salespeople. This strategy will work with the experienced yet underperforming salesperson who is holding your growth hostage. Like the development in a city that must grow around a hard-nosed non-seller, build around him. When your team knows that you are committed to growth, that you will hire new salespeople, they will work harder for you. New blood will do what nagging never will—grow sales. James Olsen Reality Sales Training (503) 544-3572

Cedar Creek Opening in Atlanta

DEALER Briefs Sasser Lumber Co., La Grange, N.C., has placed its 80-year-old retail and wholesale businesses up for sale. Salem True Value Hardware, Salem, In., switched co-ops after 45 years, is remodeling, and has become Ace Hardware of Salem, as of Jan. 2. Avery True Value Hardware, Newland, N.C., has been sold after 51 years of Banner family ownership. Ace Hardware franchisee Chad Homan will open a new store next month in Faulkton, S.D. Swartz Hardware, Nonantum, Ma., has been acquired by Senneth Berrier after 123 years of Swartz family ownership. Ace Hardware, Monroe, Ct., is closing. Pro Hardware, New Paris, In., has been purchased by Tim Spurlock from Fritz and Norman Weaver, who after 32 years of ownership are retiring to Arizona. True Value , Columbus, Ks., has been acquired by Jason and Lisa Hulvey, who will reopen by spring, once a full remodel is complete. Contractor Randy Coble is overseeing the renovation and will serve as manager once the doors open. Ace Hardware opened a new store in Hampton, Va. Bunnell Hardware, Clarks Summit, Pa., closed after 103 years and auctioned off remaining inventory Dec. 28. Carl’s True Value, Torrington, Ct., was seriously dam-

aged in an early morning fire Dec. 11.

E&H Hardware Co., Wooster, Oh., this spring will open its Ace Hardware store, in Avon Lake, Oh. Anniversaries: Economy Lumber Co., Tulsa, Ok., 80th … Pearson’s Lumber , Lexington, Ok., 75th … Trendel Lumber Co., Ottawa, Ks., 15th …


Building Products Digest

January 2014

Cedar Creek, Oklahoma City, Ok., anticipates an April 1 opening for a new distribution center in Atlanta, Ga., its sixteenth. “This expansion into one of the nation’s top housing markets underscores our ongoing commitment to growing Cedar Creek’s geographic footprint,” said c.e.o. Bill Adams. “Although we are currently servicing Atlanta from Birmingham, Al., our new location will assure that we provide the best possible service and localized product mix to our Atlanta-area customers.” D. Wayne Trousdale, c.o.o., added, “We found a great location, and we’re in the process of assembling an excellent local team experienced in the Atlanta and greater Georgia markets.”

U.S. LBM Adds Pennsylvania Yards

U.S. LBM Holdings, Green Bay, Wi., has acquired twounit Musselman Lumber, New Holland, Pa., from Galen Eby, Joe Good, and Bob Quinlivan. The 102-year-old dealer had yards in New Holland and Ephrata, Pa., which will continue to operate under the Musselman name.

Suburban Detroit Chain Drops 2 Aces

Village Ace Home & Hardware is closing in Bloomfield Hills, Mi., this month and in Rochester, Mi., next month, reducing the chain to three locations. The stores are currently liquidating. Owner Mark Elmer blamed the closures on an inability to renegotiate the leases with the landlords.

GAF Relocating Headquarters

GAF, North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, will relocate its corporate headquarters—and 600-person staff—to Parsippany, N.J., once renovations on its new offices are completed. For more than 30 years, GAF has been based at a 99acre campus in Wayne, N.J., sharing space with its affiliated companies. In 2011, GAF sold International Specialty Products to Ashland Inc., which announced last year that it would relocate its employees from the GAF campus to other locations in New Jersey.

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Lumberyard Opens in Iowa

Banowetz Lumber Co., Anamosa, Ia., opened last month at the former site of Anamosa Building Supply, specializing in dimensional lumber, house packages, shingles, siding and hardware. Owner Jeff Banowetz, a contractor, is surprised the previous company closed last spring. “This community, with its growth, should be able to support a lumberyard,” he said. He’s currently leasing the site, but hopes to purchase property to build a more modern facility.

MeadWestvaco Sells Off Last of Its U.S. Timberlands

MeadWestvaco Corp., Richmond, Va., has completed the sale of all of its U.S. forestlands to Plum Creek Timber Co., Seattle, Wa. The $1.1-billion deal includes 501,000 acres of Southeastern timberland, associated mineral and wind assets, and interests in 109,000 acres of rural and development lands in the Charleston, S.C., region. MeadWestvaco continues to own and manage 135,000 acres of forestland in Brazil.

A&M Picks Up Richmond DC

A&M Supply Corp., Pinellas Park, Fl., has acquired Atlantic Plywood’s Richmond Va., distribution center, as its twelfth location. Atlantic Plywood retains its 10 branches in the Northeast. “Atlantic

Plywood will continue to service its core customer base from New Jersey to Maine,” said president Paul Vella. The acquisition brings A&M added expertise in cabinet supply distribution, along with Richmond’s HPL laminate manufacturing business. “I am extremely excited about the opportunities to increase our service area in Virginia and to expand the manufacturing capabilities of the Richmond location into the Southeastern region of A&M Supply,” said president and c.e.o. Raymond Prozzillo.

Gossen Expands in the East

Gossen Corp., Milwaukee, Wi., has signed on several new distributors and sales agents to expand the reach of its cellular PVC products. Princeton Forest Products, Orange, Ma., is now distributing the full line of Gossen decking, porchboard, exterior mouldings, trimboards and sheets in New England and the mid-Atlantic. Genesee Reserve Supply’s distribution centers in Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y., are now carrying Gossen’s Passport and Trailways decking and porch products in western New York. Reserve Supply, Syracuse, N.Y., is stocking the same lines for central New York. Windward Sales, St. Augustine, Fl., is now repping Gossen products throughout the East Coast and Midwest.

SUPPLIER Briefs Canfor Southern Pine will invest $8 million to expand its SYP sawmill in Darlington, S.C., and will add a second shift by the fall. Spearfish Forest Products, Spearfish, S.D., suffered damage to a planer building and adjacent shavings bin in a Dec. 2 fire. ECMD , North Wilkesboro, N.C., purchased the 132,000-sq. ft. former Lifetime Doors facility in Hearne, Tx., to renovate into its new Texas DC, replacing a leased Houston facility. Public Supply, Oklahoma City, Ok., is liquidating the last of its door and window inventory by appointment, months after the 67-year-old manufacturer/distributor closed and was placed in receivership. Prime-Line Inc., Malvern, Ar., will build a larger, $6.7-million fiberboard plant to meet increased demand. Green Meadow Lumber , Westfield, Ma., escaped a Dec. 17 sawmill fire with minor damage. Richard White Wood Products relocated its log yard and offices to a new site in Morehead, Ky., to be closer to its hardwood timber suppliers. The former location is for sale or lease.

Headwaters Inc., S. Jordan, Ut., agreed to acquire an 80% share in Entegra roofing manufacturer Roof Tile Inc., Okeechobee, Fl. Russin Lumber , Montgomery, N.Y., is now distributing California Redwood Co. redwood products in 13 Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states, starting with Clear All Heart, All Heart B, and Classic Heart lumber. Mid-State Lumber Corp.’s

DCs in Branchburg, N.J.; Kingston, Pa., and Warwick, N.Y., now distribute Fairway Building Products railings in New England and the mid-Atlantic.

Falls City Lumber , Louisville, Ky., is now distributing Integrity Composites’ DuraLife decking and railing in Ky., Oh., In., and W.V., from its DCs in Louisville and Cincinnati, Oh. Huttig Building Products, St. Louis, Mo., has begun trading its shares on the NASDAQ exchange under the ticker symbol “HBP.” 24

Building Products Digest

January 2014

MOVERS & Shakers Denny Meillier has retired after 25 years as president of Alexander Lumber, Owatonna, Mn. He is succeeded by his son, Josh Meillier. Patrick Curtis, ex-Seaboard International, was named v.p. of sales for Concannon Lumber’s Swindeman Trading division, Manchester, N.H. John Edwards, ex-International Beam, has been named EWP mgr. for Cedar Creek, Statesville, N.C. Craig Mitchell has rejoined the sales team at Linworth Lumber, Worthington, Oh. John Fijalkowski was named purchasing agent at Mid-State Lumber, Branchburg, N.J., responsible for western red cedar, Blue Star meranti, fir and Tamko products. Travis Risser, ex-Babcock Lumber, is new as territory mgr. for Lancaster County and surrounding areas. Chris Saidla is now territory mgr. for New England. Lyle Tompkins, ex-Russin Lumber, is territory mgr. for the Albany, N.Y., area. Chad Naish, ex-Birmingham International Forest Products, is a new southern pine trader at Stringfellow Lumber, Irondale, Al. Frank Parrott, Matheus Lumber, San Marcos, Tx., has retired after 30+ years in the industry. Brian Callahan, ex-ProBuild, is new to outside sales with ReVosWel Truss & Lumber, Marion, Ia. David Quintana has been promoted to store mgr. at McCoy’s Building Supply, El Paso, Tx. Jeff Brazezicke, ex-Blue Ridge Lumber, is new to outside sales and Kevan Phares, ex-Associated Materials, is a new engineered lumber specialist at Somerville Lumber Co., Bridgewater, N.J. Dan Smith, ex-Lakeside Quality Building Products, has joined the trimboard sales team at Versatex, Pittsburgh, Pa. Scott Berchiatti is new to Holland Southwest International, Houston, Tx., as business development mgr. Steve Couch, ex-Carter Lumber, is now district mgr. for 84 Lumber, Muncie, In. Ben Ignatowicz is a new mgr. trainee in York, S.C. Susan Susnowy is the new mgr. of customer service for Houston Fence Co., Stafford, Tx. Gina Cali, ex-Allied Building Products, is now key account mgr. in metro N.Y. for Kemper System America, West Seneca, N.Y.

Frank Carroll, ex-Knaack, is now general merchandise mgr. for Ace Hardware Corp., Oak Brook, Il. David D. Bogue, ex-Home Depot, is new to truss design and sales at Timber Roots Truss Co., Sioux Falls, S.D. Gary Hartman has been promoted to director of marketing & new business development at Chelsea Building Products, Oakmont, Pa. Brad Fello is now quality assurance mgr. Mike Jost has been named v.p.-operations for ABC Supply, Beloit, Wi. Kathy Hendricks is now executive director of customer connectivity. Tony Vaden succeeds her as chief information officer. Chris Slusar is now corporate controller. Barbara Anthony and Joseph Lalli were appointed co-presidents of Creative Millwork, Ashtabula, Oh. Bruce Bunn has joined BW Creative Railings, Maple Ridge, B.C., as director of sales. Frank Girard is now senior financial mgr., and Phil Jones, controller. Kalvin Eden has been promoted to sales mgr. for BW Vista Railing Systems. Rob Schmiedel was appointed nation-

January 2014

al sales mgr. for Do it Best Corp., Fort Wayne, In. Scott Orman is now national logistics mgr. Jim Whitton, Hunter Panels, Portland, Me., was elected chairman of the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association, succeeding Dr. Chris Griffin, Johns Manville, Denver, Co. John Weinstein is now v.p. of sales & marketing for Xylem Group, Roswell, Ga. Danny White, T.R. Miller Mill Co., Brewton, Al., was newly appointed to the Softwood Lumber Board by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, along with Charles W. Roady, F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber, Columbia Falls, Mt., and Don Kayne, Canfor, Vancouver, B.C. Reappointed to three more years were Aubra Anthony Jr., Anthony Forest Products, El Dorado, Ar.; Alden J. Robbins, Robbins Lumber, Searsmont, Me., and Francisco Figueroa, Arauco USA, Atlanta, Ga. Art Burne is manning the employee cafeteria at Mungus-Fungus Forest Products, Climax, Nv., report owners Hugh Mungus and Freddy Fungus.

Building Products Digest


THINKING Ahead By Gary Vitale, President & C.e.o., North American Wholesale Lumber Association

Sizing up the supply side

Outlooks and observations for 2014


in the lumber supply chain—logger, mill, remanufacturer, wholesaler, retailer—the immediate future of our businesses will be determined by many forces beyond our control and several very much in our grasp. The questions of growth and profitability will be impacted by the very small (the mountain pine beetle) and the very large (the urbanization policies of the Chinese government), and much in between (the ability of a young family to buy a new home, or the changing EGARDLESS OF OUR PLACE

credit policies of business lenders). With so many factors in play, what lies ahead for the lumber companies that have persevered and survived the devastating impacts of the great recession and the housing collapse? Real recovery has been evident in recent months and there are many positive trends, and we are guardedly optimistic as we look at 2014 and beyond. What is clear is that despite generally rosy outlooks for lumber, not everyone in the industry will emerge from the recession and recovery as a winner. There are many challenges ahead: dealing with credit issues, identifying trustworthy partners, introducing innovative products and practices, and understanding international impacts. Chief among the realities we face is the likelihood that the lumber supply cannot keep pace with growing demand.

Constraints on the supply side While there are varied predictions on how much the lumber supply will tighten, there is a strong consensus among industry experts that supply will not be able to keep pace with demand increases in the U.S. and China— beginning this year and continuing over perhaps the next five years. To dig deeper into this issue, I talked recently with Henry Spelter, a partner and forecaster with Forest Economic Advisors. He predicts that by 2015 or 2016 demand will double to 1.5 billion board feet—twice the current demand—a level that will come up against major supply constraints. The biggest constraint is the pine beetle epidemic. It is reaching its climax in British Columbia (B.C.), but the


Building Products Digest

January 2014

A Special Series from North American Wholesale Lumber Association

wood that has been infested is less useful and a good chunk of supply will be taken out in coming harvests. In 2013, demand was up 5% to 10%, but B.C.’s harvest was the same as the previous year and its ability to respond to increasing demand is very low. This is likely to reduce B.C.’s role in the supply mix. Mill closures due to recession are a factor, but not an enormous one, because much of their output has been replaced by more production at other mills. Still, there has been a loss of about 7 billion board feet in production capacity—about 10%. A third supply constraint is government policies, which are especially limiting in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. These include limitation of timber harvests from public lands, lumber trade restrictions, and log

to grow as China moves to urbanize its population. One result is likely to be higher prices for wood. If demand bumps against constraints, log prices will go up. Now about $400 per 1,000 bd. ft., the price could get to $500 or even $600 or $700. If so, alternative building products such as steel, plastic and composites will become more attractive building products.

What to do Keep your suppliers close. Regardless of the exact levels or causes of the supply shortage, it is increasingly important for lumber wholesalers to solidify relationships with your suppliers and reach out to new possible sources before we are desperate. The competition will intensify in coming months, and those who are well positioned with suppliers will have an advantage. Listen to the sound of the future. I invite you to join me for what will be a very important 2014 NAWLA Leadership Summit, March 30-April 1, at Callaway Gardens, near Atlanta. It will be a timely gathering for all of us, as we face these challenges. Seven industry leaders have agreed to speak to us about the future— about outlooks in various regions, U.S. and international developments, and navigating changes in the supply chain. The speakers are Don Kayne, president/c.e.o. of Canfor; Marc Brinkmeyer, chairman of Idaho Forest Group; Jack Koraleski, president/c.e.o. of Union Pacific; Kimmo Jarvinen, secretary general of the European Organization of the Sawmill Industry; Jon Biotti, managing director of Charlesbank Partners; Peter Alexander, c.e.o. of BMC, and Curt Stevens, c.e.o. of Louisiana Pacific. I urge you to consider attending this Summit as we begin a new phase of lumber industry recovery. For more information, go to

export duties and restrictions. Spelter says the high point of production, in 20042005, was 65 to 70 billion board feet a year. Today, there is 50-55 billion board feet of capacity being used of the nominal capacity of 63 billion board feet (effective or real usable capacity is less because some mills are mothballed). Supply limitations come at a time when U.S. housing starts are trending upward and Chinese demand continues

Position yourself to compete. In this new environment, securing good deals with suppliers will become very competitive. Also, anticipate competition from engineered woods, plastics, vinyl decking and composites, which are likely to become a large part of the market. As one insider said, “We’re going to have to stay alert and act decisively to get our share.” Caution: sharp elbows may prevail.

January 2014

Building Products Digest


SPECIAL Focus Western Woods By Brooks Mendell, Forisk Consulting

U.S. timber supplies and rising demand for softwood lumber


U.S HAS more softwood trees than you can shake a stick at. Analysis of U.S. Forest Service data indicates the South has nearly 3.5 billion tons of standing pine grade and pulpwood inventory on private, operable timberlands. That’s about 140 million truckloads. Coastal Oregon and Washington, a region with 103 open softwood mills, has over 68 billion bd. ft. (over 400 million tons) of standing softwood grade inventory on privately-owned timberlands. And these numbers represent but a fraction of total U.S. forest stocks. Forisk conducts research on the impact of local supply events (such as natural disasters) and trends (such as increased forest growth rates or plantation acreages) on timber markets to forecast timber and delivered log shipments. For the near-term, states with the most severe pine grade oversupplies show how stumpage prices become less sensitive to increases in demand in those states for which a quantitative basis exists for significant excess inventories. Alternately, analysis of coastal markets in the Pacific Northwest indicates less quantitative evidence for dampened log prices in a region buffeted by robust export demand. HE

Forest Supplies & Demand

What do we think about the poten-


Building Products Digest

tial impact of forest supplies on timber prices across the United States in the short and long-term as housing markets recover and forest harvesting increases? In evaluating the potential for softwood grade oversupplies or constraints, Forisk uses the “removal year” metric—accessible inventory divided by removals—to identify a local market with a potential supply imbalance. The removal year estimates how many years it would take to deplete standing inventories, given a set level of removals per year. For example, if we assume one extra year’s worth of standing inventory, it would take four years of removals at 25% above the long-term average to deplete the backlog. In the Pacific Northwest, estimated changes in operable inventories on private lands have been modest, with Coastal Oregon and Washington averaging 16 years of softwood grade removals on the stump on private lands alone. The results in the Northwest change slowly for two reasons. First, the U.S. Forest Service analyzes onetenth of Oregon and Washington’s forests each year. Therefore, we are continually looking at an average 10year forest. Second, Northwest markets have supplemented domestic downtime with increased export vol-

January 2014

umes, reducing the impact on net harvests. We note that the total removal years in the Northwest are higher when operating public forests are included, but we focus on private lands to better reflect harvest responses to changes in market prices. Log exports are important to forecasting models for the Pacific Northwest because exports, while volatile and inconsistent, influence domestic sawlog prices. Export pricing ripples inward from the Coast to the Eastern Washington and Inland markets. In addition, log exports are subject to substitution across products, species and size classes. This is especially critical in Washington, where the ratio of domestic-to-export demand is 5:1. For Coastal Oregon, this ratio is closer to 50:1. On the other hand, analysis of timber markets across the South indicates that, in the short term, excess sawtimber volumes can delay the strengthening of pine grade prices. For the U.S. South, not including outliers associated with lower-volume Tennessee and Virginia, states historically average 18 years of pine grade removals on the stump on private lands. Recent data indicates inventories for these same states approaching 31 years of pine grade removals on the stump. The largest gains have occurred in Georgia, Mississippi and Arkansas.

While the Northwest benefits from log exports, forecasts for the South enjoy an increasing share of U.S. softwood lumber production. Current and forward-looking views on U.S. lumber production by region must account for two shifts. One is the increased U.S. market share of domestic lumber at the expense of Canadian imports. The U.S. share has risen from 61% in 2004 to 72% for 2013 based on year-to-date WWPA data. Two is the U.S. South’s increased market share of domestic softwood lumber production relative to the Pacific Northwest. The South grew its share of domestic production from 34% in 1983 through 1993 to 46% in 1993 through 2003. The 2008 to 2012 five-year average was 50%. Long term, we assume that the South will grow its share of U.S. lumber production as the demand for housing returns to trend. This assumption is supported by the location of capital investments made and announced by forest industry firms in the United States. Forward-looking projections highlight differing potential impacts of the recent economic recession on future forest supplies in the South and Pacific Northwest. Reduced harvesting activities over the past five years resulted in fewer acres of replanted trees. For the near-term, states with the most severe pine grade oversupplies continue to show material decreases in their price-to-demand relationships over the past five years. In other words, stumpage prices became less sensitive to increases in demand in those states for which a quantitative basis exists for significant excess inventories. This includes states, for example, such as Georgia, Mississippi and Arkansas. Alternately, coastal Oregon and Washington have less evidence of supply-driven price effects. While these estimates do not specify the situation in any given wood basket or for any given timberland property, they do support the evidence that supplies have affected stumpage markets selectively. – Brooks Mendell, Ph.D., is president and v.p.-research of Forisk Consulting, Athens, Ga., providing research and educational services  to  executives and analysts making decisions related to timber REITs, timberlands, and wood-using energy and manufacturing facilities.  He can be reached at (770) 725-8447 or

January 2014

Building Products Digest


SPECIAL Focus Western Woods

Modest expansion ahead for U.S. lumber markets


.S. LUMBER DEMAND strengthened significantly in late 2012/early 2013 as home construction showed doubledigit growth. While home building slowed late in the year, residential repair and remodeling—the largest lumber market by volume—picked up the slack. R&R construction spending finished the year up an estimated 9% compared to 2012. Higher interest rates coupled with continued slow economic growth is expected to result in modest but sustainable gains in 2014. Responding to increased demand, 2013 U.S. lumber production increased an estimated 6% to 39.32 billion bd. ft., compared to 36.54 billion bd. ft. in 2012, according to WWPA. Lumber production in the West is expected to climb to 13.34 billion bd. ft. for 2013 and is projected to be

13.97 billion bd. ft. in 2014. Lumber and log exports both saw gains. Lumber exports to the Pacific Rim should top 2.2 million cubic meters in 2013, with overall lumber exports finishing about 9% higher. Log exports to China, predominantly Douglas fir and hemlock from the West Coast, are expected to top 6 million cubic meters in 2013—a 45% increase year-over-year. Exports to Japan are also up by double digits. Log exports to all countries are expected to top 11.9 million cubic meters for the year, up 24%. In 2014, log and lumber exports should ease as domestic lumber prices rise and competition for logs increases.

WWPA Annual Meeting to Mark 50 Years of Service Western Wood Products Association will celebrate 50 years of lumber industry service at the 2014 annual meeting March 2-4 in Portland, Or. More than 200 industry professionals are expected to attend the three-day gathering, which will feature committee meetings, awards, receptions, lumber and housing forecasts, and events to commemorate WWPA’s 50th anniversary. The annual meeting will kick off with the industry welcome reception March 2. WWPA president Kevin Binam will provide the association’s lumber outlook through 2016 at a forecast breakfast. WWPA committee meetings will tackle such industry issues as lumber design values, grade requirements, and phytosanitary regulations for lumber exports. The afternoon features an industry forum on a range of industry issues that impact western lumber producers and their customers. Among this year’s guest presenters will be Brooks C. Mendell, Ph.D., Forisk Consulting, providing an assessment of U.S. timber supply constraints on producers and their influence on western lumber markets. The nation’s housing market and consumer demand for repair and remodeling will be covered by economist Jonathan Smoke. The day will close with the chairman’s reception, offering opportunities to network with other industry professionals. The annual meeting is open to all industry professionals, including retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers. Visit for more details.


Building Products Digest

January 2014

January 2014

Building Products Digest


SPECIAL Focus Western Woods

SPF testing confirms published design values


RELIMINARY TEST DATA analysis of Spruce-Pine-Fir (South) lumber samples from the western mills indicates no change to SPF’s lumber design values is needed. A report on SPF by the cooperating agencies is being finalized for submission to the American Lumber

Standard Committee board of review at this writing. It is anticipated the board of review will consider the submission at their meeting later this month. SPF is a U.S. commercial species combination similar to the Canadian SPF combination. The growth range

of the species included in the group covers the western lumber producing region through the Great Lakes states and extends into New England. Lumber samples for the testing program in the West were taken from mills producing 2x4 lumber in Engelmann spruce, lodgepole pine,

PACIFIC LUMBER Inspection Bureau’s Jeff Fantozzi (right) checks the percentage of summer wood in a No. 2 2x4 SPF sample, as American Lumber Standard Committee’s John McDaniel observes the testing procedures.


Building Products Digest

January 2014

the original in-grade testing program indicates no change is required to the currently published design values. The monitoring program affirms current uses and building code recognition. The recognized span data for the species group will also remain the same. Had the data indicated a shift in properties, the test findings would have reviewed by the cooperating agencies’ memberships and appropriate actions taken. The coordinating western lumber agencies, including Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau, Redwood

Inspection Service, Timber Products Inspection, West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau, and Western Wood Products Association, have been working together since early 2011 on the testing program to monitor western lumber design values. Hem-fir will be sampled and tested in 2014. The testing of western species lumber is conducted periodically to monitor for changes and to allow for timely actions to be taken, if needed, to support western lumber products.

WWPA’s Russ Tuvey measures the mechanical properties of a No. 2 SPF 2x4 at the association’s testing facility in Vancouver, Wa.

and Sitka spruce. The testing for the western lumber sample was conducted by Western Wood Products Association in cooperation with other western lumber agencies. Northeast Lumber Manufacturers Association had previously conducted testing for the Northeast SPF production region and the Northern Softwood Lumber Bureau completed testing for the Great Lakes area earlier this year. The published lumber design values are based on the in-grade lumber testing program. The testing plan was approved by the ALSC board of review. The plan required destructive testing of lumber samples in bending of SPF No. 2 2x4. The preliminary data comparison to the SPF properties established in

January 2014

Building Products Digest


SPECIAL Focus Western Woods By Craig Larsen, Softwood Lumber Export Council

Steady increases for western softwood exports


marketplace for U.S.-produced softwood lumber continues to be a small but steady destination for western softwoods, especially in Pacific Rim countries. The market fell back a bit in 2012, but recovered with the return of China as a major buyer of U.S. softwoods in 2013. Exports for 2013 should finish 20% ahead of 2012 at more than $1.15 billion and 1.4 billion bd. ft.—a possible new near-term record. China reentered the market in a big way, pushing it to the number one spot with an estimated $223 million in value. Japan continued to improve with an estimated $166 million in value and 173 million bd. ft. received in 2011. Two other $100-million markets were Mexico and Canada, which includes re-exports overseas. The international markets cooled in 2012 and were slow to start up again in 2013. Exports picked up during the second half of 2013 and are up from 2012 and near the record levels of 2011. Last year, China regained the HE INTERNATIONAL

number one position for softwood exports after dropping back to fourth place in 2012, behind Canada, Mexico and Japan—markets that are steady or slowly growing. Regional markets estimates in 2013 for U.S. softwoods include the Caribbean at $150 million, Southeast Asia at $50 million, and the European Union falling to $18 million. Upwardmoving markets—such as South Asia, including India and Pakistan, and the South Pacific, including Australia and the French Pacific Islands—combine for another $60 million in exports and Central and South America combine for over $12 million in shipments, up from 9 million in 2012. Western species continue to have the major share of the international markets. Fir has climbed from $58 million in 2005 to $295 million (33% of all softwood export) in 2013. Hemlock has climbed from $11 million in 2005 to $161 million in 2011, but dropped in 2013 to $105 million, mostly from China. Ponderosa pine

INTERNATIONAL BUYERS gave U.S. species a hard look at the American Softwoods booth at the 2013 Birmingham Timber Expo in Birmingham, U.K.


Building Products Digest

January 2014

has maintained a steady market at about $32 million in 2011, but up to $40 million in 2013.


In the worldwide lumber market, U.S. softwood producers are still small suppliers in international softwood markets. Europe, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, and Russia are the major exporting regions or countries for softwood lumber products. International markets requirements and product uses vary widely by species, sizes, grade requirements, and end use of the materials. Traditional structural species, such as fir and hemlock, are found in many non-structural products. Lower grades of all species, of limited value in structural uses, find a home in crating, pallets and packaging. They are used in many reman and gluing facilities, in parts of the world with much lower labor rates, for furniture and millwork components. Wood frame residential construction is mostly limited to North America, Japan and Oceana. Even in those markets, the use of North American framing systems that incorporate 38mm x 89mm (2x4) structural members is limited to the U.S., Canada and a small segment in Japan. Japan is the second largest wood frame building in the world, but of the nearly 540,000 wood frame units in Japan this year, only 108,000 were 2x4 based. The vast majority were traditional Japanese metric post and beam timber construction using metric sizes. Structural framing sizes in Australia and New Zealand use 35mm and 45mm by 90mm and 100mm sizes. U.S. softwood producers successful in these markets are providing metric sized lumber to compete with other imported products, mainly from Europe and Canada.

International Wood Uses

Most U.S. softwood exports are for non-structural uses. Interior applications, such as doors, windows, frames, mouldings, flooring and paneling, are a prime destination for both pine and fir species. Furniture parts and glued panels are also major uses of softwood lumber. Western species, such as Douglas fir and hemlock, in clear and other upper grades are prized in Europe for window and door parts and frames. Ponderosa and other western pines are used in rustic furniture, and for upholstery frames in Mexico, China and Vietnam. U.S. producers sell both metric and imperial sizes into these markets, since much of the stock is ripped and resawn to provide “finished” metric sizes for local markets. A large portion of exported lower grades are used in concrete forming for form walls, wailers and support posts. Much of the worldwide structural construction is based on the use of concrete, creating large demand for formwork materials at all levels. Some markets require structurally graded materials, but otheres see wood as a single-use material and aim for a costcompetitive, disposable supply, such as for fuel or local d-i-y projects.

in a market value of $149 million–up from $126 million in 2011. Mexico is a low-grade pine market, with ponderosa pine the top species imported, behind “other softwoods.” Uses include furniture components, concrete forming, pallets, crating and millwork. Douglas fir is also imported for some structural applications along the border. The major competition is radiata pine from Chile. The Softwood Export Council is the U.S. western softwood link to international markets and marketing activities. The SEC and its member organizations, grading and state agencies, and trade associations provide

marketing programs, including trade shows, trade missions, market sourcing, design and usage info in native languages. A special SEC program helps put U.S. companies in direct contact with foreign buyers by helping with travel expenses to shows and on missions. Whether you are a producer, wholesaler or retailer, you probably have a link to the SEC and its activities through one of the SEC members. – Craig Larsen has served as president of the Softwood Export Council since its founding in 1998. Previously, he spent nearly two decades with WWPA. Reach him at

Western Species Markets

The Pacific Rim is the leading market for western species, with China the top destination in 2013, after dropping back in 2012 behind Japan. China has grown by a factor of 10. In 2005, exports to China were $23 million (33,072,000 bd. ft.), rising to $245 million in 2011. In 2013, however, China jumped 53%, to an estimated $236 million. Hemlock was the top U.S. species imported in 2011 at $105 million; it took the big hit in 2012 and recovered in 2013 to $79 million. Douglas fir was $37 million in 2011, and increased to $53 million in 2013. Japan is the major export market for U.S.-produced Douglas fir, importing $137 million, which was 50% of all Douglas fir exported in 2013, increasing to an estimated $160 million this year and up to 53%. The vast majority of DF is in metric sizes and lengths for post and beam construction. Hemlock/hem-fir was a distant second at $6 million. Other notable species include redwood, western red cedar, yellow cedar, and ponderosa pine. Overall exports are on track to increase by more than 21% over 2013. Mexico was the fourth largest market for western species in 2013, taking

January 2014

Building Products Digest


ASSOCIATION Update Lumbermen’s Association of Texas & Louisiana will present several educational workshops Feb. 4-7 at Menger Hotel, San Antonio, Tx., starting with a two-day yard foreman workshop and followed by one-day sessions on merchandising basics and customer service essentials. LAT’s annual convention, April 23-24 at Sheraton Hotel, Arlington, Tx., will feature golf tournaments, an evening party at AT&T stadium in Arlington, a dinner dance with vintage music and casino-style games, and educational meetings.

Northwestern Lumber Association hosts its annual building products expo Jan. 13-14 at River’s Edge Convention Center, St. Cloud, Mn. Regional lumber dealers conventions are set for Feb. 5-6 at Marriott Madison West, Middleton, Wi.; Feb. 19-20 at The Meadows, Altoona, Ia., and March 11-12 at Embassy Suites, Lavista, Ne. Northeastern Retail Lumber Association has scheduled its annual expo for Feb. 26-28 at the John B. Hynes Memorial Convention Center,

LONG ISLAND Lumber Association honored Paul Gertner (center holding plaque, surrounded by colleagues), president of Starborn Industries,


Building Products Digest

January 2014

Boston, Ma. The event will begin with a breakfast seminar on creating a valuesbased culture for your company’s customer service, followed by a seminar on fiber cement siding. Other events include a keynote talk by Sugar Ray Leonard and a reception celebrating NRLA’s 120th anniversary. Southern Building Materials Association will converge on Hickory Metro Convention Center, High Point, N.C., Feb. 5-6 for its annual building products buying show. Roundtables will cover purchasing and inventory control, new sales methods, and America’s economic future.

Edison, N.J., as Lumber Person of the Year at its Nov. 6 annual meeting in Jericho, N.Y.

Illinois Lumber & Material Dealers Association will celebrate its 125th anniversary at its annual expo Feb. 17-19 at Prairie Capitol Convention Center, Springfield, In.

Lumber, Huntington, N.Y.; manufacturers and services council chair Roger Dankel, Simpson Strong-Tie, McKinney, Tx., and federated association execs chair Rita Ferris, NRLA.

Mid America Lumbermens Association elected Greg Smith, E.C. Barton, Jonesboro, Ar., as its new president during its recent annual meeting in Branson, Mo. He succeeds Kevin Rasure, Rasure Lumber Do it Center, Goodland, Ks. New 1st v.p. is Dan Prendergast, Moscow Mills Lumber, Moscow Mills, Mo.; 2nd v.p. Jim Bishop, Vesta Lee Lumber, Bonner Springs, Ks.; 3rd v.p. Ed Page, Bowling Green Lumber, Bowling Green, Mo.; NLBMDA delegate Alan Clark, Clarks Building & Decorating, Hot Springs, Ar., and secretary-treasurer Hatch McCray, McCray Lumber, Kansas City, Ks. New directors are Landon Garner, Garner Building Supply, Rogers, Ar.; Patrick Goebel, Star Lumber, Wichita, Ks.; Mark Borchers, Great Southern Wood Preserving, Blue Springs, Mo.; Guy McGillivray, Forest Products Supply, Newton, Ks., and Brandon Alles, Roberts & Dybdahl, New Century, Ks. New state committee chairs are Chris Cleaver, Cleaver Farm & Home, Chanute, Ks.; Adam Hendrix, Chic Lumber & Hardware, St. Peters, Mo., and Gary Smith, Smith & Sons Building Center, Anadarko, Ok. Next up for MLA are its annual Missouri winter meeting Jan. 9-10 in Columbia, Kansas winter meeting Jan. 23-24 in Wichita, and Arkansas state committee meeting Feb. 6 in Little Rock.

North American Wholesale Lumber Association will host a Southeast regional meeting Feb. 13 at Hyatt Regency, Birmingham, Al. Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association will host its annual expo and convention Feb. 5-6 at Marriott Downtown, Indianapolis, In. Educational sessions will focus on

superstars of sales, sales and product knowledge training, and the construction outlook. Networking events will include the tree farmer breakfast, exhibitor reception, and a bonfire bash. Mississippi Lumber Manufacturers Association kicks off its annual winter meeting Feb. 5-6 at The Grand Hotel, Natchez, Ms. Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Association holds its annual meeting Feb. 26-March 2 in Boca Raton, Fl.

National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association honored Pat Thorne Lumber, Chillicote, Mo., as independent Pro Dealer of the Year during its recent Industry Summit in Nashville, Tn. Cally Coleman Fromme, Zarsky Lumber, Victoria, Tx., was honored as Grassroots Dealer of the Year for her work on the Innocent Sellers Fairness Act (H.R. 2746). New officers are chairman Chris Yenrick, Smith Phillips Building Supply, Winston-Salem, N.C.; chairelect J.D. Saunders, Economy Lumber, Campbell, Ca.; 1st vice chair Scott Yates, Denver Lumber, Denver, Co.; 2nd vice chair Davis Boland, Boland Maloney Lumber, Louisville, Ky.; treasurer Linda Nussbaum, Kleet

January 2014

Building Products Digest


SPECIAL Focus Southern Pine

Outlook brightens for southern pine industry


EW HOME CONSTRUCTION is on the rebound, the nation’s employment picture is inching its way toward improvement, and lumber dealers are finally recovering from the disastrous impacts of the latest recession. Measures of builder confidence have also been on the rise in recent months. With spotty increases in demand, lumberyards are coping with new sales strategies to invigorate monthly sales totals. There’s a bit less market uncertainty lately; the lumber industry remains cautiously optimistic. Estimates of total southern pine lumber shipments for

2013 hover around 15.5 billion bd. ft., nearly 8% above the 2012 volume and a promising 16% ahead of the 2011 volume shipped. Though a return to historic 2005 highs of 1.7 million single-family starts and 19 billion bd. ft. shipped won’t happen, market indicators suggest that 2014 could chalk up another year of increased annual shipments. Certainly, more promising days lie ahead for southern pine suppliers. Through it all, the Southern Forest Products Association has supported southern pine lumber dealers and distributors with the tools they need to improve their sales and service customers. Whether it’s providing span tables and design values, specification and construction guidelines, even outdoor project plans, SFPA has delivered promotional and sales support to lumber retailers for nearly 100 years.

Now Effective: New Design Values

FABULOUS FRAMING: The strength and stiffness of southern pine lumber is comparable to other softwood species used in residential and commercial construction.


Building Products Digest

January 2014

In terms of impact on business, perhaps the biggest news for southern pine dealers and users last year was the announcement of new design values for all sizes and grades of visually graded southern pine dimension lumber that became effective June 1, 2013. It was the first major revision of design values since 1991. Southern pine’s strength and stiffness is comparable to other softwood species used in residential and commercial construction. Southern pine users have many available product options, including visually graded dimension lumber and an increasing supply of mechanically graded lumber. From framing a house to building a deck, southern pine continues to be a dependable product with superior treatability against decay and termites. The new design values apply only to new construction; the integrity of existing structures designed and built using design values meeting applicable building codes at the time of permitting does not change. Southern pine users can find complete information about the new design values, as well as comparisons with other species and updated span tables by visiting “Everyone should be using the new design values now that the effective date has come and gone,” said Cathy Kaake, SFPA’s vice president of technical marketing.

“Look for the New Design Values logo on SFPA’s publications to make sure you have the current information on southern pine lumber products.”

Get Connected:

Lumber dealers need just one online source for all product information related to southern pine. SFPA’s gateway,, provides convenient access to SFPA’s comprehensive family of websites, dedicated to specific applications. The flagship marketing site,, has recently been upgraded to include several new helpful features for lumber dealers. The popular Product Locator remains a dealer’s easiest way to find suppliers from a listing of more than 400 products—all sizes, grades, profiles and other specifics are called out here. New to this locator is the ability to search for suppliers by state, resulting in a list of nearby southern pine manufacturers; complete contact information is provided. Also new to the site is a Lumber Purchase Inquiry form, available right on the homepage. Here, any dealer or user can fill out a form of what they are looking for, indicate where they would like to have it delivered, submit the form to SFPA, and then receive responses from interested member suppliers. The listing of updated span tables, based on the new design values for visually graded southern pine dimension lumber, has been remodeled to make a selection of any table easier and more intuitive. If customers have more questions about the new design values, SFPA provides a dedicated page on its site with all the related details and background information on this topic. Building professionals and serious do-it-yourselfers will appreciate the 10 project plans and information available inside the Outdoor & Garden Ideas section of the site. Each project plan listed is now formatted to standard 8.5”x11” sheets, making it quick and easy for dealers or their customers to download and print. The projects appeal to all levels of skill, from the very basic to the more advanced. Plans include lists of pressure-treated southern pine materials and tools required, plus detailed construction steps; illustrations cover every phase of assembly. This collection features three deck plans, backyard storage units, a playhouse, doghouse and childrens’ picnic table, among others. The Publications page contains SFPA’s comprehensive Lumber Library. Here are more than two dozen titles to help dealers and their customers properly select and apply Southern Pine materials for the job at hand. A good place to start is the Southern Pine Use Guide, which includes grade descriptions, standard sizes, seasoning requirements, plus all design values. The Pocket Span Card has been updated to include the latest span information, including spans for using machine stress rated (MSR) lumber and machine evaluated lumber (MEL). Hard copies can be ordered from this page of the site. These cards are very popular with builders and building officials wanting a handy reference to spans on the jobsite. Other publications are available listing maximum spans for joists & rafters, plus size selection and allowable load tables for headers and beams. These authoritative booklets are all provided as free PDF downloads. When the deck-building season gets underway this spring, nearly one million homeowners will build a deck or add on to the one they already have. Dealers can click over

POCKET THIS: The new pocket span card includes tables based on the new design values.

to and find complete construction details and recommended practices for building decks and porches. Product selection, installation, finishing and maintenance tips—it’s all here. Span tables for deck joists and beams and other details related to the new design values have been updated. SFPA also offers a helpful construction guide that dealers can use with professional deck builders and advanced do-it-yourselfers. Southern Pine Decks and Porches highlights the beauty, durability, comfort and value that pressure-treated southern pine materials bring to outdoor structures. This updated booklet covers the deck and porch building process from start to finish, compiling the latest information for the proper specification and use of treated southern pine materials for codeaccepted decks and porches. Porch construction details are provided as well, with tips on fasteners, finishes and proper maintenance. Handy tips are included to enhance the building process. Impressive deck and porch projects are illustrated throughout the booklet. Dealers and professionals already familiar with treated lumber can use this booklet as a refresher course in building techniques, or to acquaint a customer with the versatility and value of using real wood products for their new deck or porch.

Best Bet: Treated Southern Pine

It’s a fact: the unique cellular structure of southern pine permits deep, uniform penetration of preservatives without incising, making it the preferred species for pressure treatment with the newest formulations of preservatives. No wonder that some 90% of all pressure treated lumber produced in the U.S. is southern pine. This material remains popular for decks and gazebos, plus marine applications such as fishing piers, bridges and walkways. And, of course, it’s perfect for framing entire homes and other structures in areas of the country where excessive moisJanuary 2014

Building Products Digest


ture, decay and termites can create problems. Dealers can address customers’ green building concerns by noting advances in wood preservation technology, creating new “earth-friendly” formulations that are now widely available. New code-approved preservatives include several micronized copper formulations, which reduce impact on marine or terrestrial environments and are less corrosive to fasteners. For the end-user, paints and stains also look better when applied to these materials. Borates are continuing to find growing popularity for wall plates and interior applications not exposed to continual moisture. Whatever preservative is used, proper application of treated lumber is essential to long-term performance. Along with treaters and preservative manufacturers, SFPA reminds all users of treated materials that if the end tag indicates “Above Ground” use, then it is not intended to be used for “Ground Contact” applications, which includes lumber in contact with soil or fresh water. “Lumber dealers can help prevent the misapplication of treated materials by educating their customers,” advises Eric Gee, SFPA’s director of treated markets business development. “Stair stringers and decks that are subjected to regular wetting, such as a hot tub platform, are good examples of where material treated to ‘ground contact’ specifications should be used.” SFPA offers a comprehensive

SFPA continues its promotion of raised wood floor foundations, educating building professionals and consumers about the merits of building a raised home rather than one on a con-

crete slab. Focus groups conducted by SFPA have confirmed that homeowners appreciate the look and enhanced curb appeal of a raised floor home. Lumber dealers can benefit from promoting raised wood floor systems, too; each framing package can add a third more lumber when a raised wood floor foundation is included. Developers are finding that a raised wood floor foundation is also the cost-effective solution for sloping lots that would otherwise require expensive fill. Remodeling projects and underfloor repairs are simplified with a raised floor foundation. Certainly, a raised wood floor foundation makes sense in flood-prone areas due to its inherent elevation advantage. It may also be the cost-effective approach in areas with poor soils. This type of foundation is easier and less expensive to level than a concrete slab if any shifting or subsidence does occurs. SFPA provides the resources dealers need to maximize a customer’s satisfaction with a raised wood floor foundation. The basic facts and features are outlined in a six-chapter video series accessed from the homepage of A new section of this site highlights construction details for building homes with closed crawlspaces, explaining insulation details for optimizing energy efficiency. Helpful construction guides and promotional brochures can be downloaded from the publications page at, too.

LOOKING UP: Dealers that promote a raised wood floor system can add a third more lumber to the typical framing package.

While new home construction continues its recovery, repair and remodeling projects are keeping dealers’ customers busy. And southern pine products are ideally suited for projects all around the home. No matter the décor, southern pine flooring, available in a range of widths, grades and finishes, can enhance the look of any indoor space. Homeowners have discovered that a wood floor adds comfort and value, not to mention being a healthier, allergy-free alternative to carpeting. Wall paneling and wood ceilings add a dramatic flair to all rooms of the home, providing another opportunity for any dealer to boost southern pine sales. Using the long lengths available, a customer can reduce splicing. Eye-catching clear or semi-transparent finishes draw attention to southern


Building Products Digest

technical guide all about choosing and using pressure treated southern pine. The new 2014 edition of SFPA’s Pressure-Treated Southern Pine features a simplified specification guide as well as more detailed specification guidance, if needed. Also included is a table listing the commercial trade name under which each preservative is marketed and a corresponding product website for those wanting additional information. This new edition will be available soon as a free PDF download at

New Labeling: Treated Wood

The plastic end tag on each piece of treated southern pine lumber is being updated for easier identification. In a recent development, the treated wood industry adopted new labeling practices for preservativetreated lumber products that are in compliance with the International Building Code and International Residential Code. The new end tags have easily identifiable markings for both American Wood Protection Association Standard U1 and ICC Evaluation Service LLC preservativetreated wood products.

A Higher Standard: Raised Floors

January 2014

Indoor Beauty: Southern Pine Patterns

UNDER FOOT: Southern pine flooring, available in a variety of widths and grades, enhances the décor of a home.

pine’s distinctive grain. And best of all, wood is a natural insulator, contributing to the energy efficiency of the home. When it comes time to know proper installation and maintenance tips, SFPA offers comprehensive guides for using both interior flooring and exterior porch flooring. Copies of Southern Pine Flooring and Southern Pine Patterns are available as free PDF downloads from the Publications page of A two-part video program covers installation of both materials from start to finish in a case study format. With a visit to SFPA’s YouTube channel, southernpinelumber, dealers and their customers can view both instructional programs right on their laptop, on a tablet or smartphone (along with more than 30 other programs and updates).

Helpful Services for Dealers

With regular visits to, lumber dealers can invest in their future success by learning what’s available to help themselves and their customers build with versatile, durable southern pine products. Today, the site is a dealer’s top resource for answers to customers’ questions, training salespeople, and for locating product suppliers. Sourcing hard-to-find items can be just a few mouse clicks away. Complete information about SFPA and its programs and services available to the industry are presented online at the association’s website, SFPA continues to extend its social media reach, too. Dealers can follow SFPA on Twitter, @southern_pine, receiving news updates, enabling immediate access to information.

January 2014

Building Products Digest


WARREN TRASK Co. hosted an open house to show off its [1] new facility in Albany, N.Y. [2] Bernie Nugent. [3] Scott Lewis, Ken Mello. [4] Bill Nauman, Clayton Clark. [5] Vincent Micale, Debbie & Larry Stephenson, Larry Carr. [6] Charlie Vogel, Laura Bevevino, Tim Wiley. [7] Jack Curry. [8] Bob Hansen, Gil Adams, Rick Palmiter. [9] Andy Kennedy, Jim Zlotnick, Tom Novine.


Building Products Digest

January 2014

NEW Products

Waterproof Roofs in a Flash

The new Kemperol Flash Pack from Kemper System America is an easy-to-use solution for waterproofing and repairing leaks in roofing and flashing. Each kit contains everything needed to cover, re-flash, or repair up to 25 sq. ft. The fully reinforced resin system provides full closure to flashings and roof penetrations, eliminating the need for pitch pockets.

 KEMPERSYSTEM.NET (800) 541-5455

Prefab Balconies

Easier-to-Handle Trimboard

Wahoo Complete is a prefabricated aluminum balcony for use in multi-family construction. Made from 50% post industrial-post consumer scrap aluminum, it is fireproof, powder coated, and marine grade. Two walking surfaces are offered: Wahoo’s AridDek aluminum decking or DryJoist structural joists with traditional deck boards.

Versatex has added five easierto-handle sizes to its line of 11/2” thick Versatex Max extruded cellular PVC sheets. The new sizes (2”x4”, 2”x6”, 2”x8”, 2”x10”, and 2”x12”) were developed based on feedback from customers. All sizes are made to eliminate or reduce lamination steps during fabrication of custom mouldings, rails, pergolas, and corbels.



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Building Products Digest


The Look of Rock Walls

SimTek decorative rock walls offer beauty, privacy, and noise reduction. Made of proprietary polyethylene plastic and reinforced with galvanized steel, SimTek walls are resistant to impact, organic processes, ultraviolet light, almost all chemicals, termites, and other insects. Their modular design enables a seamless transition between panel sizes. Six colors are available, in 3’, 4, 6’, and 8’ heights.

Easy Tarping

Powered Truck tarping from U.S. Tarping Systems minimizes the time-consuming and dangerous task of laying out tarps on top of loads. The product enables a single user to tarp a load without leaving the ground. The system can be installed as a stand-alone building or be incorporated into existing structures.


 SIMTEKFENCE.COM (866) 648-9336

Modified Wood Wraps

New post wraps from Perennial Wood match the beauty and durability of the company’s modified wood decking and porch flooring. The wraps provide a finished dimension of 6”x6” to traditional 4”x4” posts. They are available uncoated or factory-finished in cedar, mahogany, and Cape Cod gray.

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Grade Marked SYP Grades: MSR 2400f 2.0E, #1, #2, #3 All MSR is pulled to a #1 wane rule (1W)

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Building Products Digest

January 2014

Easy-to-Install Stone

Environmental StoneWorks’ ClipStone mortarless stone veneer creates the look of natural stone. It can be screwed directly to sheathing or walls with an embedded mounting clip. A lapping-down design ensures stones fit together tightly in all four directions. Universal corners and accessories are also available.

 MYCLIPSTONE.COM (800) 891-5402

Underlayment That Seals

Ultra HT Wind & Water Seal from MFM Building Products is a self-adhering roof underlayment with a 90-day UV-exposure rating. The product is engineered as a whole-roof underlayment for use with asphalt shingle and metal roofing products. A split-release liner can be used in valleys, ridges, around chimneys, and at eaves for protection against ice dams, wind-driven rain, and water penetration.


(800) 882-7663

Speedier Deck Installations

The Speedeck decking gauge can position up to five deck boards with perfect 1/4” gaps for quicker and easier installations. Manufactured with high-density polyethylene, the tool reduces installer fatigue and keeps hands safely away from nail guns. Five sizes—4”, 5-1/4”, 5-1/2”, 6”, and 8”—accommodate a range of boards sizes.


January 2014

Building Products Digest


PVC Deck with Charm

Paramount PVC decking from Fiberon combines lasting durability with a realistic wood look. The line includes two solid color and three multi-colored looks, in

square-edge and grooved profiles. Phantom hidden fasteners provide a smooth surface.

 FIBERONDECKING.COM (800) 573-8841

Wondrous Wraps

KleerWrap post wraps from Kleer Lumber are designed to install in minutes. The pure-white posts are virtually impervious to moisture and insects, but have the look of natural wood and can be painted. Sizes are 4”x4”, 6”x6”, and 8”x8, in 8’ and 10’ lengths. Two bed-moulding sets are included with each post, and additional mouldings can be ordered.

GET FUELED UP! AT THE 120 th LBM EXPO The 120th LBM Expo will be held in Boston at the Hynes Convention Center in late February 2014. LBM Expo ’14 is your pit stop for ideas, networking events, education and hundreds of LBM products and services. Mark your calendar today and plan to rev up business this year!

 KLEERLUMBER.COM (866) 553-3770


FEBRUARY 26-28, 2014 EX PO








Water-Shedding Decking

DuxxBak decking from Green Bay Decking is designed to shed water without the need for an under-deck drainage sysem. Its patented formulation is made from a combination of rice hulls, a paper by-product, and HDPE. Specially designed end caps help water drain from the deck top, creating a dry space underneath the deck that can be used for additional outdoor living space or storage. Boards come in 12’, 16’ and 20’ lengths, in six colors: rustic red, copper canyon, walnut, driftwood, mahogany and cedar.

 GREENBAYDECKING.COM (877) 804-0137


Building Products Digest

January 2014

LBM Retailers Set for Modest Turnaround After a period of sharp declines resulting from the failing housing market and declining economy, the retail lumber and building material industry is set for a modest turnaround, thanks to a series of positive changes that will affect revenue over the next five years, according to a new IBISWorld report. Over the past five years, revenue for LBM dealers has grown at a minimal average annual rate of 1.8%. According to IBISWorld analyst Kerry Coughlin, “The volatile cost of lumber, which accounts for about 65.4% of industry sales, has also burdened industry firms over the period.” The trend has made it difficult for retailers to anticipate future spending and control costs. Furthermore, the industry has experienced intensifying competition, especially from home improvement stores, which offer the added convenience of one-stop shopping and, at times, lower prices. IBISWorld estimates that profit declined to industry lows in 2010, only to recover in 2013 with margins reaching 2.6%. Falling margins caused some operators to exit the industry or consolidate. As a result, the number of enterprises fell at an average annual

rate of 1.7% to 43,692 in 2013. “After facing stagnant conditions following the recession, the housing and nonresidential construction markets finally began making significant strides in 2012, and strong gains in both sectors are expected for 2013,” said Coughlin. IBISWorld projects industry revenue jumped 10.1% to $96.3 billion in 2013, driven by an increase in residential construction investment and higher spending on home improvements. As population growth and pent-up demand drive up housing starts, and improved economic conditions boost demand for repairs and renovations, sales will continue to rise, albeit not as high as pre-recession levels.

IN Memoriam Travis Nathan Canepa, 48, foreman of Hughes Lumber, Muskogee, Ok., died Nov. 24 in Muskogee. He joined Hughes in 1998. Richard Marvin Ingram Sr., 80, retired owner of Shore Building Supply, Lewes, De., died Nov. 29.

January 2014

Stanley Dean Richardson Sr., 78, longtime Decatur, Il., lumberman, died Nov. 13 in Decatur. He started his lumber career with Hunter-Pogue Lumber, working there 36 years before joining Sims Lumber. Scott G. Harmon, 41, former employee of Webster Lumber/Stella Jones, Bangor, Wi., died Nov. 29 in Bangor after a battle with ALS. He spent 21 years with the firm. Paul D. Mathews, 84, founder of SII Dry Kiln, Lexington, N.C., died Dec. 10 in Lexington. He founded SII Dry Kiln in 1969, serving as president until his retirement in 2004. Robert Casper, 92, founder of Casper True Value Hardware, Lake Zurich, Il., died Nov. 30. During World War II, he served with the Air Force. He founded the family business in 1969 and retired 10 years ago. Duane Martin Kleiman, 77, founder of Kleiman’s Wood Products, Custer, S.D., died Dec. 12 in Custer. He started his career as manager of Custer Lumber Sawmill, Custer. He launched Kleiman’s in 1973.

Building Products Digest


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JOIN OUR WINNING TEAM! CEDAR CREEK is looking for a few good men and women. We believe that our great

people are the key to our company’s success. Aggressive growth has created Sales, Operations and General Management opportunities across Cedar Creek’s expanding footprint. Consequently, we’re looking for the very best people in our industry to help staff and grow our new and existing distribution centers across the country. Please contact us if you: • Have a successful track record • Can relocate for the right opportunity • Desire earnings and responsibility commensurate with your ambition • Are experienced in lumber and/or building products sales or operations For more information about Cedar Creek, please go to If you’re interested in learning more about how you may become a key player on our winning team, please email your resume to for a confidential review of your qualifications.



Your Southern Yellow Pine Timber Connection Specializing in 6x6, 6x8, 8x8, 10x10 Tel. (662) 862-2125 • Fax 662-862-4900 email

PRODUCTS FOR SALE SHAVER WOOD PRODUCTS Southern Yellow Pine Timber Production

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Reload Services & Storage Available Norfolk Southern Mainline Served Easy Access to I-40 & I-77 Company-Owned Truck Fleet (704) 278-9291 • Fax (704) 278-9304 Cleveland, N.C. email or



Building Products Digest

January 2014

BUSINESS FOR SALE ESTABLISHED LUMBER company/building supply in eastern N.C. Five+ acres, fenced yard, rail spur. Three weather-tight warehouses and showroom. Sales in the millions over 30 years. Wholesale distributor also open to the public. More details,

WANTED TO BUY WE BUY AND SELL PANEL STRIPS Plywood, OSB, particleboard and MDF by the truckloads. Lumber Source, Phone (800) 8741953, Fax 888-576-8723, email

DATE Book Listings are often submitted months in advance. Always verify dates and locations with sponsor before making plans to attend. Mid-America Lumbermens Association – Jan. 9-10, Missouri winter meeting, St. Louis, Mo.; (800) 747-6529; United Hardware Distributing Co. – Jan. 10-12, market, Convention Center, Minnneapolis, Mn.; Northwestern Lumber Assn. – Jan. 13-14, expo, Rivers Edge Convention Center, St. Cloud, Mi.; (763) 544-6822; New Jersey Building Materials Dealers Assn. – Jan. 15, regional meeting, Kenilworth, N.J.; (609) 802-0238; Lumbermens Association of Texas – Jan. 15-16, estimating workshop, Baton Rouge, La.; (512) 472-1194; Lake States Lumber Assn. – Jan. 16-17, winter meeting, Radisson, Green Bay, Wi.; (888) 213-2398; House-Hasson Hardware Co. – Jan. 16-18, market, Opryland Resort, Nashville, Tn.; (800) 333-0520; Buttery Co. – Jan. 18-19, dealer market, Bell County Exposition Center, Belton, Tx.; (800) 880-1515; Do it Best Corp. – Jan. 20-22, winter conference, Swan Resort, Orlando, Fl.; (260) 748-5300; www.doitbestcorp. Rhode Island Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association – Jan. 23, meeting, Augusta, Me.; (800) 292-6752; Mid-America Lumbermens Association – Jan. 23-24, Kansas winter meeting, Wichita, Ks.; (800) 747-6529; HDW Inc. – Jan. 24-26, dealer market, Little Rock Convention Center, Little Rock, Ar.; (800) 256-8527;

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Northeast Window & Door Assn. – Jan. 27-28, winter meeting, Foxwoods Resort & Casino, Mashantucket, Ct.; Surfaces – Jan. 27-30, Las Vegas, Nv.; National Assn. of Wholesaler-Distributors – Jan. 28-30, executive summit, Fairmont, Washington, D.C.; (202) 872-0885; New Jersey Building Materials Dealers Assn. – Jan. 29, regional meeting, Galloway, N.J.; (609) 802-0238; WoodWorks – Jan. 29, Wood Solutions Fair, Charlotte Convention Center, Charlotte, N.C.; (866) 966-3448; International Builders Show – Feb. 4-6, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nv.; (800) 368-5242; Lumbermens Association of Texas – Feb. 4-5, yard foreman workshop; Feb. 6, merchandising basics; Feb. 7, customer service essentials, San Antonio, Tx.; (512) 472-1194; New Jersey Building Materials Dealers Assn. – Feb. 5, regional meeting, Maywood, N.J.; (609) 802-0238; Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Assn. – Feb. 5-6, convention & expo, Marriott, Indianapolis, In.; (800) 640-4452; Northwestern Lumber Assn. – Feb. 5-6, Wisconsin lumber convention, Marriott West, Middleton, Wi.; (763) 544-6822; Southern Building Material Assn. – Feb. 5-6, show, Hickory Metro Convention Center, High Point, N.C.; Mississippi Lumber Manufacturers Assn. – Feb. 6-7, winter meeting, Natchez, Ms.; (601) 982-1731; Monroe Hardware Co. – Feb. 8-9, market, Cabarrus Events Center, Concord, N.C.; (704) 289-3121; New Jersey Building Materials Dealers Assn. – Feb. 12, regional meeting, West Trenton, N.J.; (609) 802-0238; North American Wholesale Lumber Assn. – Feb. 13, regional meeting, Birmingham, Al.; (800) 527-8258; Northeastern Retail Lumber Assn. – Feb. 26-28, annual expo, John B. Hynes Memorial Convention Center, Boston, Ma.; (800) 292-6752;

January 2014

Building Products Digest




Doing Good

For more information on advertisers, call them directly or visit their websites [in brackets].

Blue Book Services [] ....................30 Cabot [] ......................................................5 California Redwood Co. [].........Cover II CenterLine Trailers [] .....................24 Chicago Suburban Lumber [] ....43 Columbia Vista Corp. [] ................29 Crumpler Plastic Pipe [] ................................49 C.T. Darnell Construction [].........................35

Business basics and civic responsibility have

helped an East Coast dealer to thrive, even in tough economic times. “It’s service and price,” says Scott Pesavento, owner of Hemlock Hardware, Fairfield, Ct. “This past year was our biggest and best year in 21 years.” To stimulate business, he dropped prices on 35% of his inventory and plans to reduce prices on almost all the merchandise he sells. “Our industry has contracted,” he says. “The weak don’t survive.” Pesavento also believes that his business succeeds by working hard to serve the community, by hiring only local residents to work in the store, and supporting local charities—especially in times of disaster. He says that he cherishes the close connection he feels with regular customers. “I’ve had people sobbing in my arms,” he says. “You can’t put a value on that.” After Hurricane Sandy, his store donated several hundred lanterns to those in need. When a winter blizzard shut down power, he stepped up with free flashlights. Last summer, he donated fans to elderly residents. “Hemlock Hardware has always been there to help us in a variety of ways,” says police chief Gary McNamara. “It’s such a good partnership.” When a local family has a particular need, such as insulation in cold weather, the police department calls Pesavento. When a weather-related crisis develops, Pesavento contacts police to offer help. Hemlock Hardware’s commitment to community helped it win a national award from its co-op, Do it Best, which has 3,800 member-stores worldwide. Hemlock was the only one in Connecticut to be named a 2013 Hardware Store All Star for outstanding customer service, community involvement, and business acumen. Pesavento believes that running a small business has its advantages. He doesn’t have to answer to shareholders, and his customers enjoy the old-fashioned aspect of direct service and mutual respect. “My grandfather was a handshake kind of guy,” he says, “and so am I.”

DeckWise [] ...................................................41 Everwood Treatment Co. [].........17 Hancock Lumber [].........................................37 Idaho Forest Group [] .....................29 InSpire Roofing Products []...................8 KOMA Trimboards [] ..........................3 Lumbermens Association of Texas [] ......................42 Northeastern Retail Lumber Association [] .........46 Pleasant River Pine [] ......19A-19B Plycem USA [] ............................................21 Potlatch [] ................................................33 PPG Machine Applied Coatings [www.]..................15 Ray White Lumber [] ............................4 Roseburg Forest Products [].............Cover IV Screw Products [] ..............................11 Simpson Strong-Tie []...........................Cover I SilvaStar Forest Products [] ...........................7 Skyreach L&S Extrusions [] ......................36 Smith Millwork []...................................47 Snider Industries [] ...........................22 Southern Forest Products Association [].............25 Swanson Group Sales Co. [].........31 Terminal Forest Products [].................45 Tolleson Lumber []..............................44 TriState Lumber []............................49 Versatex [].............................................Cover III Warren Trask Co. [] ...........................................23


Building Products Digest

January 2014


Building Products Digest

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BPD Jan 2014  
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January 2014 issue of Building Products Digest, monthly magazine for lumber & building material dealers & distributors