Two Upcoming Webinars Explore Alternatives to Lumber in Home Building

Filed in Advocacy, Education, Material Costs by on April 28, 2021 9 Comments

This post was updated on May 26 with webinar replay information.

With the price of lumber reaching all-time highs and no immediate relief in sight, NAHB Education has scheduled two free webinars that will explore alternatives to wood-framed homes so that members can better educate themselves about available options.

Home builders are not likely to leave behind traditional “stick-built” homes without good reason. But with lumber prices now adding nearly $36,000 to the price of an average single-family home and with recent advancements in building technology in other areas, certain framing methods at least deserve a look.

If you missed the live webinars, you can still register now to access the webinar replays.

The Business Case for Building with Insulating Concrete FormsConcrete home - alternatives to lumber
Wednesday, May 5, 2021, 1–2 p.m. ET

As lumber prices have spiked, the cost of concrete has remained stable. Insulating concrete forms (ICFs) have become a highly popular alternative to wood framing. ICFs are polystyrene forms that are stacked in place and then filled with concrete to form a solid wall.

This webinar will present builders with the business case for building high-quality, disaster-resilient, energy-efficient homes with concrete. Hear from a builder who has used ICFs, a developer who is championing concrete in home building, and a representative from the concrete industry. Register now.

Sponsored by Build With Strength, a Coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association.

Affordable Lumber Alternatives: Framing with SIPs and Steel
Wednesday, May 12, 3-4 p.m. ET

Metal framing - alternatives to lumberTwo established framing methods — structural insulated panels (SIPs) and steel frame construction — are getting fresh consideration as an alternative to onsite stick framing. These methods may provide an answer for home builders facing record-high lumber prices.

Webinar attendees will get an overview of each solution, and hear from builders and industry professionals who have successfully integrated SIPs and steel frame construction into their home building businesses. Register now.

Please contact NAHB eLearning for any questions about the webinars.


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Comments (9)

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  1. Gary says:

    Build with AAC block and steel. Just use plywood for the deck and roof.

  2. Diana Seavey says:

    I am a Realtor licensed in TN and GA and I have wondered so many times why these other building options aren’t more popular! I’m so excited to see other building options being explored and hopefully, we will see more of these very smart and timely building styles utilized.

  3. John H Green says:

    I am a builder here in Kitsap County, WA. I can see these alternatives working, but in the years ahead. There is a skill set to building with steel and the concrete panels…………no one out here has those skills, and it would take years to get reliable skilled labor……..not to mention the cost in ramping up.
    Instead of talking about alternatives…….industry need to get back to the table, and get the Government on board to assist in discussions with tariff’s, lumber mills and less spin.
    The mills will get back, as well as the tariff’s will start to drop……….it takes diplomacy, instead of articles like the above……putting fear into the industry…….also, things will come back as Covid starts to take a back seat……..the news media, as always, do not help…….sensational reporting has to stop!

    • DonnaRae says:

      Thank you, John! My thoughts exactly. If my builder was familiar and experienced with these materials he would have suggested them. The last thing I need is inexperienced tradespeople fumbling through my project. Our build (Clallam county, WA) is on hold until lumber prices are more affordable. I also agree that the media makes matters worse with the panic they create. Remember a year ago with the TP shortage? There wasn’t a shortage, that was panicked people hoarding more than they needed.

    • Gilbert Melendrez says:

      I could not agree with you more John H Green. Everything you say in your comment is 100% true! I found myself questioning whether it is safe and sensible to build Jones in this environment. I have been telling everyone the same thing. The government needs to step in and put a stop to this atrocity that is happening with lumber prices and steel prices.

  4. We are building with ICF, ICCF, Thermomass and other alternate systems. Hollow core precast, tilt wall are all great options.
    We can assist with design and build.

  5. James Olson says:

    ICF’s are excellent but the hard part is finding a contractor that can do the work. SIP’s are also excellent but OSB and Plywood are harder to find than lumber and prices have increased more than lumber.

    Why does NAHB erroneously site “lumber” as the reason for increased construction costs when it should be correctly stated “building materials”? As stated earlier, lumber prices have not increased as much as other building materials such as plywood and OSB.

  6. Louis Blanda says:

    This is interesting. Years ago I worked with an engineer that was going into the steel stud use for building homes. He left the place we worked together so I never found out how he did. It sounded like a great alternative. Strong, no termite issues, but I never knew what the downsides were.

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