Will the Winter Weather Cause a Delay in Raw Materials?

Life is busy, and if we aren’t paying careful attention, it can feel like we just saw Jim Cantore dancing on screen to the sounds of thundersnow, or that we heard something about how this year’s strong El Nino is going to ease California’s drought.

So, what’s the bottom line: Was this winter a bad one, and is it going to disrupt my ability to get flooring this spring?

The good news is that this winter has been relatively mild, especially in the Northeast.  There just hasn’t been much super cold or super wet weather for much of the country.  This should translate into a normal supply cycle for this spring.

The typical delays suppliers face in the spring can be unavoidable.  During the winter months the raw wood that is stacked and drying in the yard at the mill isn’t naturally able to dry out as much as during other seasons.  This wood then goes into the kiln with higher moisture content, meaning that the drying process lasts longer.  We inevitably see some production kinks at this stage, as there is simply no way to speed up the drying process without ruining the wood.

There may also be some delays depending on what the mill dries the wood to, and where the flooring is going.  Moisture content is the key.  The recommended moisture content range is between 6 and 9 percent.  So depending on what the wood has been dried to, and the destination climate, the installer may need to add some time to allow the wood to acclimatize properly on the jobsite.

So, bottom line, the good news is that we won’t be able to blame the winter weather for delays or price increases.  If there are delays and price increases this spring, they will be due to other factors.