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Is FSC Lumber More Expensive?

We get this question a lot. All the time. And the short answer is: Not always.

Oftentimes our FSC certified, locally harvested wood products are actually  less expensive than the same non-certified products, sourced from who-knows-where, at nearby Big Box stores.

Folks are always surprised at how competitive our wood products are.  All of our lumber & plywood is FSC certified and locally manufactured. We can trace it right back to the mill that makes it and FSC Certification assures responsible sourcing from well-managed forests. Because the supply chain is so short, our wood products can be more competitively priced and are often less expensive that the non-certified, mystery-origin plywood at other retailers in the Portland area.

With some products, FSC certification will add a bit onto the cost. Most rough estimates generally say between 10% and 20%. This is because the mills that provide FSC dimensional lumber pass on the costs of the auditing and additional paperwork required to maintain the chain of custody. 

In general,  projects should budget a little more to use FSC wood and reach out to one of our sales associates for a quote. 

Other FSC items that do not necessarily cost more are our FSC cedar and hardwoods. Because we work directly with local mills, we eliminate the middle men, which works out better for our customers (and helps us ensure that our mills are operating in ways that meet our Triple Bottom Line goals).

Here are some ways that you can minimize any added costs of building with FSC lumber:

  • Order in advance. Any time material has to be rushed to a jobsite to meet a tight deadline, there will be added costs for shipping. Especially if it's an unusual item (24' beams or 2x14 lumber, for instance). By getting orders in well ahead of time, shipping can be optimized. 
  • Design the project to use standard materials. While we are able to offer highly customized dimensions and specialty items for projects, these are going to cost more whether or not they're FSC certified. By designing around standard sizes and planning your project to make use of in-stock items, you can help keep the costs down. Ask for a copy of our price list to see what standard sizes are.
  • Explore alternatives. Sometimes using unconventional materials can help reduce overall project costs considerably. For instance, maple is a very beautiful hardwood that is often used for cabinetry, furniture, and other interior finishes -- but alder is a less expensive option with a nearly identical look. 

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