It’s a simple case of supply and demand.

Home builders are busy, thanks to continued low interest rates and consumers’ increasing preference for living in suburbs, exurbs, and rural areas. The demand for softwood lumber has grown accordingly.

The result? Lumber prices have skyrocketed, adding nearly $16,000 to the price of the average single-family home since spring.

Smart product choices can ease these pressures. Extended length OSB wall sheathing panels significantly reduce labor and materials costs. OSB roof sheathing with a radiant barrier is an easy, cost-effective way to meet energy efficiency-related code requirements and reduce the buyer’s cost of living in the home.

Extended Length Wall Sheathing – The Right Fit

For decades, the standard ceiling height in American homes was 8 feet. The standard for wall sheathing panels was, therefore, 8 feet. Today, 9-foot ceilings are the norm and higher ceilings are not uncommon. Extended length wall sheathing panels are the right size for these taller walls, saving builders labor and materials.

Available in 9- and 10-foot lengths, extended length panels can connect the top plate with the soleplate, eliminating the need to install a partial board above an 8-foot panel and then put blocking behind the boards to seal the gap. This significantly reduces the time required to frame a house and decreases materials costs, said Tony Rocha, senior field sales and business development representative for RoyOMartin.

“Framers can be resistant to trying extended length panels, but once they see how much faster and easier they make a job, they’re all they want to use,” Rocha said.

“No one needs to cut and put up the extra boards. No one needs to do the blocking. Those steps take time, on every single panel on every single wall.”

And with framers typically paid by the square foot, rather than by the hour, the ability to get to the next job more quickly can boost revenue, he added.

Extended length panels also help reduce materials costs, Rocha said, by eliminating the need for boards and fasteners for blocking and the waste of cut panels that cannot be used for anything else.

Radiant Barrier – Keeping it Cool

A roof sheathing with a radiant barrier is an easy, cost-effective way to build a home that will keep occupants more comfortable and their cooling costs lower for as long as they live there.

With an R-value of 5.5, radiant barrier panels keep attics up to 30 degrees cooler in warm weather and in winter. That means less strain on the HVAC system, better airflow, and less energy needed to keep occupants cool.

The biggest benefits are seen in hot, humid climates, Rocha said, but even in northern areas, using radiant barrier is a low-cost way to meet ever-more-stringent energy-related code requirements.

Builders are busy. Softwood lumber prices have surged. It’s a matter of supply and demand. Choosing extended length wall sheathing and radiant barrier roof sheathing can help builders manage their costs and lower the cost of occupancy for their customers.

Learn more about products that can help reduce costs on your next project at