Annual LBM Dealer Surveys Show Sales Drops, but Optimism for 2024

Once again, leading publications within the LBM industry have crunched the data to offer a look at how leading lumber and building material suppliers are faring and what issues matter most to them today. As in years’ past, two LBM dealer surveys—LBM Journal’s LBM 100 and Webb Analytics’ Construction Supply 150—offer not only a ranking of the country’s top dealers but also a pulse on how the entire residential construction industry is trending.

Not surprisingly, this year’s numbers reflected the economic crunch many in construction are feeling. “While 2022 saw nearly all companies in the LBM 100 post sales gains, 2023 data showed the majority of companies in the LBM 100 saw gross sales drop,” LBM Journal editors reported. “While just six companies reported a year-over-year decrease in gross sales revenue in 2022, more than 70 companies reported drops in 2023.”

Craig Webb, owner of Webb Analytics, made similar observations, noting that he had to go back 15 years to find the same number of dealers reporting sales declines as did in 2023. Three-quarters of the 150 LBM dealers and home improvement stores on the Construction Supply 150 reported revenue declines.

However, LBM Journal noted that the sales drops are not necessarily indicative of total gloom and doom and that LBM dealers are on the move. One commenter noted that 2022 performance was bolstered in part by higher prices; many dealers may have sold a similar amount of product in 2023, but at lower prices. High interest rates also played a role, and those are expected to drop some in 2024. Webb also pointed to the role of volatile lumber prices, detailing a roller coaster of price changes for the commodity products over the past three years. 

“While 2023’s ride has been sobering, dealers have emerged safe—and optimistic for the future,” Webb wrote. “On average, CS150 members predicted sales would rise 4.4% this year.” About 70% of Webb’s CS150 are predicting gains in 2024, compared to about 14% expecting declines.

Indeed, dealers certainly haven’t slowed down on making big moves, LBM Journal noted. “Dozens of companies reported expanding operations, making acquisitions and mergers, and celebrating milestone anniversaries in the past year—all signaling investments in the future.”

The majority of dealers on the LBM 100 said they expect to grow in 2024, and 60% of companies said they have plans to expand in the next one to two years—more than had indicated as such in last year’s survey.

TruExterior Trim

Top Trends from the LBM Dealer Surveys

Here’s a look at other trends uncovered in the two LBM Dealer Surveys:

Hiring woes continue: Labor is still an ongoing hurdle for LBM dealers just as it is for construction companies. Seventy-two percent of LBM 100 dealers indicated that recruiting, hiring, and retaining employees remains a top challenge, roughly equal to last year. Drivers are by far the hardest positions to fill, with 86% of companies indicating such. To combat the issue, many dealers are investing more in their HR teams or outside recruiters, the magazine said, as well as in staff training and development.

Employment unchanged: Despite the decline in sales, construction suppliers’ overall employment numbers rose a smidge (0.3%, excluding Lowe’s and The Home Depot) in 2023, Webb Analytics reported.

Manufacturing and installed sales remain a key offering: Almost half of the Construction Supply 150 companies manufacture one or more categories of building materials, with trusses and doors leading the way. Half also offer installed sales.

Online sales offerings decrease: In the LBM 100, the number of dealers offering online sales dropped from 32% to 30%, though some companies acknowledged that they will need to add these options in the future.

Rise of the robots? In the LBM Journal survey, one dealer reported using inventory robots to scan for retail outages and pricing, while another is leveraging AI to sell to commodity buyers. The CS150 survey, which includes big box stores, found that nearly 20% of companies are using AI for some part of their operations.

For the company rankings and many more datapoints, view the full LBM Journal 100 here and download the Construction Supply 150 here.

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Inspiration Gallery: Interior Moulding for Every Home Style

From crown to casing to wainscoting, endless options for interior moulding mean architecture and building pros can meet the needs of nearly any project. One of the most important things to consider when narrowing down the options is how interior trim will complement and enhance the home’s overall style and carry it from room to room.

Here are a few examples of how to coordinate trim with popular architectural styles to ensure harmony and cohesiveness.

Craftsman Interior Moulding Styles

The Craftsman home style is often described as “honest,” as in the happy result of a satisfying day of hard work. Therefore, look to simple, tailored, and purposeful door trim and minimally ornamented window casings. Using white, light beige, and cream-colored crown moulding will help create a roomier feel.

Craftsman interior moulding style

Colonial Interior Moulding Styles

Colonial homes combine rustic simplicity and rich detail, with symmetry and confident formality at the forefront. This calls for interior trim that lends a touch of stately courtliness to each room, including multi-piece trim and wider baseboards, wainscoting, and crown moulding.

Colonial moulding style

Cape Cod Interior Moulding Styles

Cape Codes boast a practical, quaintly unassuming design best accented by interior trim that adorns subtly. These might include casings for double-hung windows, picture rails, and frame walls. In the kitchen and dining area, white ceilings and cabinet moulding against soothing grays and warm blues create an inviting and timeless combination.

Cape Cod moulding style

Modern Interior Moulding Styles

Clean and sleek, Modern homes call for similarly crisp and unassuming interior trim, such as unadorned window and door casings, baseboards, or simply using trim to protect walls and floors from scuff marks and handprints. Or, make a neutral-colored room more interesting with a contrasting (but complementary) door, floor, and window trim color, such as light mocha accents over cream-colored walls.

Modern moulding style

Ranch Moulding Styles

Ranch homes are open, informal, and inviting. Trim should help maintain a relaxed feel that flows from room to room or area to area. Ranch style lends versatility, with everything from simple baseboards to more formal window and cabinetry trim in the kitchen, fireplace mantels in the family room, and passageway casings.

Modern Farmhouse Moulding Styles

Humble practicality and clean lines combine for this in-demand traditional-meets-contemporary style. Look to transitional trim options—simple with someedge or flair—as well as shiplap and nickel gap beadboard trim, particularly for kitchens, accent walls, entryways, and mudrooms.

Shiplap for Modern homes

Ready to get started? Explore interior trim options from Royal, Skytrim, and Kleer.

Cedar Renditions Aluminum Siding Adds Burntwood, Blonde Oak Colors

Westlake Royal Building Products has added two new colors to its Cedar Renditions aluminum siding line: Burntwood, a traditional color offering the look of stained woodgrain look, and Blonde Oak, a premium color featuring multi-tonal woodgrain designs.

“Westlake Royal Building Products is dedicated to providing our customers with a broad portfolio of product options in the latest trending shades, all while ensuring top-notch performance,” said Steve Booz, vice president, marketing, Westlake Royal Building Products. “That’s why we’re excited to introduce two new colors to our award-winning Cedar Renditions™ aluminum siding line.”

Cedar Renditions Burntwood color

Cedar Renditions is a sleek and modern aluminum accent siding, delivering the beauty of stained wood without the maintenance or flammability issues. Available in Siding, Soffit and Trim, it’s the perfect design accent for side walls, porch ceilings or soffits. In addition to exceptional curb appeal, Cedar Renditions offers several benefits, including:

Cedar Renditions Aluminum Siding in Blonde Oak

Crafted from highly durable and recyclable aluminum, Cedar Renditions is rust-resistant, water-resistant, impervious to cold, and insect-proof, ensuring a long life expectancy. Supported by a 25-year Prorated Limited Warranty, it is available for purchase through designated distributors spanning the United States and Canada.

For more information, visit https://royalbuildingproducts.com/cedarrenditions. For warranty details, please see here. The warranty found there is the sole warranty applicable to Cedar Renditions products.

Traditional Design Meets Modern Materials for Massachusetts Tudor Home

From a distance, NS Builders’ recent new-construction home in Needham, Mass., is stunning in its beauty and traditional New England appeal. Taking a closer look, the results only get better as the numerous unique features of the Tudor home reveal themselves, showcasing the builder’s keen attention to detail and commitment to authenticity.

Nick Schiffer’s clients came to him with a request for a traditional home, one that held true to American architecture. Schiffer worked with Tiek Design Group, which designed a beautiful 7,800-square-foot Tudor-style home featuring quintessential gables, curved roofs of varying pitches, and a multitextured façade of reclaimed brick, wood-look siding, custom shutters, and composite roofing offering a nod to the region’s history while meeting the performance realities of today.

Brick, Siding, and Shutters Deliver Texture, Authenticity

Across the façade, two primary materials interplay to bring a cohesive, eye-catching look. The home’s two primary gables frame the entry in beautiful antiqued brick reclaimed from a train station in New Hampshire; the brick continues through the entry stairs and walkway retaining wall.

The remainder of the façade features TruExterior® poly-ash siding. The 8-inch planks, crafted by DURATION Moulding & Millwork, were installed vertically with precise 1/8-inch spacing for a true nickel gap appearance. Made with a proprietary blend of fly ash and polymers, TruExterior siding offers the look of real wood alongside low maintenance, high performance, and resistance to moisture, warping, and insects.

“We’ve had experience with TruExterior and DURATION in the past and chose it for its durability, longevity, paintability, and workability,” Schiffer says. “We wanted a product we could put up and know we weren’t going to have long-term maintenance issues.”

The siding was installed over a synthetic rainscreen with a gap at the bottom to ensure trapped moisture can escape the wall system.

TruExterior Siding and reclaimed brick on a Massachusetts Tudor home

The dark taupe of the TruExterior siding offers the perfect backdrop to the deep brown shutters and window frames. The Atlantic Premium Shutters® feature a V-groove flat panel style, lending an elegant, historic look. Authentic hinge hardware and shutter stays provide both authenticity and operability. Schiffer also added spring-loaded catches for extra security. As part of Atlantic’s custom color program, the shutters were painted to the customer’s specs to match the Benjamin Moore “Black Bean Soup” paint color on the home’s garage doors.

“When we came across Atlantic Shutters, we knew they could nail the details and work with us to customize them and provide us with a high-quality shutter,” Schiffer recalls.

Each shutter was crafted for the window sizes, ensuring proper coverage both physically when closed and visually when opened.

Atlantic Premium Shutters on Massachusetts Tudor Home

Other authentic details include a dramatic walnut entry door, robust window trim, and half-round gutters color-matched to the trim. The gutters lead to a standalone drainage system that collects into a single catch basin to recharge the groundwater.

Shutter hardware

Slate-Look Roof Tops Off Historic Aesthetic to Tudor Home

Perhaps the most prominent element lending this home its Tudor look are its rooflines, most notably the matching steeply pitched gables that define the front façade. Each asymmetric gable combines a straight pitch to the inside and gentle swooping curve to the outside, a feature repeated in several other areas of the house for a quintessential estate feel.

In its early stages, the design called for a cedar roof, but the high costs led Schiffer to consider other options. His team built a mockup to test materials, eventually landing on DaVinci® Roofscapes Multi-Width Slate Shingles. The synthetic material offers the look of slate in a lighter weight and boasting Class 4 impact resistance, a Class A fire rating, and a 110-mph wind rating.

“The nice part about it is that the multi-width is available in 6-, 7-, 9, 10-, and 12-inch widths, so when you’re installing it you get that randomized pattern, which I believe gives it that authentic look,” Schiffer says. “We had people stop by and look at it from the street and ask if it was slate.”

Sweeping rooflines on Massachusetts Tudor home

Schiffer says the DaVinci roofing offered a more cost-effective option versus real slate; using real slate also may have required reengineering the roof to support its weight. In addition, the product’s malleability made it easier to install on the curved portions of the roof, and matching ridge caps accommodated the pitches easily.

Though not required by DaVinci, NS Builders installed ice and water shield under the roofing to allow contractors from Boston Exterior Remodeling to take their time installing the vast roof without worrying about the sheathing being exposed; it also allowed interior finishing crews to start their jobs sooner.  

NS Builders Connects With Manufacturers for Support

Throughout the process, Schiffer found a strong support system from Atlantic Premium Shutters, DaVinci Roofscapes, and TruExterior, all of which are part of the Westlake Royal Building Products™ portfolio of brands.

“They made it easy to work through what we needed in terms of technical details, provided samples when necessary, and had an overall willingness to work with us,” the builder says.

NS Builders completed the home in late 2023, just in time for the family to enjoy a cozy New England Christmas.

To see footage of the home and detailed walk-throughs of the exterior construction techniques, catch up with NS Builders on Instagram and check out their videos:

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