REAL ESTATE FOCUS: Changes in building materials have stabilized prices

While most aspects of the home construction process have remained the same over the past several years, one area that has changed is building materials.

Changes and improvements in the construction materials have led to better methods and stable prices, says Larry Bartel, owner of Bartel Construction. The changes have kept prices the same for new materials while prices for other items continue to rise.

?Everything is going to more composition material,? Bartel said.

This type of pressed-wood product not only keeps costs down, but is easier to work with because it doesn?t warp or bend as much.

?It?s made things a little easier and you get by with less skilled labor,? Bartel said.

Even though the new materials are less expensive, if handled right, they are comparable in durability to higher-priced items, he said.

Another way to keep costs down is to use oak overlays on door jams instead of solid oak.

Bartel said he also is starting to see more requests again for hardwood floors in homes.

?The big change is trying to find young skilled labor, or someone willing to learn trade labor,? he said.

Some of the changes in materials are due to technology, but most come from the desire of workers to make construction easier and faster.

Homebuilders should be aware of the different types of lumber available to them because they can choose which type to use in the construction of their home.

Another area of construction that has experienced change is siding and windows.

Jake Wiebe, owner of Wiebe Siding & Remodeling, said over the past seven to eight years he has started a dealership for new vinyl siding with full backing.

Using siding with full backing has several advantages, Wiebe said. It provides four times the insulation value, is resistant to hail and rocks, and comes with a full warranty.

Wiebe also has windows for every budget, including triple-pane insulted windows.

Guttering is another building component that has changed in recent years. The current trend is for seamless aluminum gutters, which, unlike traditional guttering, will not rust or leak.

But not every local business involved in the construction trade has seen significant changes recently.

Sherry Kunkel, co-owner of Kunkel Construction, said they have not seen any significant changes in materials or in the process of building.

Terry Rhea, of Concrete Products in Hillsboro, said concrete products have remained about the same, too.

The last significant change made in concrete was in additive mixtures, which made the concrete set up faster, more durable, and easier to work with.

The Lumberyard, one of the key suppliers of building materials in Hillsboro, has not seen any recent changes either. Although improvements are always being made in products, nothing radically new has hit the market lately.

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