Wood Floor Trends

The Global Effects of Wood Flooring

Lucy Ward

Lucy Ward

July 18, 2022

With the major global events that have happened over the past couple years, it was inevitable that there would be some impact on wood flooring.

Increased Prices

The first global effect is the increase of price for wood. Similarly to the cost of living in the UK, timber prices have been steadily on the rise since May 2020. In May 2021, the cost to import plywood was 29.8% more expensive than it was in May 2020. Plywood in particular is essential for the manufacture of engineered wood flooring as using it gives the planks added strength and resilience to moisture and heat. It’s also used in the buildup of floors to add stability and strength. Although birch wood ply is usually cheaper than oak, because most European birch is located in Ukraine and Russia, its supply has been severely limited, and the price of this raw material has sky rocketed.

These increased costs mean that companies are now having to pay more for the same amount of wood, and thus are spending more than they have previously.

Shipping Costs

As well as the price of materials rising, the shipping costs have also significantly increased over the course of the past couple of years due to the United Kingdom leaving the European Union and the COVID-19 Pandemic. The shipping costs can rise by thousands of pounds; this combined with increased prices of materials has resulted in businesses having to increase their prices to be able to afford the materials required. On top of having to pay more to ship resources, there has also been an increase in shipping times.

The pandemic led to postal and shipping services all around the world experiencing a backlog and a delay. Things that would previously take a few days to arrive at the destination would end up taking a couple of weeks! This is detrimental to businesses as often projects would have to be delayed to accommodate the delays. Before the pandemic, Brexit was also beginning to affect shipping times. Due to no longer having the trade agreements that the UK had when a member of the EU, there were a lot more steps to go through to import certain resources into the country. More paperwork and requirements to meet meant that shipping times were delayed.

Global Conflicts

2022 has seen the purchasing of birchwood for plywood be affected globally. This issue is due to the conflict happening in Russia and Ukraine. Half of the EU timber imports come from Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine – all 3 countries that are affected by the conflict. A lot of countries have blocked imports from Russia and their ally (Belarus) and Ukraine cannot export resources at the moment due to having to focus all their resources on the conflict. Companies who previously purchased these resources are now looking at supply chains coming from Western Europe. The increased demand from these supply chains inevitably delays it for everyone. Furthermore, there are having to be limits put on the amount of birch plywood that can be purchased at once. This preserves supplies and means that there won’t be shortages in the future.

Despite all these global effects on wood flooring, Inner Space Flooring continues to source the materials for our floor projects from sustainable European forests rather than importing from the far east. This ultimately saves money and allows us to reduce our carbon footprint, maintaining a sustainable perspective on our work.