Sales of New Homes Increased by 45.3% in the West - Parr Lumber

Sales of New Homes Increased by 45.3% in the West

According to the latest figures from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau, sales of new homes increased in January by 28.9% from a year ago, and 15.6% since December. On an annual seasonally-adjusted basis, newly built, single-family homes sold at a 437,000 pace. New home sales increased in every region. The West had the biggest gain at 45.3%. The Northeast posted a 27.6% increase, and the Midwest saw an increase of 11.1%. The South had the lowest increase (3.2%).

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Portland Home & Garden Show - Parr Lumber

Traeger Grills Specials at the Portland Home & Garden Show

The Portland Home & Garden Show starts today at the Portland Expo Center. We’re in booth #1919. Stop by and check out our sweet deals. For instance, we have a fabulous special on Traeger wood pellet grills. Our show prices are too low to print here, but our competitors will be jealous when they find out. In addition to our special low prices, you can also get up to $90 back on a Traeger grill through their rebate program.

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CCB Continued Education Credits courses - Parr Lumber

Four CCB-CEU Classes This Week

This week, Parr Lumber is hosting four CCB Continued Education Credits courses. The classes are Therma-Tru Doors and Installation, Upcoming Legislation in Oregon, Jeld-Wen Windows Features, Benefits and Installation, and Weyerhaeuser Trus Joist Engineered Wood Products Design and Installation.

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Windows 101 - Parr Lumber

Windows 101

I know it can be somewhat overwhelming for the average person who may only buy windows once in their lifetime. In this blog we are going to offer up all of the information you need to feel confident in your next window purchase.

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Gable shed - Parr Lumber

Things to Consider When Building a Shed


draftsman - Parr Lumber

-What you need to store determines the size of your shed.

Make sure you design the size of the shed to hold everything you want to keep dry. I always recommend going bigger than you think. Consider adding a lean-to on the side or back of your shed to store things like firewood.

-Materials you are going to use.

Determine early what you want to build your shed out of. It will help you down the road when you want to get quotes. For instance, what type of siding or roofing?

-Are you running electricity?
-Do you want windows or skylights?

Personally, I am not a big advocate for windows since they are easy to break into and limit your wall storage. However, that being said windows and skylights can be nice for lighting if you don’t plan on running electricity.

-How big does the door need to be?

If you need to roll a lawnmower or quad through the opening, make sure you account for that in your design.

-Jurisdictional requirements

Check with your city officials to see if there are requirements for property line setbacks, size and height restrictions or even fire codes. In some cases you may have to pull permits. Some jurisdictions may require permits based on whether or not it is a “permanent” structure, plan your design accordingly.

Choosing your site

-Access to your yard

Choose a spot in your yard that has easy access and is secure from would be criminals. Consider how wet the ground gets since you won’t want to be sloshing through your yard to gain access to your stuff.


If you want electrical lights and receptacles in your shed you will more than likely have to pull permits. The easiest way to wire it would be underground through specialized conduit. Think about other utilities that may be in your way or other obstacles like concrete patios or trees. Always have a locating crew come out and show you where things are under the ground!


-Slab vs. Framing

Pouring a slab definitely makes for a more solid foundation. Although, depending on how big it is you may have to pull permits and supply an engineered plan for your building. If you aren’t building a second garage than the easiest thing to do is frame a joisted floor on footings and deck it with plywood. It is also easier to build by yourself and more cost effective.

concrete pad - Parr Lumber
dekblok - Parr Lumber
joisted floor on footings - Parr Lumber

-Pier Pads Vs. Poured Footings

Pier pads are an inexpensive and easy way to build off the ground. If you are worried about your building from sinking into the ground you may want to consider pouring footings. You can dig down below your frost line and use cardboard form tubes to make a clean and stable footing.

Poured Footings - Parr Lumber


A gravel floor can be used if you are building a pole style building.

-Pressure Treated Lumber vs. Standard Lumber

The best material for building the floor of your shed is pressure treated lumber. You can certainly use regular non PT but it won’t last very long being that close to the ground.

-How high off the ground?

Think about how high off the ground you want your shed. If you live in an area that can flood you may want to bui

shed with ramp - Parr Lumber


-Green vs. Dry

In the Pacific Northwest we have the choice of buying green lumber (wet from the mill) or dry lumber. Dry lumber offers the advantage of being lighter since water weighs about 8lbs. a gallon. Typically dry means less than 19% so you will also limit your chance of getting mold growth…. Although, you may not care since it’s a shed.

-2×4 or 2×6 walls

Typically speaking 2×4 construction is more than adequate for the shed walls.

-Header Sizes

The headers for your door or window openings depend on the amount of roof load. A gable end will have very little load while a hip roof will have extra load. Parr Lumber has the ability to tell you what size header you need for a specific opening.

-Pole Barn Style

A pole building is a simple way of construction that requires burying posts in the ground 4′-6′ on center and spanning beams on top of them. You would usually see this type of building on a farm and in a much larger scale. You could use this method to make a small shed but it would be open to below.

pole building - Parr Lumber


CDX plywood is the most economical choice for decking your shed. For those of you that don’t know, CDX means that the plywood has a C face and a D face (A being the best). The X means that is has exterior grade glue. As long as this plywood doesn’t see any long term moisture it should work just fine.

-Manufactured Trusses vs. Handcut

There is something satisfying about taking raw lumber and hand cutting a roof. With a little time you can easily frame a roof by yourself. However, if you don’t feel confident with it you can order manufactured trusses from your local Parr Lumber. Depending on the size of your shed you should expect to spend a few hundred dollars.

Manufactured Trusses - Parr Lumber

-Gable Roof, Gambrel Roof, Hip Roof, Shed Roof, Eco Roof

A shed roof is the easiest way to frame a roof. You basically frame one wall taller than the other and run your roof rafters at an angle to create slope. This is also a great starting point for building an eco roof. A gable roof is probably the most common style and is somewhat easy to frame for a DIY’er. Gambrel roofs are the classic “barn” style with a double pitch.

-Roofing options – Composition, Metal, Polycarbonate, Eco

Composition architectural shingles over felt paper is the most common roofing out there. Metal panels are another option and can be ordered to the inch so cutting isn’t necessary. You can work with your Parr Lumber salesperson to make sure you get all of the right trim and flashing. An Eco Roof is probably the most interesting of all. At least here in the Pacific Northwest we battle with moss growing on our roofs all year round. So why not let it grow? You start with a flat roof with a waterproof membrane similar to what you would use for a pond liner. Drains and parapets are also required but in the end with a little bit of time and money you can have your own rooftop garden! Find out more at

Polycarbonate roof - Parr Lumber

Eco roof - Parr Lumber

-Prehung Door vs. Homemade Door

I prefer to build my own door out of 2×4’s and plywood. However, you can certainly buy a prehung door and install it for a couple hundred dollars.

shed with doors - Parr Lumber

-Windows / Skylights

Windows are a double edged sword. They add light to the inside of your shed at the same time making it vulnerable to burglars. Skylights are a good idea if you have it in your budget. They will run a couple hundred dollars per opening while a small window is typically less than a hundred.

-Plywood vs. OSB

OSB gets a bad rap from the old timers. The reality is that OSB has evolved over the years to become a very reliable building material. The old days of OSB swelling to 3 times its thickness and growing mushrooms are long gone. It actually has a higher shear value than CDX plywood from an engineering standpoint. That being said I still recommend using CDX 5-ply for the roof because it doesn’t flex between the rafters like OSB.

-Siding choices – T1-11, Hardie, LP, Cedar

The most economical and easy siding is the good ole T1-11. It comes in grooved patterns 4″ and 8″ on center or even without grooves. You can build your walls “single wall” which means that the T1-11 acts as the siding and the sheathing. Fiber cement and LP siding are durable options as well. LP was run through the mud a few years back due to some product failure. However, they have done a great job re-engineering their siding and now offer a 50 year warranty.

T1-11 panel siding - Parr Lumber
Fiber cement and LP siding - Parr Lumber
Portland Home and Garden Show - Parr Lumber

Portland Home and Garden Show

It’s almost time for the Portland Home & Garden Show. The event will take place next week (February 20 – 24, 2013) at the Portland Expo Center. Parr Lumber is an official sponsor of the home show. We will be in booth #1919 (close to the garden and waterfall area). Stop by and say hello. If you’re planning on going during the week, we have a special admission coupon for you.

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National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) - Parr Lumber

Top Ten Northwest Cities for Builders

Ten northwest cities are listed in the latest National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI). The NAHB/First American IMI is designed to track housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health. The northwest cities in the index are Corvallis, Medford, Portland, Bellingham, Kennewick, Longview, Seattle, Spokane, Wenatchee, and Yakima.

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