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Builder Highlight: Black Women Build – Baltimore

At National Lumber, we have the privilege of getting to work with fantastic builders and contribute to the projects they have underway. Today we want to highlight Black Women Build – Baltimore, a West-Baltimore based wealth-creation and home-building program. We spoke with Shelley Halstead, the founder of BWB, about the initiative.

What is Black Women Build – Baltimore?

Founded in 2017, BWB is a home-ownership and wealth-building initiative that focuses on diminishing the wealth gap for Black women in Baltimore. Home-ownership is a key contributing factor in building financial stability and intergenerational wealth. Black households in Baltimore experience higher rates of unemployment, have lower net worths and generally earn less than half of their white counterparts. BWB seeks to address localized racial wealth inequality among black women in West Baltimore by training participants in carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work. They then have the opportunity to purchase the homes they build.

The Journey So Far

To select participants, BWB accepts applications on their website. As mentioned above, BWB doesn’t function just as a skills-training initiative. The core goal is to help participants build homes that they will be purchasing at the end of the building process. This helps endow each participant with knowledge about the inner workings of their home and helps build a stronger attachment to the home and the community they’re working to revitalize.

This community-oriented approach ties into how the homes are built. These aren’t fix-and-flips. Instead, BWB is building in clusters of homes, block by block in West Baltimore. Participants also agree to not sell for at least five years upon purchase of their completed home. This way the impact isn’t just relegated to the personal growth of participants but is making tangible progress towards building a strong sense of community in an often neglected area of the city. So far, BWB has completed a cluster of four houses. They have the capacity to build three houses in clusters every 4 to 5 months. The program is growing, so they’re always seeking eager applicants.

How Did BWB Get Started?

Black Women Build – Baltimore was founded by Shelley Halstead in 2017. Halstead worked as a carpenter for 25 years, including as a member of the Local 131 Carpenters Union in Seattle, Washington from 1996 to 2009. She conducted electrical work in Antarctica for a period. Halstead also received a law degree from the University of Washington School of Law. Eventually, Halstead moved to DC to do policy work before relocating to Baltimore and passing the Maryland Bar. Instead of working in law, Halstead founded BWB as an initiative to help address issues of racial wealth inequality and prevalent blight. She identified how those in the community lag in net worth and intergenerational wealth, and BWB is a tool to help process these challenges for local residents.

The Future of Black Women Build – Baltimore

The hyphenated title of the initiative is no mistake: Halstead sees the potential for what BWB is doing to be replicated across the country. Her hope is that the program can be expanded to other regions over time, addressing the needs of the local communities. Within Baltimore, she looks forward to eventually expanding to other neighborhoods where the service would be beneficial and continuing to grow the team of women who can train and mentor participants.

Work With National Lumber

The team at National Lumber is proud to supply the crucial work BWB is doing in our city. As a woman in the male-dominated construction industry, Halstead said she appreciates that she’s been treated with respect by the National Lumber team and highlighted Jon from our sales team for his great work ensuring BWB always gets the building materials they need.

It’s been a pleasure to supply projects for Black Women Build – Baltimore, and we look forward to seeing how this initiative will continue to grow and address inequality within Baltimore.

If you’d like to contribute to the great work they do, click here.

And if you’re ready to get started on your next big project, don’t hesitate to contact the expert team at National Lumber for all of your building supply needs.

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New Products at National Lumber in 2021

In 2021, there’s a lot of things that the team here at National Lumber is looking forward to. As one of the Baltimore and DC area’s most trusted building material suppliers, we’re always striving to stock new products that meet the increased demands of our customers. Today, we want to highlight some new products at National Lumber in 2021.

AdvanTech Subflooring

We’re excited to stock AdvanTech subflooring products. Created by Huber Engineered Woods, AdvanTech is a favorite of builders across the country. The AdvanTech subfloor assembly is designed to withstand moisture exposure. The panels are built with strength and stiffness in mind. The high wood density of the product works to ensure fasteners stay in place and reduces nail popping as well as floor squeaking. Along with the ZIP System products we carry from Huber, AdvanTech flooring is a great, streamlined building material with a wide appeal to builders of all scopes.

Fiberon Good Life Decking

2020 saw a huge increase in demand for the decking products we stock. As such, one of the essential new products at National Lumber in 2021 is the Fiberon Good Life Decking line. We’ll be carrying four unique colors of high-quality composite decking: Cottage, Cabin, Beach House, and Cabana. This decking line features authentic grain patterns to emulate the classic wood-look homeowners love while saving the trouble of maintenance that comes with traditional wood decking. Fiberon’s Good Life Decking is durable against the elements, and with a distinct lineup of colors, there’s something for every homeowner.

Medallion Cabinetry

In mid-2020, we added Medallion Cabinetry products to our list of cabinet offerings, and we look forward to highlighting this fantastic cabinetry brand as we move through the new year. Medallion Cabinetry brings a level of unparalleled customizability for homeowners, including unique glaze, stain, and paint finishes. Customers can choose from the Silverline, Gold, and Platinum Collections, each offering distinct options at different price points to help accommodate a wide range of budgets.

There’s Plenty to Look Forward to at National Lumber in 2021

In 2021, we look forward to providing more diverse product options for all of our customers to help you build the way you want to. Let us know if there are any additional brands you’d like us to stock. If you’re ready to get the materials needed to get started, request a quote from our expert team today.

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New Year Lumber Forecast for 2021

Lumber had a record year on the market in 2020, but industry experts predicted that this trend may finally begin to slow as winter ramped up. However, in December, lumber prices shattered all-time highs for the month, and January looks to be continuing the trend. Following an altogether unpredictable year, demand has greatly exceeded the typical winter lull, leading to delays, higher prices, and a temporary shortage of some materials. Let’s take a look at the new year lumber forecast for 2021.

Record-Breaking Numbers

Courtesy of Bloomberg News

The lumber futures market reached a record $845 per thousand board on December 14th. This eclipsed the previous high seen in August when the boom was thought to have peaked. These market trends seem to be moving in conjunction with builder confidence, which hit its highest level since monthly surveys began in 1985. As the building industry booms, so goes the lumber industry. Additionally, as noted by Forbes, the six-month forward price for lumber futures in early January “is around $670, or only about 24 percent below today’s spot lumber price.”

How the Trend Has Been Sustained

2020 was a unique year. There were a variety of factors that have contributed to the unprecedented highs the lumber industry has experienced. But as highlighted earlier, the seasonal industry tends to slow down as the colder months come. That was not the case in 2020 for several different reasons. Weather was largely warmer and drier, making building conditions more favorable. Additionally, in the Western US and Canada, lumber production was devasted in 2020 by rampant wildfires that saw the loss of enough lumber to build over a million homes. This scarcity is helping drive lumber prices across the country.

The housing market is still booming as well, with record-low mortgage prices fueling a building binge as suppliers try to keep up with the demand for housing. Multi-unit building demand has gone down, however that has been matched by increased demand for lumber-intensive single-family homes. Home remodeling has also ticked up, as many homeowners were placed under stay-at-home orders and began investing in their living spaces. However, while the building craze continues, delays in the supply chain have caused prices to reach all-time highs.

Industry Challenges

2020’s initial lumber boom that came in April was partially driven by supply delays due to the COVID pandemic when some mills were forced to close and production slowed. This is still a prevalent factor. The huge demand has been difficult for producers to meet, a trend that was exacerbated over the end of December as many mills across North America closed for the holidays. This has the potential to delay the delivery of materials up to three months into this new year.

Product delays are prevalent for a variety of different building materials. Our team notes, for instance, that some cabinet lead times are expected to be extended by 8 weeks currently, while vinyl windows are landing as far as twelve weeks out. Pandemic-related production and delivery delays are matched with unprecedented demand from builders, creating a perfect storm.

New Year Lumber Forecast Wrap Up

2020 was an unpredictable year for the lumber industry. Even when expected to slow down, the industry has defied the odds. From all the available data, it looks like this lumber binge is only going to continue through 2021. However, some experts do expect to see a tapering off as mid-February arrives, but with the unpredictability of the previous year, only time will tell.

What Can National Lumber Do to Help?

If you have a project upcoming, reach out to the expert team at National Lumber today. The staff will prepare a takeoff and estimate for your project. With extended lead times for several products, it’s important for builders to contact suppliers far in advance for needed materials to help minimize material delays once your project has begun. Send us your plans so you can ensure that you are using real-time costs to estimate your projects and minimize any loss in profit. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Unprecedented Lumber Market Demand Continues into Autumn

2020 has created unique circumstances for various commodity industries. The lumber market has experienced an unprecedented boom that looks, for now at least, to be continuing into autumn. In our last blog on this topic, we discussed the reasons for this unprecedented lumber demand, including low mortgage rates, service-industry businesses adjusting to outdoor seating requirements, and homeowners turning their attention to remodeling and decking projects, among others. Today, we’ll take a look at some hard numbers that highlight how unique the situation in the lumber market currently is.

Lumber Trends as They Currently Stand

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to emerge as a global challenge, the lumber industry expected a huge downturn in demand as lockdown restrictions came into place and businesses waited to learn whether local governments would consider their operations essential. This uncertainty was reflected in the price of lumber, hitting an annual low of $264 per board foot on March 30th of this year. However, as demand exploded rapidly, the price followed suit. It peaked at $948 on September 7th, an increase of 153.48% over the previous year. This staggering trend has been unprecedented within the industry. Since its peak, prices have trended downward. However, even with this downward trend, prices for lumber are still far outpacing the averages for years past. Most recently, the price was $607.60 on September 21st, an increase of 62% over the previous year. Using the chart below courtesy of Davis Hawn, we can see how these trends break down for individual lumber products.

How Long Will the Trend Continue?

Some experts predict that prices will continue to fall as autumn approaches, a typical trend for what is often a seasonal market. However, the degree to which remains to be seen. Even if the prices continue to fall, they will still likely eclipse the monthly averages from last year. The direction of this trend may largely be dependant on whether building companies continue their demand for lumber products or if they too slow down as the weather changes and the uncharted effects of the global pandemic begin to balance out. In the meantime, lumber market prices are still far outpacing predicted prices, and while the trend is slowing, we will still have to wait and see to what degree.

Get the Lumber Products You Need for Your Next Project

Despite the unprecedented times, the team at National Lumber has made it our goal to deliver the lumber products and other building materials you need to you on-time. If you’re ready to get started on your next project, request a quote today.

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Meet Mario Meneghelli Gerard

Our Team is what keeps the gears turning at National Lumber. As such, it’s our pleasure to get to highlight the fantastic people who work for our company. Today, we’d like to introduce to you all Mario Meneghelli Gerard, a General Manager at our flagship Baltimore location.

About Mario

Mario was born and raised in Brazil. When he arrived in the US, he came with few resources and a basic level of English. After working for several years in a retail store, Mario began his journey in the building supplies industry. For the past 16 years, he has stuck with the industry and has been part of the National Lumber team for the past 5 years. As an immigrant and native Portuguese speaker, Mario had to adjust to the challenges of the industry, including learning the vocabulary of specific products.

Mario’s Role at National Lumber

As General Manager of our flagship store in Baltimore, Mario is a familiar face. He takes on a variety of responsibilities to ensure daily operations within the storefront run efficiently. Mario’s responsibilities include sales management, inventory control, merchandising, and purchasing. In addition to his managerial duties, Mario is also heavily involved in sales, helping a huge variety of clients find the right products for their next project.

Construction and general contracting are diverse industries and many clients for whom English is not their first language shop at National Lumber and place orders for building materials. As a speaker of English, Portuguese, and Spanish, Mario is able to assist these clients to ensure they get the materials they need. At National Lumber, Mario has come to appreciate the aspects of working for a family business and within a team environment.

Getting to Know Mario

Over the course of his time at National Lumber, Mario has built personal connections with his clients over mutual interests such as their love of soccer. Together, they formed a soccer team, the Brazucas. When you visit National Lumber, you find a framed team jersey honoring this connection between NL and our customers. Mario is a family man and spends his free time with his wife and son. Currently, he’s trying to teach his son Portuguese. Any chance he gets, you can find Mario on the beach, whether it be Bethany Beach for a short weekend or Jamaica for a longer trip.

Mario Meneghelli Gerard is a staple of the National Lumber team, and an extraordinary person who helps make the experience of our clients the best it can be when they come into our store.

If you need help with your next material order, contact our team today to get started.

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Exploring the Trex Building Materials We Stock

Trex is the industry leader in composite decking products. At National Lumber, we’re proud to stock some of their most popular products. Each Trex decking option is thoughtfully designed to fit the diverse tastes of homeowners. Composite decking materials have overtaken wood as the new standard and for good reason: they offer unparalleled durability, lower maintenance, and are built from recycled materials that help builders and homeowners make an eco-friendly choice with the product they choose. Today, we’ll explore some of the most popular Trex building materials we stock at National Lumber

Trex Enhance

Exceptional Decking to Fit Your Budget

Trex Enhance offers great decking options at an attractive price perfect for your next project. On hand, we stock three of the most popular colors:

Foggy Wharf

Foggy Wharf is the perfect choice for those that like a clean, neutral tone approach to their decking. The soft gray evokes waterfront piers, and brings revitalizes a classic aesthetic with the modern feel of Trex composite decking.

Clam Shell

Clam Shell inverts Foggy Wharf with a deep gray that stands up to dirt. Perfect for those who want to create beautiful color contrast between the darker tone of the decking and vibrant accessories such as railings and furniture.

Beach Dune

Bring the sunny beachfront to your next home build with Beach Dune color of Trex Enhance decking. The sandy brown is the perfect versatile shade to mix and match with rustic outdoor furniture in other earth tones.

Trex Select

Unique Color Options to Build Unbelievable Outdoor Spaces

Trex Select brings luxury decking to your next project at an affordable price. With a great lineup of colors to choose from, select the perfect Trex building materials to create something incredible.

Pebble Grey

Homeowners can feel as if they’re walking along a beautiful lakeshore with this Trex Select color choice. Pebble Grey strikes a strong balance between lighter and darker tone gray options.

Saddle

Evoke the earthen tones of the American West with this standout Trex Select option. Homeowners will love how they can match the color to wooden exterior features of their home such as doors and windows.

Get Trex Building Materials When You Need Them

All of the options we’ve looked at in this blog are stocked in store by National Lumber, allowing us to deliver the decking product you need next-day. Looking for a different Trex product line or color option? We can order them for you at a great price so your project turns out exactly how you envision. National Lumber prioritizes flexibility and efficiency. All of our decking deliveries come equipped with mechanical unloading. Don’t worry about having to take time from your building schedule to lug materials from the front yard to the back. We’ll deliver your decking products directly to where you’re constructing it, saving you time and manpower.

If you’re reading to craft exceptional decks that will be the selling point of your next project, contact the team at National Lumber today. We can help you pick the perfect Trex decking products.

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The Lumber Market Is Experiencing a Boom

While many commodity markets have experienced huge fluctuations since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many industries have been forced to make tough decisions in uncertain times, the lumber market is experiencing a boom many suppliers didn’t predict. Let’s take a look at this unexpected turn of events, and the reasons for the success of the lumber market in 2020.

The Numbers Speak for Themselves

As highlighted by the Wall Street Journal in July, “Lumber futures are up more than 85% since April 1. Lumber for July delivery settled Thursday at $499 per thousand board feet while the more heavily traded September futures ended at $481.90. Both are above the pre-pandemic high of $463.00, set during the hottest home-building market since 2006.” These numbers speak to an unforeseen trend predicated on a huge increase in demand, a surprise in a year when many industries have slowed due to lockdown and personal spending was expected to shrink. There are several important reasons that have contributed to why the lumber market is experiencing a boom.

Unexpected Spending Trends

While many other industries experienced an expected downturn in consumer spending as lockdowns increased, the same cannot be said for lumber. Instead, an explosion of home contractor and DIY projects has become prominent across the U.S. Homeowners are having decks, fences, and other outdoor features added to their homes. Restaurants have been adapting to changing regulations by adding outdoor seating areas. And while builders initially slowed construction, many have been deemed essential businesses. Low mortgage rates have helped drive increased demand for homebuilders. All of these factors have contributed to an upturn in business that many in the lumber industry didn’t foresee.

Mills Are Attempting to Keep Up

When the pandemic began, many lumber mills expected demand to diminish, and began to slow production and consider alternative business models to adapt to the circumstance. However, the opposite quickly became apparent and has left many suppliers struggling to keep up with clients who are running low on inventory. The unique situation in 2020, including March and April closures of mills that have since resumed operations, has led to a skyrocketing price-tag for lumber supplies, hungry buyers trying to meet the demand of builders and consumers, and an unprecedented futures market on lumber products. While the question remains how long the boom will last, there’s no doubt that the industry is in uncharted territory, and will likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Need Lumber for Your Next Project? National Lumber Has You Covered

For over 100 years, National Lumber has been supplying contractors and homeowners across the Baltimore and DC metro areas with building materials they need to get the job done on time, and right. Request a quote from our expert team today, and see what National Lumber can help you build.

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Meet Scott Huguely, Head of DC Sales

Our Team is what keeps the gears turning at National Lumber. As such, it’s our pleasure to get to highlight the fantastic people who work for our company. Today, we’d like to introduce to you all Scott Huguely, head of our DC Sales Division.

With the opening of our new DC metro area location in Chevy Chase, we wanted to bring in an expert team to meet the needs of our clients in that market. We’re excited to have Scott Huguely, an industry veteran, as the leader of our DC Sales Division.

About Scott

Scott’s industry ties are significant as a fourth-generation lumber supplier. His family started Galliher & Hugely, a DC-based lumberyard in 1912. Scott began working for the family company in 1994 and has provided expert service ever since. When the local institution closed its doors in March of this year, Scott knew he wanted to work with another company that has ties to the local community as opposed to a larger chain. He admired that National Lumber was also a family-owned business and was excited to come on as a team member thanks to a long relationship with the Fruman family. This family environment extends to the whole National Lumber team and helps strengthen the relationships that are formed with all clients that come through the door.

The Impact of National Lumber in the DC Area

Scott is excited to help increase the awareness of National Lumber as a building material supplier in the DMV area. While the company has been prevalent in the area, the DC metro market is an ever-changing and growing area, and Scott is looking forward to seeing how National Lumber can continue to meet the increasing demand from builders, general contractors, and homeowners in the region.

He’s also eager to promote some of the industry-leading products National Lumber has to offer, such as Marvin Windows and Trex Decking. These two brands are in high demand across the DC market. He brings his veteran-expertise to every project, ensuring builders are selecting the products that are perfect for them.

Getting to Know Scott

Outside of work, Scott’s dedication to family continues. He loves spending time with his wife Jenny and their three children Michael, Nicholas, and Megan. Before he began work in the lumber industry, Scott had aspirations to become a sports broadcaster and his love of sports continues to this day. Scott is an avid golfer, and a life-long DC sports fan. He also cheers for his beloved UNC Tarheels. Don’t hesitate to bring him your sports hot takes when you drop in to the Design Center in Chevy Chase. On summer vacation, you’re likely to find him in Bethany Beach.

Welcome to National Lumber, Scott!

The entire team is honored to welcome Scott Huguely into the fold. We look forward to the veteran presence, industry-knowledge, and dedication he brings to each interaction with a customer. Contact Scott and the DC team today to get started on your next project.

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How to Choose the Right Marvin Windows Collection for Your Project

“Character” is a word that homebuilders often use to describe what differentiates one project from others. For so long, practicality and cost-efficiency were guiding principles of design, and character could be harder to come by. Today, builders are able to blend style with practicality and longevity in new and interesting ways. Marvin Windows are a great example of this meeting point, offering three distinct Collections that blend durability with distinct character. Let’s take a look at each Marvin Windows collection, and how to choose which one is right for your project.

Signature Collection

Marvin Windows Collection Signature

Choice, Reimagined

The Signature Collection is the most diverse and customizable suite of products that Marvin carries and has long been the preferred Collection for high-end projects of all scopes and sizes. The Signature Collection features two distinct lines, Ultimate, and Modern, each offering their own unique appeals. Ultimate is the culmination of expert design, with wood and wood-clad window options that offer a timeless appearance while maintaining the customizability contractors look for. Modern is the perfect match open floor plans and the natural-light emphasis of modern home design, featuring large expanses of glass and narrow sightlines. Both lines prioritize thermal performance to keep energy bills down while providing homeowners with adaptable smart features they come to expect, namely the ability to lock windows directly from their phones. This Marvin Windows Collection is for those who’s clients accept nothing but the best.

Elevate Collection

Marvin Windows Collection Elevate

A Gorgeous Balance

The Elevate Collection offers extraordinary balance in its design approach. On the outside, patented fiberglass withstands the elements while inviting wood interiors help bring out the attractiveness of a home. The durability is a cut above, 8 times stronger than vinyl, and 3 times stronger than vinyl/wood composites. In practice, this translates to longevity that lasts. The Elevate Collection can fit a wide variety of projects, and helps bring out the distinct design touches of each project you build.

Essential Collection

Marvin Windows Collection Essential

Classic Flair, Smart Design

For the Essential Collection, it’s all in the name. These windows are tailored to meet the demands of builders thanks to simplified options to help streamline the order process and huge versatility that can meet the needs of a variety of projects. The design features smooth lines that optimize the light coming into a home. A durable fiberglass interior and exterior minimize maintenance on the part of the homeowner, which helps to save them money over time. This Collection is perfect for contractors that prioritize versatility and a more straight-forward design.

Still Unsure Which Marvin Windows Collection is Best for Your Project? National Lumber Can Help

Our Design Center team has trained alongside the Marvin team to ensure we can help you select the product that is right for your project, whether it’s a single-family home or a multi-unit apartment complex. No need to sort through the vast options yourself, just reach out today and let us do the heavy lifting.

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5 Great Ideas for Decks in Maryland

When you think of a deck for your home, you might imagine some traditional square of wood without much charm or character. The truth is that modern decking has adjusted to meet the creativity of builders and the vision of homeowners. From rethinking materials to changing how your outdoor space is utilized, there’s no better time than now to consider updating your deck or starting from scratch to build something incredible. Here are 5 great ideas for decks in Maryland.

1. A Place for Outdoor Dining

With the warmer months finally upon us, why not rethink your outdoor dining options? Your deck space can be far more elegant than a simple picnic table and some folding chairs. We love this design from Trex, the industry leader in modern, state-of-the-art composite decking. A unique aspect of this design is the way it incorporates an overhead light so your dinner table isn’t left in the dark. Host your next dinner party in style with a gorgeous design like this for decks in Maryland.

2. Lounge by the Pool In Style

pool deck Northern Vi

Escape the heat in your own personal oasis with this gorgeous deck inspiration from Wolf Home Products. Many homeowners may opt for a simple concrete sidewalk to surround their pool. However, if you ask us, this option is much more attractive. Wolf Home’s Serenity Decking line brings all of the advantages of natural wood decks with none of the downsides. It even includes advanced UV protection so you can work on your tan without worrying about your decking becoming discolored.

3. No Yard? No Problem!

rooftop decks northern virginia

Interested in fantastic decks in Maryland but lacking in the backyard space to build one? No problem! Rooftop decks are a great solution to maximize your space while creating an incredible area to spend time outside. National Lumber loved supplying the decking for this creative design by our friends at Four Twelve. The connected decks provide you with ample space to host friends, set up furniture, and so much more.

4. Move Your Entertainment Center Outside

decks northern virginia

Rethink how you spend time outside by moving your entertainment system to your new deck. No need to crowd inside to watch the game anymore. Instead, you can tailor your outdoor space to the perfect place for entertaining. Or, perhaps you want to enjoy the weather while you and a loved one curl up and watch a movie. This great design from Trex is versatile and a perfect, unconventional approach to building a gorgeous outdoor space.

5. Simple Yet Sophisticated

The perfect deck doesn’t have to be something bombastic and extravagant. You may prefer something smaller that doesn’t skimp on style. This design from Wolf Home Products embodies that mantra. The Serenity Decking in Rosewood goes wonderfully with the colors of the siding, creating a look that is unparalleled in its sophistication. An oasis like this maximizes space and allows you to spend more time outside marveling at your lovely deck.

National Lumber has Everything You Could Need for Decks in Maryland

For over 100 years, National Lumber has been providing building materials to clients across the Baltimore and DC metro areas. Our expert staff can help you every step of the process, from choosing the best brands and colors to matching you with a contractor ready to build the deck of your dreams. Contact our team to get started today!