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By Tim McNicholas

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WBBM) – There’s no right time for a tornado to strike, but the western suburbs tornado on Sunday night ravaged homes at a time when construction costs are already very high due to challenges of the pandemic.

As CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas reported on Tuesday, these high prices will affect the victims of this storm in Naperville.

Damage like the tornado requires a lot of wood – there are pieces of wood strewn all around, and they will all need to be replaced. But here’s the thing – lumber prices more than tripled during the pandemic.

These prices are just starting to drop again. Nevertheless, contractors and homeowners expect this increase to cost them dearly when rebuilding.

From overturned trees to dented gutters, tornado EF-3 devastated the Berkowitz family neighborhood in Naperville. A tree crashed into their gazebo – a gazebo the family built for themselves in 2018.

“Timber is obviously much higher than expected in previous years,” said Neil Berkowitz. “So I’m really going to have to look at the costs and see if that’s something we can actually do.”

The Berkowitzes are working with their insurance to see if they will cover the gazebo. If they rebuild it, stores will charge more for materials this time around.

“I would say probably about 30 percent more,” said Michael Loy of O&M Construction in Naperville.

Loy says entrepreneurs will also have to charge more.

“It touched us a lot,” Loy said. “So to talk about the price of the material itself, this year alone we had three shingle increases with manufacturer prices. “

Loy says his lumber costs have skyrocketed as well. The high prices come from a global supply shortage and a huge boost in home improvement projects when the pandemic forced people to stay in their homes.

Financial experts say lumber prices are finally starting to drop, but Loy says he hasn’t seen it yet.

McNicholas: “Any indication when this might stabilize?

Loy: “I would have liked to be sure. “

For now, he said he’s doing everything in his power to keep prices low and below his clients’ insurance limits.

As for the Berkowitz family, they are grateful that this is mainly the gazebo – not the house.

“It could be a lot worse,” Berkowitz said. “I guess I consider him to be, as long as everyone else was able to come out of it healthy.”

There is no way to quantify at this time how much wood will need to be replaced. But the piles of wood around the neighborhood give an indication of the extent of the damage.

So, after the tornado, these construction companies will certainly not run out of work.

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