Wood poles are still a very commonly used option within the utility industry.
But recently, lumber prices have been on the rise.
Near the end of 2021, lumber prices went up for 11 out of 13 weeks in North America.
Historically, wood telephone poles and utility poles have been less expensive than materials like steel and concrete. They have been a cost-effective solution that’s worked well for dozens of years.
So, are wood poles still the most affordable option for a utility company?
Today, we’ll dive deeper into the current wood utility pole prices.
About Wood Utility Poles
Cedar and pine are common types of wood used for utility poles. The companies often opt for the stems of these trees, since they meet the necessary design standards for supporting telephone and utility lines.
In the United States, a standard utility pole is roughly 40 feet long. In some cases, poles may be up to 120 feet.
The Cost of a Telephone Pole
When poles sustain damage from natural disasters or accidents, they call for replacement. However, the cost of utility poles can vary immensely.
In general, a standard 40-foot utility pole made from wood costs between $250 and $400 depending on several factors. Of course, sometimes you can get a single pole for less or more than that range.
A good example is these prices from 3bTimber. For treated poles, they charge:
25’ Class 5- $275
30’ Class 4- $350
30’ Class 5- $325
35’ Class 4- $400
35’ Class 5-$375
40’ Class 5- $475
Factors that Influence the Cost of Wood Utility Poles
As mentioned, the actual price of a wood pole can vary immensely. Here are some of the primary considerations that dictate the price:
Individual vs Contractor
As an individual looking to buy one (or a few) wood poles, you’ll likely pay more than a contractor. Many pole providers offer discounts to contractors. This helps them build a long-term relationship where the contractor continues to turn to them for new poles when projects arise.
You can see on the 3bTimber website how the prices vary for an individual vs contractor. For example, the 25’ Class 5 treated pole is $10 less for a contractor.
Treated vs Untreated
Treated wood costs more than untreated wood. In fact, untreated wood can be significantly cheaper. This is because it costs money for companies to treat the wood, so they must sell it at a higher price.
Despite the price difference, many utility companies opt for treated wood, because it’s necessary for utility projects. Treated poles last much longer and endure the elements better. If you purchase untreated wood, you will need to pay and arrange for treatment on your own.
While the average utility pole is 40’, they do come in several sizes. Depending on your project, you may need poles that are longer or shorter than 40’.
Price varies based on the size of the pole. As you may guess, larger poles will cost more than smaller ones.
The overall state of the lumber market does impact the cost of wood utility poles. When wood prices are lower, the cost of wood telephone poles is lower. When lumber costs are high, like now, you’ll often find utility pole prices that are well above the average.
The cost of installation is typically what drives the price of utility poles way up. In reality, a wood utility pole is only a few hundred dollars. However, installing the pole can cost up to $6,000 or more.
Are Wood Poles Worth It?
Despite rising lumber prices, wood poles are still more affordable than other materials. While there are pros and cons to each type of utility pole, treated wood still has a long lifespan.
Furthermore, if you only need to replace a few poles it makes the most sense to replace them with the same material. This is part of the reason why so many utility companies still use wood poles.
An Affordable Pole Hauling Solution
Another consideration for the cost of utility poles is the cost to transport them. Thanks to their massive size and weight, your average truck won’t work.
For an affordable, quality pole hauling solution, turn to Blackwood Resources. Using our specialized hauling trucks and equipment, we can handle your wood pole, steel pole, concrete pole, and transformer hauling needs.
Our certified women-owned trucking company provides asset-based service. We don’t hire companies to haul, we do the hauling. We own all of our own equipment and directly employ our team of trucks drivers. Best yet, we also unload all of the materials for you at your job site.
Learn more about our wood pole hauling service and how we can help you. Contact us at 812-676-8770 or firstname.lastname@example.org.