• Login


Tips to Get the Building Supplies You Need Despite Global Shortages

How you can elevate your home when supply and shipping issues still exist.

The home industry is feeling the harsh sting of the global shipping crisis. If you're remodeling your house to create your dream home or sell, you probably encounter difficulties getting the supplies you need. 

Unfortunately, in most cases, if your supplies are stuck in transit or on backorder, you may not have much choice. You'll just have to wait it out. 

You'll hear the term repeatedly, "supply chain issues." This crisis encompasses shipping and supply issues due to increased shopping habits throughout the pandemic. Many people chose to upgrade the homes they suddenly had to spend more time in. 

  • We have widespread labor shortages, dubbed "The Great Resignation" period. 
  • Employers have to pay more to get the labor in and keep it. 
  • We're still in a labor shortage while there is a "Great Reshuffle" among workers.
  • Some areas are catching up. 

This is a challenging time when the demand for labor is high, but the number of tradespeople is dwindling. If you need help from an electrician to get your home ready, there is a good chance you'll have to wait your turn. This could mean your remodel plan could face more delays. 

That doesn't mean you can't create a living space you'll love in the meantime or make that room attractive for the next owner. This article will dive into the issues you may be experiencing and how you can deal with them during this crisis period.

Make a detailed plan.

Planning ahead is paramount. Three years ago, you could get away with ordering materials as your project progressed or as you saw the need for an item.

Those days are gone. In today's world, you need to plan ahead. 

Don't tear down that wall until you know you have all the materials you need to renovate the area. And the electrician has slotted the time in for you. 

Don't haul off the old fridge and oven until you have your replacement appliances in. You could be waiting 3 or 4 months for the new oven. 

Patience is Necessary.

You probably won't get all your building supplies in one trip to the home materials locations you frequent.  For items they don't keep in stock, delivery will be considerably slower than you're used to.

You can insist on using all products and materials built in the country, but you should still allow extra time to get those items in. Even at a local level, many areas are experiencing a shortage of delivery truck drivers.

Even if you decide to do a cosmetic upgrade to your kitchen instead of the full remodel, you may have to wait longer for some basic supplies to arrive.

Expect your project timeline to take three to five times longer. 

Locating Your Supplies

The first and biggest challenge a homeowner or a home repair contractor may face is finding the proper supplies for the current job. How you handle this will be based on your area and which resources you have access to. 

First, figure in time for research. 

If the home improvement center you normally use has run out of the item you need, look for other sources you can buy from. Call or visit them to see if they have what you need in. 

Focus on businesses that have their own transportation systems in place and are set up for the best possible shipping 

Don’t forget to consider online sources for some building materials. Smaller items, like tools, may be easier to find online than physically in the stores.

Retailers often have people coming to them to order items that are out of stock online. It’s likely the hardware store owner isn’t going to be able to order it online either.  

Plan time to hunt for at least a few items you’ll need, anywhere and everywhere. 

Expect lumber to be in short supply.

Sawmills are still struggling with the increase in demand while dealing with ongoing labor shortages. They’re trying to catch up, but it will take time.

Add in the transportation issues and the massive wildfires that have hit the U.S. and Canada, and you're likely to experience at least some problems finding your desired lumber. 

Be flexible with the type of wood you need for any project and learn about the different types.  You may be able to find a suitable alternative for that project you're working on.

Interior and exterior house paint.

Chemical processing plants that manufacture key ingredients for both interior and exterior house paint suffered damages in 2020 and 2021. With the increase in demand happening during the same time, you may find it will take longer to get the amount of paint you need. 

Ask stores if they have a supply of rejected cans. You may find an alternative color. 

Do your appliances have to be new?

Appliances are harder to ship and have internal pieces manufactured in other countries. During this shipping crisis, you may find that your desired appliances could take months to arrive. (Not to mention potentially costing you more than your budget allows now.)

For that kitchen remodel, you may want to consider trying to make your current appliance fit into your new design. If your old appliances aren’t working well any longer and must be replaced, look into getting a used model instead from a local dealer.

Need a new window? Be patient.

Windows and doors are another product taking forever to get in. Even if you drop a deposit on an order, you may find the order suddenly can't be filled for months. It can take anywhere from 8-30 weeks to get a window in right now. 

You stand the best chance at finding your windows if you're not selective and if you choose standard sizes. Visit the big stores and see what's in stock. 

You're ahead of the others trying to remodel their homes if you can go with what's on the shelf right now. 

Garage doors may be the most challenging to find. Give yourself plenty of time and order early. 

Your Costs Have Exploded

Fuel costs and the rising costs for shipping containers have impacted the selling prices for all building supplies. You’re going to absorb those cost increases for any appliances, furniture, lumber, and more.

Lumber prices skyrocketed during the pandemic, and we don't expect homeowners and homebuyers to see any relief through 2022. The National Association of Home Builders states that the average price of a new single-family home has increased by more than $18,000, thanks to volatile lumber prices alone. 

Not only are doors and windows affected by the supply chain issues and often in short supply, but they are also more costly. A shipping container that costs $3000 before Covid can cost $20,000 now. Manufacturers are attempting to stock up on raw materials to keep up with the demand, but the extra warehousing costs add to their expenses. All this is getting passed down to homeowners.

Flooring suppliers saw a 400% increase in shipping costs during the last half of 2021. When you add in the rising costs for the raw materials and the increased expenses associated with internal shipping, expect to see these costs pass down to homeowners.

What About Disposal? 

Include disposal of old materials in your detailed renovation plan. The supply crisis has also hit waste/trash bins. Call your local trash company and reserve your container far ahead of time. 

An alternative would be using a truck and pull trailer to haul off that old carpet, furniture, etc., on your own. Get the full requirements from your landfill for hazardous materials and appliances beforehand to make a disposal plan that runs as smoothly as possible.

Be Patient and Have a Flexible Plan

Find Alternative Plans

When you find out that an item isn’t available, look at what’s in stock for a suitable replacement. 

Did you discover that the washer and dryer you wanted are only available in blue when you wanted black? Think about reworking your design to accommodate the blue ones to avoid waiting forever for the new black ones.

Renovate In Pieces

Did that new shower take your bathroom renovation over budget? Consider doing a cosmetic upgrade to the rest of your bathroom instead of replacing everything. Plan ahead for next year and finish your complete renovation then.

Adjust to available options.

Can’t get that flooring in you loved for months? And now the cost to order it has doubled since you chose it? Look at what flooring is in stock now. You may find your new favorite flooring.

Try a cosmetic upgrade instead.

Did your kitchen renovation cost skyrocket when you went to buy the materials for the new cupboards? Consider keeping the old ones and repainting or restaining them instead.

Ending with a little bit of good news. 

With the pandemic making our home environment more important to us than ever before, homeowners have remodeled a lot. This means new designs and variations in flooring and decor have become available. 

While there are still obstacles to get through and make your home remodel a success, you can upgrade that living space with a detailed plan. It’s still considered by many a great time to remodel your house. 

  • Create a detailed plan with a specific end goal in mind.
  • Decide how much you'll spend. (Allow a buffer of 15%-20% for emergencies.)
  • Be flexible to stay on budget and time. (Paint the kitchen cabinets instead of replacing them.)
  • Do your research and shop around for your supplies.
  • Renovate and elevate your home with success! 

If you have the vision, patience, and cash flow to do it, you’ll be able to elevate the value of your home and increase its resale value.