3 Reasons You Can’t Get Supplies for Your Home Reno—and Why They Cost So Much!

Home renovations can be an exciting time, allowing you to update and customize your living space. However, many homeowners are running into frustrating supply chain issues and rising costs that can derail projects and strain budgets. Here are 3 key reasons it’s become so difficult to get supplies for home renovations, and why prices are skyrocketing.

Global Supply Chain Disruptions

The global supply chain has faced immense disruptions over the past few years that are severely impacting the availability of home renovation materials.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic caused many manufacturing and shipping slowdowns that have had ripple effects through the entire supply network. Factories slowed or halted production at various times to protect workers, while quarantines and lockdowns caused major shipping port congestion.
  • Rising shipping costs, container shortages, and truck driver shortages have made transporting goods more difficult and expensive. For example, the cost of shipping a standard container from China to the U.S West Coast has risen from $3,800 before the pandemic to over $20,000.
  • Geopolitical issues like the war in Ukraine have impacted exports of key commodities like fuel, grains, and fertilizers. This strains supply chains and drives up renovation material costs.
  • Natural disasters like storms, fires, and floods have damaged infrastructure and factories critical for materials like lumber and steel. Rebuilding damaged facilities is slow and leads to shortage

Skyrocketing Material Costs

From lumber to steel to copper, costs for key home renovation building materials and commodities have skyrocketed, making projects far more expensive.

  • Lumber prices rose over 300% during the pandemic due to factors like sawmill shutdowns, labor shortages, and spiking home construction demand. Although prices have dropped from their peak, they remain over 150% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
  • Steel and aluminum costs have surged 50-80% higher recently, driven by strong demand, production cuts, and higher energy and transportation costs. Markets expect elevated prices to persist.
  • Copper prices doubled during the pandemic and remain over 50% higher than early 2020. Tight mine supply and surging renewable energy demand are applying continued upward pressure.
  • Resins and other plastic materials have risen over 50% due to factors like petrochemical plant shutdowns after severe storms. Production struggles to keep pace with demand.

Surging Home Renovation Demand

A home renovation boom has overwhelmed building material suppliers struggling to keep pace after pandemic-related slowdowns and disruptions.

  • Spending huge amounts of time at home has motivated many homeowners to upgrade and customize their living spaces. U.S. home renovation spending grew over 50% from 2019 to 2022.
  • Remote work flexibility has caused shifts to suburbs and second homes, also fueling renovations. Home building simply hasn’t kept up, directing buyers to renovate existing properties.
  • High home equity, low mortgage rates, and pent-up demand have enabled homeowners to fund major home improvement projects. But heightened demand only strains tight supply further.
  • Contractors are booking up quickly, making wait times lengthy for homeowners who can even find supplies. Labor shortages also constrain builders’ ability to take on more projects.

With supply chains still recovering and demand remaining red-hot, relief from rising home renovation costs may be a long way off. Homeowners should brace for frustrating waits and be flexible in material choices when budgeting and planning projects. Prioritizing critical needs while postponing less essential upgrades may be prudent given the challenging market conditions.

FAQs About Home Renovation Supply Shortages and Costs

What are the most constrained home renovation supplies right now?

Lumber, steel, resins/plastics, copper, and aluminum are especially constrained currently. Lead times can stretch to many months for custom doors, windows, cabinets and other products using these materials.

How long could high renovation costs last?

Experts warn supply chain constraints and high materials costs could persist into 2023 or later until global shipping and manufacturing recover. Demand also needs to cool somewhat from red-hot levels.

Should I postpone my renovation until costs drop?

Postponing less critical projects may be wise, but critical repairs or renovations improving livability may be worth the premium pricing for some. Prioritize must-haves and be flexible on finishes/brands.

Are some renovation materials more available than others?

Categorizes like paint, tile, and lighting remain relatively well-stocked. Being flexible on siding brands, cabinet styles, etc. can help substitute constrained materials, if design allows.

How can I lock in current prices if I’m starting soon?

For a major renovation, contract early with suppliers to order windows, lumber, cabinets etc. once design is finalized. Paying upfront or 50% deposits may secure current pricing.

Should I stockpile materials I find available?

Bulk pre-buying is risky as leftover supplies tie up capital and could go to waste. Avoid large speculative purchases but stocking a small surplus of versatile materials can provide a buffer.

Key Takeaways on Home Renovation Supply Challenges

  • Global supply chain disruptions from COVID-19, extreme weather and more have severely constrained home renovation material availability.
  • Materials like lumber, steel, and plastics are seeing costs 2-3X pre-pandemic levels, straining project budgets.
  • Surging home renovation demand has overwhelmed already tight supply, extending project timelines considerably.
  • Relief may still be many months away until supply rebounds and demand cools somewhat from red-hot levels.
  • Homeowners should prepare for frustrating delays, inflated budgets, and potential material substitutions or project postponements.