If the pandemic gave you the impetus to try to catch up on home remodeling projects, or even just buy a couch or a new dishwasher, you might have encountered some obstacles along the way.
When the quarantine began, the supply chain was seriously affected. Contractors struggled to find supplies, prices skyrocketed and there has even been difficulty finding qualified employees to do the jobs if supplies are at the ready.
Frustrated? Hudson Valley contractors are feeling it, too, and many say these issues don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
“On the supply front, it’s a different battle every day,” said Chuck Petersheim of Catskill Farms, which designs, builds and sells homes. “Overnight, for instance, wood siding for our homes became unavailable countrywide. Last summer, it became hard to find pressure-treated wood. Now it’s available, but it’s five times the cost when it was pre-pandemic.”
According to the National Association of Home Builders, the price of framing lumber garnered more attention than any other building material over the past year, as prices quadrupled between April 2020 and May 2021.
The price of oriented strand board (OSB) increased 510% and these increases have added $29,833 to the price of an average new single-family home, according to NAHB.
Petersheim’s list of pandemic-related concerns continues. He also said that his electricians can’t source conduit, his plumbers can’t find water heaters and new trucks aren’t available.
“Even pool liners are hard to find,” he said. “One of the biggest disruptions is the appliance marketplace where most, if not all, appliances have longer lead times.”
Manuel Balbuena Jr., has been having issues getting materials for his masonry and hardscaping company NESJ Nature Scape. “In January, the prices were slowly rising and it’s been more difficult getting the materials I offer the clients, due to back orders,” said the Hyde Park resident. “Sometimes I have to travel out of state to get my materials.”
Catherine Ackert owns Hudson Valley Estate Management in Rhinebeck, overseeing renovations, and agrees materials are hard to come by.
“They (homeownerswant a bathroom, a simple bathroom that you should be able to go to Home Depot and buy tiles for, right?” she asks. “We can’t get them. Prices are coming down but now the supplies are months out because the factories can only do a certain amount right now.”
Homeowners and contractors are all waiting to see what happens next.
“The wild card will be if the suppliers — like many businesses — are able to find the manpower to staff up in order to ramp up production,” said Petersheim. “But I don’t think the variant has had any impact on current marketplace disruptions. And I’m not sure it will, because most companies are not going back to the extreme pandemic measures that nearly put them out of business. The bottom line is supply chain issues remain and permeate the entire construction sourcing process.”
With wood, tile and other supplies being difficult to obtain, Ackert is suggesting to her clients that they wait to complete projects they don’t need to do right away.
“We can make it work in a couple of months, so let’s wait for the prices to go down,” she would tell them. “Plus there are many people coming up here to buy homes and they know right away they don’t like the kitchen or want to redo the bathroom. They want the work done yesterday, but they are stuck because there’s not enough supply and manpower and it all trickles down.”
Lisa Iannucci is a Hudson Valley freelance writer. Contact her at [email protected].