2020 was a year that we are all trying to forget. It caused many more downs than ups. We yearn for life to return to state of normalcy. Shutdowns and quarantines mean that we are spending more time at home. Stuck at home, we now have time to make the home improvements we have talked about and dreamed about. Reorganizing the garage, painting the living room, re-doing the deck, installing a pool, building a fire pit; all valid and popular COVID home improvement projects. It turns out, having the time to make these improvements isn’t the only thing we need. We actually need the materials, too.

COVID Increases Demand
COVID has entered the construction world just as it has entered other parts of life; unwelcome and destructive. Although home improvement projects have been booming in popularity this past year many homeowners have struggled to complete them. Materials have been flying off the shelves of home improvement stores but it has been impossible for these stores to keep up with the demand. One material in particular that is hard to find, that is normally readily available, is prefabricated wood-paneled fence sections. A custom fence order made today could take up to 15 weeks to arrive, perhaps longer. Materials for Trex decking and other decking products have now reached a 30-week lead time.

COVID Increases Cost
COVID is forcing manufacturers to work in a socially distanced environment, which means there is less staff building the products and much lower efficiency while doing so. Lower efficiency means a lower yield, which will cause an increase in costs and unfortunately that increase is usually passed down the pipeline all the way to the consumer.

COVID causes Delays
In addition to the manufacturers, contractors need to adjust their installation processes because of COVID. This usually comes in the form of a smaller crew to increase distance between workers while on site, which increases the duration of the installation. Longer installations with less employees will usually result in contractors raising their installation rates to avoid substantial financial losses. Also in urban settings, apartment buildings have been limiting the amount of traffic going in and out making it much more difficult to schedule installations.

We all have had enough of this pandemic, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Normalcy in the public setting is still a long way off. We do have some control over our personal spaces. Taking action to improve them will add value to the proerty and to our psyche. If you decide to move forward with a DIY project or sub it out to a contractor, expect the process to take longer than it would back in 2019 and cost more too.