How to Renovate Around the Construction Material Shortage | Real Estate

Renovating a home can be challenging even when all of the circumstances align perfectly. But these days, homeowners doing renovations face a big challenge – supply chain shortages.

We’re well past the early pandemic days of not being able to get basic materials for months on end. In fact, Tara Dennis, co-founder and director of design firm Archie Bolden, says the availability of construction materials is much better these days than it was a year ago.

But still, renovators are facing delays in getting the materials they need. If you’re about to embark on a big home improvement project, it’s important to know how to work around that. Here’s how to renovate around a construction material shortage.

1. Plan Ahead

Some home renovation projects require more advanced planning than others, and it’s important to know what those are. According to Stacy Elmore, co-founder of The Luxury Pergola, SEE Home Improvements and LouveRoof Luxury Pergolas, “Homeowners need to budget the most time for bathroom remodels, kitchen remodels and outdoor renovations due to supply chain issues. These types of projects typically require a wide range of materials, many of which are in high demand and may be difficult to obtain in a timely manner.”

Dennis also cautions renovators to be extra careful with projects with a plumbing component. “Plumbing fixtures can come from abroad,” she says. “Those things can’t be made and bought overnight.”

In some cases, even a seemingly quick home improvement project, like a cosmetic bathroom remodel, could get held up by supply chain shortages, so it’s important to do some research and know what to expect from the start. “People need to be self-educating a lot earlier,” says Dennis.

Angie Hicks, chief customer officer and director at home improvement network and information company Angi, agrees. “Consumers need to go into it with their eyes wide open,” she says. “Supply chains issues can pop up in weird spots. Have frank conversations with home contractors to know what to expect.”

2. Be Flexible – or Prepare to Wait

You never know when the specific tile, cabinetry or appliance you want will suddenly become unavailable. That’s why Hicks says it pays to be flexible when possible. Swapping one kind of tile for another could spell the difference between a drawn-out bathroom remodel and a fairly quick one.

That said, since you may be looking at spending a lot of money on renovations, it’s easy to see why you wouldn’t want to compromise on any given aspect of your remodel. If that’s the case, says Hicks, just prepare to wait things out, and don’t waste energy getting upset about holdups.

3. Don’t Start the Work Until You Have the Materials You Need

Some renovation projects are more disruptive to everyday life than others. It’s one thing to have your guest bathroom remodel delayed due to issues getting tiles. Chances are, that bathroom doesn’t get heavy use anyway.

But remodeling a kitchen is the sort of project that could significantly impact your life on a daily basis. And in that situation, Hicks advises to wait until all of your supplies are in, if possible, to get started on the work. After all, the last thing you want to do is demolish your kitchen, only to have to wait four weeks to tackle the next steps because your cabinets and countertops are on backorder due to a material shortage.

4. Look to Contractors With Storage Facilities

Hicks’ advice to wait on renovations until your materials have arrived is great. But in some cases, it may not be feasible. After all, if you’re redoing your kitchen, ordering appliances ahead of time likely won’t work for you, unless you happen to have an empty, oversized garage you can use for storage.

That’s why Dennis advises to work with contractors with storage facilities if you’re doing major renovations. That way, she says, “They’ll have room to store your materials if you buy them ahead of time.”

5. Pad Your Renovation Budget in Case You Can’t Get What You Want

Compromising on materials could be your ticket to avoiding holdups at a time when supply chain shortages are still an issue. But choosing different countertops, tiles or appliances may not just mean settling for a different color scheme or feel. It could also mean having to spend more.

That’s why Hicks says, “Pad your budget in case you can’t get the item you want. You might have to pivot to another.”

Padding your renovation budget could also help you avoid stress when delays inevitably creep up despite your best efforts to plan ahead. You might, says Hicks, have to dine out more often if you’re remodeling your kitchen and the work takes longer than anticipated. Think about the cost of home improvements outside of construction and renovation materials so you’re not thrown for a financial loop.