Renovating a home can be challenging, even when all the circumstances fit perfectly. But these days, homeowners doing renovations face a major challenge – lack of supply chain.
We are well past the early pandemic days when we couldn’t get basic materials for months. In fact, Tara Dennis, co-founder and director of design firm Archie Bolden, says the availability of building materials is much better these days than it was a year ago.
But still, renovators face delays in getting the materials they need. If you’re about to embark on a major home improvement project, it’s important to know how to work around it. How to renovate around a lack of building materials.
1. Plan ahead
Some home improvement 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 must 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 variety of materials, many of which are in high demand and can be difficult to obtain on time.”
Dennis also warns renovators to be extra careful with projects with a plumbing component. “Plumbing fixtures can come from overseas,” she says. “Those things cannot be made and bought overnight.”
In some cases, even a seemingly quick home improvement project, like a cosmetic bathroom remodel, can be held up by supply chain issues, so it’s important to do some research and know what to expect from the start. “People need to be self-educated much earlier,” says Dennis.
Angie Hicks, chief customer and director of home improvement network and information company Angi, agrees. “Consumers have to go into it with their eyes open,” she says. “Supply chain issues can pop up in strange places. Have honest conversations with home contractors to know what to expect.”
2. Be flexible – or prepare to wait
You never know when the specific tile, cabinet or appliance you want will suddenly become unavailable. That’s why Hicks says it pays to be flexible when possible. Swapping out one type of tile for another can mean the difference between an extensive bathroom renovation and a fairly quick one.
That said, since you might 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, Hicks says, just prepare to wait things out and don’t waste energy getting upset about holdups.
3. Do not start 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 because of problems getting tile. Chances are the bathroom won’t be used much anyway.
But remodeling a kitchen is the kind of project that can significantly affect your life on a daily basis. And in that situation, Hicks advises waiting until all your supplies are in, if possible, to get down to business. After all, the last thing you want to do is tear down your kitchen, only to have to wait four weeks to tackle the next steps because your cabinets and countertops are backordered due to material shortages.
4. Look for contractors with storage facilities
Hicks’ advice to hold off on renovations until your materials have arrived is sound. But in some cases it cannot be done. After all, if you’re remodeling your kitchen, ordering appliances ahead of time probably won’t work for you, unless you happen to have an empty, oversized garage you can use for storage.
Therefore, Dennis advises to work with contractors with storage facilities if you are undertaking major renovations. That way, she says, “They’ll have room to store your materials if you buy them in advance.”
5. Set your renovation budget if you can’t get what you want
Compromising on materials could be your ticket to avoiding shutdowns at a time when supply chain shortages are still a problem. But choosing different countertops, tiles or appliances may not just mean settling for a different color scheme or feel. It may also mean that you have to spend more.
That’s why Hicks says, “Set your budget if you can’t get the item you want. You may have to turn to someone else.”
Filling out your renovation budget can also help you avoid stress when delays inevitably creep up despite your best efforts to plan ahead. You may, Hicks says, have to eat out more often if you’re remodeling your kitchen and the work takes longer than expected. Think about the cost of home improvements outside of building and renovation materials so you don’t get thrown into a financial bind.
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