With homeowners spending more time than ever at home, the project list begins to stack up. Home improvement stores have seen record increases in traffic, which has led to a decrease in inventory. 

Unfortunately, the supply isn’t able to be fully restocked. So, here are tips to keep your projects going, despite material shortages.

The Pandemic’s Impact on Home Improvements

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic sent millions of people into self-isolation, with little to do but dream up home improvement projects, industry activity was rising.

Interest rates were historically low, people were planning new home builds and additions, and orders were already placed. Manufacturers already were cutting back, before the pandemic, as they faced supply-and-demand challenges.

Then in March, when people started to self-quarantine, those issues compounded. Being home meant more projects around the house. As a result, prices have gone sky high.

In addition, many people in self-quarantine are the very ones who work in the mill or production of home improvement materials. So, plants are not running at 100% performance; some are still running at 30% capacity.

Plan B: Using Alternative Building Materials

Creating outdoor living spaces was already at an all-time high in popularity before the pandemic. But COVID-19 compounded that.

Manufacturing and timber industries slowed or shut down, and people have learned about alternative building materials.  

Looking to build a deck? There are great alternatives to lumber, including low-maintenance composite decking. It doesn’t rot or warp, and while it’s usually more expensive than wood, the price gap has narrowed due to the lumber shortage and rising rates.

Cellular PVC will never rot and it’s great for replacing rotten wood or building anything around the house.

Fiber cement, which is great for siding, also will never rot and it will stand up to 145 mph winds. There’s no need for seasonal paint, sealing or staining, and termites won’t eat it.

Best of all, due to supply shortages for other materials and competition, prices for these alternative materials are going down.

Further Reading

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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