Paint is the latest item to be derailed by supply chain problems. Here’s how to navigate the paint shortage and higher paint prices.
The latest supply chain problem is a paint shortage. More specifically, house paint. Interior, exterior, latex and oil. All colors. All brands. Primer is in short supply, too.
Like other supply chain disruptions, the paint shortage has stemmed from an array of factors around the globe. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused labor shortfalls at paint plants and trucking companies, slowing production and delivery. Power outages caused by the epic February 2021 freeze in Texas slowed petroleum production and destroyed the existing supply of resins, key ingredients in paint. Then Hurricane Ida shut down petroleum production in Louisiana in summer 2021. Throw in a fire at a paint polymer plant in Germany in March 2021 and you've got a paint shortage.
At the same time, demand for paint has soared. Most of us decided we needed to improve or repair our homes once we started working from home because of COVID. Sales at paint and wallpaper stores hit all-time highs in 2021. With demand up and supply down, you’re going to have trouble finding paint for your remodeling project, and when you find it, you'll pay more.
On average paint is up by 25% just in the last year.
The paint shortage isn’t likely to improve any time soon. Sherwin Williams, the largest paint manufacturer in the U.S., says it’s uncertain when paint production will be back to normal.
You’re wondering, “So, how am I going to get rid of these outdated red walls in my kitchen?!” We asked some painting pros for tips on handling the shortage. Here’s what they said.
#1 Buy paint in bulk and buy early.
If you are DIY-ing it, order your paint four to six weeks before you start your project and buy enough to do the entire job.
#2 Paint only the problem areas.
Sometimes you don’t need to repaint an entire room to make it look better. You just need to touch up the problem areas, and it's easier to find a small supply of paint.
#3 Clean your walls, baseboards and trim.
You can sometimes freshen a room’s appearance just by giving the painted surfaces a good scrub, no repainting needed.
#4 Paint an accent wall.
Does the paint shortage have you worried about how to cover all four walls of your room? Paint one wall a bright color that complements the other three walls. You’ll freshen the room’s appearance with less than a gallon of paint.
#5 Be flexible when choosing a paint brand.
If you absolutely must have Sherwin Williams 2022 paint color of the year, Evergreen Fog, but you can't get it, most paint stores can match other companies' paint colors. Take them a swatch and let them work their computer-driven magic.
#6 Stick with same brand for the whole job if possible.
Use the same brand of paint for your entire job or the colors might not match. To get a precise match, it’s best to buy paint that came from the same run and at the same store.
#7 Hire a professional painter to leverage their buying power.
If you have a big job, a painting contractor has the buying power to track down the paint you need. Otherwise, you'll likely have to drive all over town looking for paint or Google “latex paint near me” till the wee hours. A pro has a supplier network and a national buying account.
#8 Use recycled paint.
It’s made by reprocessing and remixing leftover latex paint. There aren’t as many color choices in recycled paint, and it can't be custom tinted. But it’s just as durable as virgin paint, good for the environment and available.
#9 Consider wallpaper instead of paint.
Wallpaper has come a long way from Great-Aunt Agnus' cabbage rose-covered bedroom walls. It's easier to hang and remove quickly without harming the walls, and it's better for the environment. It's also hot right now, available in all kinds of patterns and colors, according to interior design pros.
#10 Power wash your home’s exterior before you paint.
As with the interior, a good cleaning of your home's exterior may be enough to freshen the appearance until you can repaint.
#11 Paint just the front of your house.
Paint just the front of your house because that’s what shows. This is a good solution if you’re about to sell your house and need to boost your curb appeal.
#12 Put a clear topcoat over your exterior paint.
Freshen up your home’s exterior by putting a clear topcoat over the paint. The paint shortage hasn't affected clear topcoats.
Bottom line: You can still paint your house during this supply chain mayhem. You’ll just have to plan ahead, pay higher paint prices and be flexible in your choices.
And remember, the next time you're in the market to buy or sell a home contact a REALTOR member of the ________________ Board of REALTORS.