Paint Shortage: Is The End in Sight?

Share |

In short... no.

It’s no secret that paint’s been hard to come by. While not everyone has experienced product shortages, there are plenty of stories of suppliers not being able to get products to market, and contractors being unable to make good on their obligations.

A quick review: The COVID-19 pandemic forced a lot of manufacturing facilities to slow down or shut down, the unexpected freeze in Texas damaged a lot of products, and a labor shortage extends to shipping and transporting materials once they do become available, while even if contractors get the products, they’re having a hard time finding painters to put them on the wall. Coupled with that, demand for building materials has skyrocketed, meaning the shortage is felt more keenly than it might have during normal times. It’s no surprise that everything costs more.

If you’re having problems procuring product, you’re not alone. Contractors from coast to coast reported troubles getting paint.

Concord, New Hampshire: There’s a shortage of grey acrylic caulking. It’s hard to find Cabot Solid Acrylic Stain. A lot of Sherwin-Williams products are out of stock, so I’m using the Ben Moore lines.

Tulsa, Oklahoma: We typically use high end products from Sherwin-Williams. They have been out of everything for the most part for months. We’ve tried switching to Ben Moore and PPG but have started having trouble getting those lately.

St. Louis, Missouri: No flat paint, no ceiling paint or bonding primer at Sherwin in the STL. Some wall paint shortages but that’s flowing pretty decent right now.

Chicago, Illinois: The main Ben Moore dealer in Chicago was having issues getting the flat interior Coronado products.

Slave Lake, Alberta: Had problems getting Advance and Scuff-X from Ben Moore. Not much of these in Alberta, Canada.

California: Here in the California central coast, it’s hard to get eggshell and certain primers.

Sundries can be hard to source as well. “I’ve been waiting six weeks on brushes. Can’t get 3.5-inch sash brushes anywhere,” said one New Hampshire painter.

Others are doing OK.

 “No problem with Benjamin Moore products in Northern Wisconsin,” said one contractor.

Another in Mississippi states, “I haven’t had any major problems. Sherwin-Williams is my main vendor, and they’ve bent over backwards taking care of my needs.”

Most paint companies are being transparent about the issue. “Raw material suppliers were heavily impacted by extreme low temperatures across the southern United States in early 2021,” Kelly-Moore released in a statement. “This caused plant shutdowns, the loss of material, and damage to many facilities.  These manufacturers are still working to return supply levels back to normal.  With limited supply, customers such as Kelly-Moore are being allocated small amounts of raw materials that do not meet current demand.”

PPG says largely the same: “As a result of global supply chain disruptions, we continue to actively secure raw material supply and minimize the impact to our customers. At the same time, there has been a significant increase in demand in some markets we supply due to increased consumer demand for our paint products for residential renovations. These commodity supply disruptions alongside increased demand for many PPG products have been a core driver of elevated raw material cost inflation within the coatings industry.”

Most shortages, adds Kelly-Moore, are from this side of the globe. “We are not being significantly impacted by supply or transit from overseas,” said the company, which also stated it doesn’t yet see an end to the problem. “Currently, the shortages and delays are ongoing. We have limited information from our suppliers on when more raw materials will be available and when shipments will arrive. Our teams are working diligently to produce and source as much material as possible to fulfill your needs.”

Julie S. Young, Vice President, Global Corporate Communications at Sherwin-Williams, tells us the company is making some changes to help minimize the impact of product shortages. “Sherwin-Williams is prioritizing the manufacture of in-demand products to ensure contractors can access their most-needed supplies and is taking steps to meet this demand including rerouting shipping lines, utilizing air freight to expedite delivery and leveraging relationships to source materials faster from different markets across the world. In addition, we’re adding manufacturing capacity in multiple locations to increase production and availability of coatings.” She encourages contractors to contact their reps as far ahead of time as possible to work on getting the products needed for a project.

The final word? No one expects this to change any time soon.

Special Category: 


The Kelly-Moore comment "Most shortages are from this side of the globe." is not accurate. Ocean freight is taking more than 90 days and manufacturers that utilize ingredients made overseas are basically shut down in some areas. A few key materials we buy are not available and the US distributors have no answer when containers may arrive. Isocyanates and monomers are in worldwide disarray some not even available. This is huge mess

I received a real sweet, apologetic letter from Sherwin-Williams stating how they were sorry that their shelves are bare here in Indianapolis, and of course they did not accept any responsibility for the "shortage". And S &W vowed in their letter to help me and other career contractors get through this. S&W's solution to help us, RAISE THEIR PRICES ON PAINT! Yes we will soon be paying more for S&W paint whether it's available or not. S&W's corporate profits are already sky high because of their diverting their manufactured paint from S&W contractor stores to box stores, yes all you want at Lowes, lesser quality,(verified), and no professional service but profitable for S&W none-the-less. For a year and a half now we have seen large corporate companies use, and I mean USE, Covid-19, Shortages,Fear,Weather, Politics, fictitious Labor figures, fictitious Health data, you name it, to raise their prices and fatten their profits. Manipulation at it's best, or worst! We are an established business and our future buying habits will not include "partners" like S&W and others who at the first opportunity, "threw us under the bus"!

I think SW is sh*tting the bed on dealing with the supply chain issues. As a global leader in coatings (or at least one of them) they should be more on top of this. Two price increases already, now a 4% "surcharge" on everything purchased between now and the end of the year. As a business owner I can see both sides of the coin, but I also know how to take care of my clients, and SW is NOT doing that right now. We spend a LOT at SW, so they've set some product aside for us that we can buy in quantity when it comes in, but that just screws the smaller guy in the process. They've also had to LOWER their price to us on a couple products to meet BM. Yep, you heard that right. I think SW should be leading the way in terms of competitive pricing strategy, but I had to tell my rep about my BM pricing and he MATCHED it. What a disgrace. SW employees are leaving here and there, too, because they're tired of the company's behavior...will it be permanent damage? Who cares, as long as the stock price is where it needs to be. SMH.

Nick I agree with you 100% I don't mine paying more, but when they cannot even put product on there self they are just wanting us to cover there loses in which is BS

And....PPG is no different! While their shelves are bare in their corporate owned contractor stores,there is PPG, Glidden and other brands that are manufactured by PPG on Home Depot, Menard and other box store shelves. I am told PPG is raising contractor prices also. Years ago the Glidden company motto was " Glidden, A Paint You Can Be Loyal To". Today's Corporate motto could read "Where is a Corporate Paint Company who is loyal to painting contractors!" There seems to be no loyalty to us Painting contractors who built their Corporate Companies.

We are trying to adapt with each hurdle being thrown at us. However it doesn't help when we are in the middle of painting the airport hangers at Scottsdale airport with a deep base color and the SW store runs out. They decide to make it in a white base and try to get it close to the color. All without telling as as we paint the hanger doors with the wrong base and color. Major costly mistake. We are driving to other cities in Arizona just to get products. Then you have the stores not sharing with other stores claiming that they need it for their regulars. And to add to all of this we are 10 men short everyday. We run an ad every week and are lucky if one person even shows up. I have contractor sending me contracts for jobs we bid back in March that we can't even honor the pricing due to our increases. Sorry, I'm on a roll and venting. I could go on and on.

Two major paint company employees told me the same thing as to what's causing the "paint shortage". They both said of course there had been weather and other related causes but the main cause according to them is" Corporate Greed"! They should know.

I’ve found Premier brushes to be available and that they are good brushes.

We are definitely in unprecedented times with material shortages, but we are dedicated to service the contractor community. At Tex-Cote we are pulling every lever to keep product flowing out the door without any special requirements or surcharges. Feel free to reach out and let us show you our dedication to the meeting needs of the professional painting contractor.

I just called two Sherwin Williams stores here in Central Indiana and one PM Salesman, looking for deckstain. The answers 1. Don't have any, 2. Might have a few depending on base you need and 3. One store says they have 13 gallon but not sure of the base or if they even have it.. As I am searching for deckstain I see an article about Sherwin Williams new Corporate Headquarters building in Cleveland. I read how Sherwin Williams is proud to announce they selected only minority owned businesses for their corporate project. So not only does SW have no paint for sale they also use closed bidding practices to select their corporate building contractors. They obviously do not use free market, open bidding practices. It makes one wonder just how much influence the Biden Socialist administration is having on companies like S&W.

Add new comment

This field is optional... please note if you fill in, your email will appear on your comment.

You Might Also Be Interested In

Copyright © 2021 American Painting Contractor, a division of CBIS. All rights reserved.