Many contractors have noted a shortage of painters, but along with that, there’s a shortage of paint itself. While fallout from COVID-19 has impacted the supply chain, there are other factors in play as well. Where COVID comes in is that lockdowns and temporary business closures disrupted all links of getting the product to market.
You can blame Texas for a lot of this — the 2021 winter storm froze much of the available coatings supply that would be distributed from Texas warehouses. Coupled with that, the storm impacted the production of the petrochemicals needed to make more (much of this comes from Texas), so paint manufacturers are not receiving their needed raw materials and what they do get is going to cost more.
Import issues have also done their part. Titanium dioxide from China, for example, has been difficult or impossible to obtain. Once ships with these types of materials finally come to port, there have been difficulties finding trucks and drivers to transport them.
Meanwhile, demand for paint has gone up thanks to a boom of new construction and many people choosing to upgrade the home they’ve been confined to for the last year. With less paint available and more people needing it, expect prices to go higher. Sherwin-Williams has already issued a price increase and stated it may need to raise prices further if raw materials costs increase. An article from Utah’s KSL News Radio is warning homeowners that that they should expect to pay more for a professional’s services due to increased pricing and difficult-to-source product.
Another article, this one from Spectrum News in the Tampa, Florida area, quotes a paint retailer as saying he’s backed up over two months just waiting for supplies to fill projects he’s sold, and that he’s never seen anything like this in over thirty years in the business.
The American Coatings Association points to more than COVID-19 for the problem, stating that the paint and coatings industry has failed to build resilience into its supply chains, meaning that when things go wrong they don’t have a “Plan B.” The ACA predicts that that increased consumer demand will make this even more of a problem in the future.