Update on Paint Shortage

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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.






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Trying times for everyone right now. We have to be creative but can get through it.

I am wondering if you have links to the articles referenced in the above article. could you post them? Thanks,

If I may add and this is just my observation of many years in the industry.. While the reasons given here for " paint shortages" might be true, there are other obvious factors involved. Less competition in an industry is not good for consumers. Now that we have just a couple of paint companies to choose from some painters have had to radically adjust their product line. Not long ago there were many paint manufacturers both national and regional that served the market, they have been absorbed and once mainline, popular paints done away with. When you combine this with government overeach in the industry we see an industry being diminished. Overeach, yes! Such as the 1978 "lead" compliant rules where and as government states that," paint can not have over " 5 " yes, 5 parts per million lead content. " As anyone who has ever had painted tested under laboratory conditions knows, there is no such content! For years we have had paint tested for precise lead content. The percentages for primary colors have ranged from 1400, 2100, 3300 and 5,000 parts per million and up not "5". Disasters affecting the industry also are nothing new. In, I believe the late 70's, early 80's we were told we were experiencing a shortage due to fire. At that time there were 2 factories in the U.S. that manufactured Acrylic Acid a main ingredient in plastics, disposable diapers and Acrylic Paint. One factory was destroyed by fire creating a shortage, we were told. Lastly, when Free Enterprise in the paint industry is compromised and restricted, painters, contractors and consumers suffer. Some would say the illegitimet government administration we have now is opposed to free enterprise. I agree.

100% accurate. I run a small family owned paint manufacturing company, been in business since 1955. The industry is in the worst shape it has ever been in. The industry has been in a period of consolidation for the past 50 years. PPG & SW get bigger and bigger. They have their tentacles in every facet of the industry, from manufacturing to raw materials, to sundry products. There is no escape from them. It is destroying the industry for everyone but them. This isn't capitalism either, they are the ones driving all the regulations, knowing that they're the only ones with the means to devote an army of people to comply with the constantly changing laws.

Jim, It's good to hear about your family paint manufacturing business. Do you manufacture special coatings? I used to order special coatings from a paint chemist owned business, Vanex Paint Co. in Illinois until it was bought and absorbed by PPG. One of the products is still available, one out of dozens!

This man's netzero email checks out for having a finger on the pulse since dial-up. We are sadly not the only industry faced with rising inflation and questioning who is going to be stuck with the bill. Spoiler alert, we will have to pass this on to the customer or absorb some of the cost to try and stay competitive. This will cause folks to either do the work themselves or hold off on projects. I honestly don't mind this free enterprise approach, but when did this stop applying to these big corporations? If painters/retailers have to navigate these waters... why not big corporations? Mom and pop shops are forced to go out of business while these big corporations get bailed out time and time again. Why do I feel like I am on the titanic getting told this is an unsinkable ship and they only have life boats for half the people? I wish everyone the best during these times.

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