'Materials are unavailable': Shortage of paint, related home products hits Bay Area and beyond

ByLeslie Brinkley KGO logo
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Why is there a paint shortage? Industry experts explain
In a continuation of pandemic-related shortages, now it's become hard to find paint and other home improvement supplies.

ALBANY, Calif. (KGO) -- In a continuation of pandemic-related shortages, now it's become hard to find paint. Yes, cans of paint are in high demand and in short supply, which is leading to higher prices.

Paint is scarce and costly for the foreseeable future.

According to contractors and painters, store owners are struggling to keep product on the shelves.

RELATED: Computer chip shortage to keep car prices sky-high as GM, Ford close multiple factories

"Prices are going up, prices are changing, materials are unavailable," says the owner of East Bay Paint Center in Albany, Bob Langbein.

He says every day he only gets one out of every three gallons he orders as customers are shocked by having to delay projects.

Prices have jumped over 10%.

"It's kind of a perfect storm of things," Langbein said. "There's been a worldwide shortage of metal cans, they've been unavailable. So you'll see in the store alot of plastic cans. The big freeze in Texas did alot of damage to raw materials, plants, so production literally stopped."

VIDEO: Surge in home appliance sales creating shortages amid COVID-19 pandemic

Supply and demand are off kilter this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating an unprecedented demand for kitchen and laundry appliances.

Add to that a shortage of truck drivers and a backup of containers stacked up at ports. Painting specialty tools like sanders are on backorder for up to eight months.

"Reality is you have a shortage of major materials across the board- plywood, dimensional lumber, paint," Owner Ron Paz, with Paz Construction and Management Services said.

He explained the biggest challenge, besides the cost, is the time. Can they even get the materials, or things like windows and doors?

"It used to be like four to six weeks, we're talking eight to ten weeks now," Paz said.

RELATED: Chicken shortage looms because of increased demand, supply chain disruptions

In addition to the shortages and the delivery delays, more people are doing home improvement projects. Some paint stores store predict business is up 20 percent this year.

The experts suggest if you've got a painting project, be flexible in the material you plan to use. And order paint at least three weeks ahead of time.