Name an industry and it’s pretty certain the pandemic has affected it. Design, building, and remodeling is no exception and the ripple effects of supply shortages, labor shortages, price increases, and shipping delays. What would have been a pretty straight forward and inexpensive project a year or two ago is now most definitely more expensive and more delayed. Today we’re helping you navigate the current climate with our best advice for completing your project with as few hiccups as possible.
We’ve seen first hand with our clients’ homes and in our own renovation, Stagg Mountain Modern, just how quickly things can change.
One way to ensure a smoother project is to order the items that you will need as soon as you know what you want. That’s easier said than done these days but the further in advance you can order key items, the better. Everything from windows to wood is in high demand with continuing material shortages so knowing that production times are taking longer than usual and costing more than previous years will help you keep a realistic mindset.
We wanted to give you a few ideas for lead times, with the caveat that these estimates continue to change. Here’s roughly what to plan on for some of the things you may not think of:
Appliances: these vary based on brand. Luxury brand (Thermador, Wolf/Sub Zero, etc) ranges and integrated fridges/freezers are roughly 10 months, give or take a bit. Higher to mid range appliances very a bit more with some estimated around 6 months, and others more than a year. Currently, GE and Kitchenaid are pushed out further than LG and Bosch. We’ve had pretty good success working with local suppliers first hand, rather than ordering online. I suggest going into to speak with a rep or salesman in person and they can give you a good idea of what they have in stock, which lines are reliable on delivery dates, etc.
Lumber: Lumber prices shot up pretty high early in the pandemic due to supply and demand. They started to come down once inventory caught up, which was encouraging, but they are near record levels again. We’ve had the best luck with pricing buying in stock lumber from hardware stores like Home Depot, Ace, and Lowe’s (yep, their prices have been lower than lumber yards). For specialty lumber like trusses, you’ll need to go to a lumber supplier but beware: some won’t even work with you unless you are an established contractor and trusses are many weeks out.
Lighting: Lighting is pretty hit or miss right now. In normal times, lighting takes a long time. We’ve had some lighting delivered really quickly, while other pieces push back several times on backorder. I suggest prioritizing key lighting pieces and ordering those as soon as possible in your project to avoid delays.
Plumbing: This category is similar to lighting currently. Check with suppliers to see what inventory they currently have in stock.
Furnishings: This one continues to be frustrating and they only thing you can do is roll with it. Plan to have a few backups in mind for items like sofas, tables, chairs, and consoles. And know even if the computer tells you it’s going to be delivered by a certain date, there is no guarantee.
Keep an open mind when it comes down to your project timeline. Everyone in the industry is continuing to deal with delays. Even though you may order something and receive an estimated delivery time, more often than not we have seen the delivery day be pushed back months at a time. Unfortunately, you most likely won’t know this is happening until your delivery day approaches. Plan ahead for these unexpected delays, be flexible, and know designers, builders, suppliers, and salespeople are doing their very best.
One way around waiting months on end is to shop locally. There are many local resources with in-stock appliances, furniture, and home goods. Browse your local selection first before resorting to ordering online. Just remember that more specialty items with unique measurements or specific features may be hard to find in person. I’m also a big believer that if a piece is going to make a space, it’s worth waiting for (even if that means cooking on a hot plate for a few months to get the range of your dreams!).
Give yourself grace and be patient with the process. Renovations are hard enough as is without the added stress of delays and price increases. I suggest prioritizing spaces, increasing your budget to give you some pad for unexpected costs, and taking a deep breath. If you’re flexible and ready to make changes along the way, it will help make the experience enjoyable!
Have other questions about the current climate? Leave them in comments! I’d also love to hear your experiences with delays and shortages right now!