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The Roofing Material Shortage Is Real, and It’s Hurting Everyone Really Badly

Homeowners can’t get roofs. Contractors are going out of business. And the contractors who aren’t sinking are getting yelled at. The roofing material shortage is real, and it’s hurting everyone really badly.

Industry sources inform about roofing material shortages.

The Global Roofing Industry summarizes, “The disruptions, shortages and rising material and labor prices are making project completion not only expensive but also slower, leading to more projects being canceled.” This industry source also has entire sections speaking about how “COVID-19 Pandemic Stalls Construction Activity, Denting Prospects in Roofing Market” and “Delayed Project Completion due to Holdup in Material Availability.”

And that is just the roofing world. International Construction on their website said since last year, the price of lumber has climbed 134%.

Frustrated with shortages and high prices

All of the shortages and then hurricane after hurricane in the South further exacerbating the problem are taking their toll. The wait times and the prices are really starting to get the better of people, and we can’t blame them.

If I’m a homeowner and have no shingles left on my roof because of Hurricane Laura or Delta, and my contractor tells me it could be months until my project can get started, then I’m perturbed. Or if my friend’s roof was replaced last year for a sweet price of $15,000 and now my roof is costing $22,000, then I’m feeling cheated! It doesn’t matter how much self-control or patience you have, to be affected by COVID-19, have an economic shutdown, lose your job, hit by two hurricanes, and now holes in your roof with long wait periods and super high prices… this year is a PILL! 

So what can you do? Unfortunately, not much. This is just the crazy world we are living in right now. But perhaps some education will shed some light on WHY things are happening the way they are.

What's driving the higher contractor prices?

For a contractor, the typical way material acquisition works is once a job is contracted, the contractor would place their order with the local distributor, and the materials will be delivered to the job: quick, streamlined, simple.

However, post-COVID shortages and high demand from hurricanes, if the contractor depends on the local distributor to have the materials in stock, then they could be in a long wait queue filled with other contractors. This means they are stuck waiting for an unknown amount of time for the supplies to be available for your job. And in the early stages of all of this, you weren’t EVER guaranteed the materials would come in!

At least now, manufacturers are fighting with all of these CDC and WHO regulations to try and get their facilities back up and running at 100%. Now, at least the local distributors are getting SOME flow of materials through their yards. But they still have the backlog issue of roofs that were scheduled weeks or months ago to which those materials are already dedicated. So relying on a local distributor right now can be a gamble, leaving the contractor with one other option—stock up on materials THEMSELVES.

Instead of purchasing materials as they are needed, they have to cash flow a stockpile of materials, have a yard to store them in, manage inventory and delivery logistics, and hire acquisition managers to find the materials. Not to mention the already higher prices of materials. All of these components factor into higher prices for the homeowner.

Identify your choice for a contractor.

Frustrated homeowners would then probably ask if all of this is necessary. That’s a completely understandable question. But you will get what you pay for. Let’s break it down into three categories: cheap, moderate, and first-class.

Cheap: The inexpensive roof is the one we will just flat out say, “STAY AWAY FROM!” These are the Chuck in a truck, inexperienced, unlicensed, or uninsured “contractors” who can put the cheapest material on your roof in the quickest time (maybe) because they are buying the lowest performance materials that no one wants to buy. Hence its availability. Don’t believe us? Think we are just pointing you to our business? Here is proof of the injustice that is going on right now. Money makes people do weird things. 

Sure, they might be roofers just getting qualifications for the state (doubtful though from what we’ve seen), but they won’t be here to help you after. They are here today and gone tomorrow, along with any assurance of a quality roof or a workmanship warranty to fix any shoddy install issues.

Moderate: These are probably well-established contractors who are still depending on local distributors to get the materials for their jobs. Their prices are inflated a little due to material shortages, but it’s still an understandable price. However, the caveat to this category is that you will be waiting a long time to get your roof on. They are at the mercy of when the supplier receives the materials in and when they are next in line after all the other contractors on the same waiting list. 

First-Class: These are the contractors who are cash flowing materials and storing them in their yard. As soon as a homeowner signs an agreement, those materials are instantly theirs: no waiting, no wonder, no cheaper quality. But there is a price to pay for this convenience and assurance.

I understand this information, unfortunately, doesn’t change the state of the economy we are in. Still, I at least hope this helps you understand where EVERY contractor (not just roofing) is at right now: short supplies, increased cost of operations, and overwhelming clientele needs. We have worked with some incredible clients who are so patient through the process. And let me tell you, I can’t speak for all companies, but I know that many (including Roofs Restored) want to see these properties restored so these homeowners can get back to their lives.

Our staff and other companies’ staff stresses throughout every day to handle the FLOOD of needs coming in. If we had magic wands, could wish upon a star, or could click some shoes together so we could see all of this resolved and people’s lives go back to normal, we would. But until Elon Musk and Disney collaborate to make those things happen, we will just continue to tackle this monstrosity of a project one day at a time. Contractors around the South can only ask that you have the patience to endure with us.

Roofs restored's Louisiana License