The Unsettled Kitchen and Bath Supply Chain
The Unsettled Kitchen and Bath Supply Chain
On the long list of remodeling considerations that give some homeowners pause – time, inconvenience, costs, and design decision paralysis, a new circumstance is driving its way to the front of the line, and that’s material scarcity and backorders currently impacting a broad array of remodeling product categories.
Increased demand for building materials and interruptions to the supply chain means that you may have to wait longer than anticipated to complete a remodeling project—even if you have measurements and a plan in place. These are also reasons why remodels are starting to cost 15% to 30% more than just a few years ago – as demand outgrows availability.
The good news? We want to deep dive into some of the things affecting every client preparing to remodel their home right now and what it actually means. We’ll offer a few solutions for working alongside your designer to alleviate some of these supply chain burdens.
- Your Timeline
- What’s the Holdup?
- Products Affected
- What to Do
Know Your Standard Project Timelines
First, we want to make sure we address a standard project timeline. Normally, kitchen projects can take about 10-12 weeks from the day of demo to the day that you can start moving back in. Primary bathrooms? They can take the same amount of time. And don’t forget to add a couple of weeks – making up to 14 total – for permitting needs (i.e., inspection days).
Keeping Your Timeline on Track
When working with Drury Design, we offer varying floor plan options at varying price points to allow you to choose what will work best for you and your budget. Once we agree on the scope of work, we can offer a budgetary analysis. And, we choose your materials with you and that way you are always in control of the spend. This also allows your designer to order all the materials up front and ensure they are on -sure by the time they are getting installed. It also means you know exactly how much your project should cost There shouldn’t be a scenario where you’re asked what backsplash you want right before counters are installed. We’ve already picked it out, determined how it’s being laid, and have ordered it. Most likely, it’s sitting in our warehouse with your name on it before we even demo the room! But, nowadays, your materials are seeing longer and longer lead times. By using the same methodology, we still work to specify everything and order upfront. This allows us to work alongside our vendors to see what lead times we are looking at for each product.
So let’s say your shower fixtures are taking 8 weeks instead of the standard 4 to ship? We can easily look at your timeline and see when those items are supposed to be installed and if they will still arrive on time. If not, we can discuss options with you, hopefully even before demo day. Clients can either:
– Realize that there may be a few extra days of downtime during the project, extending that 12-week timeline to 14, or 16, or
– They can wait to start demo a week or two later to alleviate the lead time changes without increasing the project timeline
Why The Longer Lead Times?
First and foremost, ridiculous lead times. There isn’t a better way to describe it, and truthfully there isn’t a way for anyone to fix it right now. Different parts of the industry have been seeing different delays and shortages across the board. Almost everyone is aware of the lumber shortage during 2020 and how that affected the cost of wood. Not shockingly, it also affected the availability of most wood products, like cabinetry. But, even as things like lumber start to become available again, that doesn’t mean your cabinet lead times are vastly improving.
Different manufacturers saw many different shortages and delays. The most prominent we have seen or are still seeing are lumber, copper, paint pigments, electronic chips, and foam. Foam? You heard that right. Rigid foam is used in refrigerators – for example – it keeps all your things cold and at the right temperature. Other shortages, like the lack of ample shipping containers, due to increased demand, create larger shipping delays. Bringing in something from overseas for that bathroom remodel? You’re probably waiting a little longer because they can’t find a container to ship it in, and then the ports are still running at partial capacity, so delays are stacking.
Know What’s Coming For These Items:
If you’re considering a remodel, we want you to be mindful of the top two project timeline disrupters: appliances and cabinetry. Not only are these essential, but they’ve all been deeply affected by the supply chain over the past few years. But before we dive into these two, don’t think other things – like bathroom heavy products – aren’t also affected. We’ve seen unconventional lead times for tile, plumbing, and even some soft materials. In fact, some manufacturers have pulled specific collections from being made entirely. The idea is that the factories can work around a streamlined product line, change the machinery less often, and push out more products to meet higher demand.
Appliance Supply Chain
Number one cause of remodeling delays: Appliances. We are working with our clients to pick out their appliances before making most other decisions in their kitchen. Often times we’re then ordering them before we even finalize a proposal. Appliances are seeing the craziest supply chain disruptions, and lead leads are ever-changing. Cold storage items are in a big flux. And, most manufacturers have stopped, or held back, on introducing newer products we were eagerly waiting on to play catch up on their factories. Some even stopped production of lesser ordered items – like 30” refrigeration units perfect for small or auxiliary spaces – to focus on their heavy sellers. Dishwashers are almost impossible to get your hands on. For some, you may be waiting a few months just for an ETA. We’ve seen lead times jump between 6 to 12 months for some products. To alleviate some of the stress that goes along with this, Drury Design works with you to choose and order appliances that will work best with you and your timeline as best we can. Most importantly, we make sure to get those orders in ASAP in an effort to keep your schedule on track.
Cabinetry Supply Chain
Normally, you could get semi-custom cabinets in 6 to 8 weeks and custom cabinets in about 10-14 weeks. Enter lumber shortages and price increases. Enter labor shortages due to Covid-19 and job security issues in early 2020. And finally, enter a massive rise in demand for remodeling driven by people working from home and spending less because they’re quarantined and cannot travel, eat out, etc. Needless to say, our cabinet manufacturers are worn out, and we can see why. But, it’s affecting remodels across the board. By the end of 2020, we were starting to see a few weeks being added here and there, but by the end of 2021, the industry got a rude awakening. Cabinet lines are ranging anywhere from 14 to 28 week lead times and are constantly changing.
Generally, the more customization offered in a cabinet line, the longer the extended lead time. However, even some of the stock cabinet lines across the country are adding a few weeks to production times.
The other side of a restricted supply chain and increased demand. Higher pricing! Yes, some of these price increases are your classic standard supply and demand. However, that’s not the only driving factor. When factories had to downsize staff, some had to let go of employees entirely. Now that they are rehiring, people realize that they are worth more than they were being paid and ask for higher salaries. Companies may also be having to hire new employees, offering more aggressive compensation to hire quickly and get back to producing more.
Additionally, as has been true for the past few years, higher tariffs have also attributed to price increases by our cabinet lines. Studies predict this trend to ween well into 2022.
The Remodel Bottom Line
With increased product costs come increased total remodel costs. Gail Drury, CMKBD, says she hasn’t seen a product line price decrease in the over 30+ years of her remodeling kitchens and bathrooms. So, once a price increase is in effect, it doesn’t just drop. This is especially true when demand continually outpaces supply! Our advice? Don’t delay on your remodel, thinking prices will come down. We’re assuming once things plateau, they are here to stay.
Preparing your next remodel? Supply chain disruptions freaking you out? Learn the benefits of working with a professional, especially during these crazy times! We invite you to speak with one of our talented professional designers who can guide you from start to finish through the remodeling process.
Advice from a Veteran Designer
Remodeling your kitchen or bath is a big deal. We understand. That’s why we’ve spent the last 30 years honing a unique design process that leaves no detail to chance. We will work with you through this supply chain and go the extra mile for you. We will plan every nook, cranny, tile, and fixture before a single change to your home takes place. Your renovation is going to turn out great. We’ll make sure of it.
Janice Teague, CMKBD has been working in the remodeling business for over 35 years, 10 of those have been at Drury Design Kitchen & Bath Studio. She is truly an expert in all things home remodeling! Janice has completed hundreds of projects, received numerous prestigious industry awards through the NKBA, and has had work featured in KBIS; among other namely publications.
Learn more about Janice Teague
About Drury Design Kitchen and Bath Studio
Founded by Gail Drury, CMKBD in 1987, Drury Design’s Client Focused Design™ approach integrates design recommendations, materials selection, and construction management into one seamless customer design, project management, and build experience. For kitchen, bath, and home remodeling ideas view Drury Design’s design portfolio or stop by the studio at 512 N. Main Street in downtown Glen Ellyn, Illinois.