June 24, 2022
Paint – the inexpensive and easy décor update for many sellers making their homes market ready – is now the latest commodity in short supply. Yes, paint. In the short term, the likelihood of actually purchasing the perfect shade of prairie sage or meadow mist is much more difficult than comparing hundreds of paint chips and making a selection. If you can find an acceptable color at your favorite paint retailer – even the big box stores – you may not find enough for a whole house. What you will find are much higher prices.
A combination of factors is limiting supplies and driving up production costs that are passed on to you. Supply chain issues, including backlogged container ships, a shortage of workers and truck drivers, and rising gasoline and diesel prices, are the obvious culprits. Add shortages of raw materials, production challenges brought on by the pandemic and a 2021 winter storm that limited production in Texas, and you have a formula for both limited supply and higher prices. Major paint brands, like Sherwin-Williams, last year announced price hikes which likely will last for the foreseeable future. Demand for paint also increased as homeowners tackled DIY and home renovation projects during pandemic confinement and as the housing market boomed in 2020 and 2021.
If you must redecorate or renovate, here are some tips for weathering the great paint famine of 2022:
Buy Now and Buy Plenty
This is no time to be spontaneous. HouseLogic.com advises allowing at least four to six weeks lead time…especially if you’re planning to hire a pro. If you’re ordering the paint yourself, make sure to buy enough. Paint is sensitive to extreme temperatures, so make sure it’s stored properly.
If you’re supply is limited, target areas that really need paint like doorways and high-use areas that show lots of wear. It’s worth a try to take a can of leftover paint or a bit scraped from an inconspicuous area to the paint store for matching. Availability will help determine how much you can paint.
Paint an accent wall to bring new life to a room’s appearance with very little paint. Carefully choose a color that compliments and brightens your existing colors.
To add to curb appeal, consider painting just the front of your house and finish when paint is more readily available or give a prospective buyer a paint allowance to complete the job.
Interior walls may benefit from a mild detergent and some elbow grease. Wiping baseboards, window sills and trim can bring a lot of life to old paint. For exterior surfaces, a light scrubbing or even a soft power wash will remove mildew and dirt that is dulling your paint.
Be Flexible and Consistent
Now may be the perfect time to look at other paint brands or finishes. Most stores can color match another brand using computer formulas. Once you’ve sourced a color from a brand, however, stick with it. While colors can be matched, the slightest variance can make a difference if one wall covered with a different brand than the others.
Draft a Pro
Painting contractors buy a lot of paint from a lot of sources. Your best bet for securing your color selection in the amount you need may lie with a professional. Use their purchasing power to get your job done.
Bring Back the Wallpaper
Actually, wallpaper already is back with easier to hang materials and a multitude of patterns and colors. Whether for an accent wall or an entire room, wallpaper can solve the paint shortage blues or any other color. There’s even a temporary wallpaper option if you’re on the sidelines – just peel and stick for a new look.
Consider the Alternatives
Now may be the perfect time to add that real or faux brick or stone as an accent wall. Tile is a popular option as well. A decorator can help you envision an update that you – and potential buyers – will love.
Give it a Topcoat
According to HomeLogic.com, there is no shortage of clear topcoats. Adding a topcoat can make your existing paint appear more fresh and vivid. Later, you can repaint right over the topcoat.
When it comes to prepping your home to sell, think outside the box. There’s no shortage that a little flexibility, ingenuity and planning can’t conquer.