Pandemic lockdowns have led to a surge in home renovation projects. More than 70% of U.S. homeowners in a recent survey by Dewalt said they are currently planning or thinking about starting such a project before the year’s end. Priorities include bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, porches, patios, decks and landscaping, the survey shows.
But for all of the planning, getting the job done might be much harder. That’s because finding a contractor to do the work has become a huge challenge. At the same time, there’s a shortage of many key building materials.
The result is that many home remodeling projects are being delayed, and those that do get done are often more expensive.
The survey found that 84% of those who’re considering a project plan to use a professional contractor. But 56% of survey respondents who say they’ve already reached out to a contractor say they were told they’d have to wait at least three months for work to start.
The contractors most in demand are electricians, flooring installers, plumbers, window contractors, and structural work contractors, the Dewalt survey finds.
Home renovations are being motivated for multiple reasons, from making homeowners happier with their current home to adding extra space to even make a home more sellable.
“In the short term, many homeowners who deferred projects—both large and small—in 2020 are expected to complete those renovations once the pandemic is over,” Kermit Baker, director of the remodeling futures program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies, said in a report this spring, Improving America Housing 2021. “Additionally, there has been an upturn in homeownership as younger households look to purchase homes, the number of multigenerational households has been growing, and remote work has given people more locational flexibility and the desire to modify their homes.”
Many recent renovations also are being driven by natural disasters, too, such as hurricanes and tornadoes. The U.S. had 22 disasters that caused a record high of $1 billion or more in damages last year.