July 23, 2024


Amazing design, nonpareil

Home improvement costs on the rise


MID-MICHIGAN, Mich. (WNEM) – Just about everyone is trying to make some kind of improvement to make their home more cozy or more efficient, but the cost of comfort is increasing yet again. There are also those who are looking to build new homes.

“It could really be a sticker shock to homeowners, so I say don’t wait,” said Maurice Wiggins, owner and CEO of Wiggins Roofing.

Wiggins said it could take his company about three months before starting any jobs that are not already scheduled. Along with the wait time being lengthy because of supply chain disruptions and the weather delay, he’s also dealing with price hikes for needed materials like shingles.

“They’re up 10 to 12 percent right now, and what I’ve heard is they’ll steadily increase,” Wiggins said.

The increase could happen three or four times throughout the year. SRS Distribution gave its customers notice about the severity of the situation, proclaiming a “5 to 10 percent increase for asphalt shingles and residential roofing accessories.”

Fourth generation, family-owned Michigan Lumber Company in Flint is also dealing with higher pricing for some of the standard and more popular lumber products. For example, a 4×8 sheet of OSB used to cost about $10 pre-pandemic. Last year, it got as high as $60, and now it’s is a little more than $40.

“You know, historically, in the last two years it’s gone up exponentially about 186 percent,” General Manager Matthew Paruch said.

To alleviate some of the lead times on materials, businesses like Michigan Lumber Co. are having to do things a little differently. The new stocking program means Paruch and his staff will have three different styles of doors in the most popular sizes available to meet customers’ needs as quickly as possible.

Paruch invited TV5 cameras inside the mill work shed where some employees have been around for decades. It is all part of a well-oiled machine that turns raw material into high quality lumber.

There are a mix of factors, some fueled by the pandemic, that has made the climate unsteady, which ultimately impacts everyone’s pocketbook.

“It’s not just lumber. It’s the bath fixtures. It’s concrete,” Paruch said. “That’s if you can even find someone to build your house for you.”

The recent “State of Home Spending” report by Angi’s, formerly Angi’s List, shows demand for home improvement projects increased by 20 percent in 2021 compared to 2020. Homeowners spent on average $10,341 for home improvements. That doesn’t include maintenance and emergency repairs.

The effort to make homes more desirable places to spend so much time thrust people into stores like Home Depot, which is seeing record-breaking growth. According to an earnings report a week ago, the retailer added $40 billion in sales over the past two years.

“There aren’t too many small independent lumber yards left like us so we’re just at that point, we’re at a disadvantage compared to some of the large lumber yards,” Paruch said.

Paruch said increased demand, staff shortages in mills, wildfires out west and trucking have all hurt business.

“Last year, at one point there were 138 loads for every one truck available. So therefore, when you have that kind of supply and demand constraint, even though you may be buying the material for $10, the trucking company basically can charge anything they want because they have to move that material,” he said.

Once the material is in your yard and the project is on, then the transportation cost is likely also configured into what you pay.

Along with price hikes in material and labor, there is greater demand than supply with fewer homes for sale and some people are looking to build new houses. Paruch said lumber could add $18,000 to $20,000 more on a home than it did a few years ago.

TV5′s Elisse Ramey asked Wiggins if homeowners could see price increases by just putting off repairs and improvements by a few weeks.

“Absolutely,” Wiggins said. “If they’re trying to pay out of pocket for a roof, they could see close to a $5,000, maybe more, increase to what their total roof would cost.”

If there is one bright spot, Paruch maintains that it is low interest rates, but he expects inflation to ultimately be the biggest hurdle of 2022. His advice to people building or making major renovations: Get a solid budget, line up your contractors and then start ordering materials right away. He recommends ordering specialty items like doors, cabinets and windows first.


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