COVID-19 shutdowns and winter storm issues have resulted in a supply shortage as Texas prepares for the heaviest hail season.
FORT WORTH, Texas – It’s storm season in Texas, and all you need is heavy hail to turn rain into a serious leak. At the moment, roofers are struggling to find supplies.
“I think it’s going to be a real fight,” said Kirk Scott, who owns Scott Exteriors, a roofing company that operates the Metroplex.
He says COVID-19 issues have forced manufacturers to slow down or shut down. Lumberjacks were not considered essential and could not function. Prices for supplies, which in some cases are passed on to customers, have skyrocketed.
“Even though we haven’t had a storm, construction just isn’t going to stop and you combine that with problems in the supply chain and there is a real problem,” said Scott. “Wood is extremely difficult to come by and clapboards are in short supply.”
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Add factory closures during the recent nationwide winter storm, and now it can take up to 10 instead of a single replenishment call. He says it is possible to find clapboards, but customers may not get the colors or brands they want unless I’m willing to wait.
“We used to have lead times of three to four weeks, now it’s 12 to 18 weeks,” said Scott.
When a storm comes or a project comes up, be patient.
Steven Badger is an insurance attorney and Senior Partner at Cell LLP. He says customers need to watch out for fraud.
“For the past decade, my practice has dealt almost entirely with weather-related disaster damage in Texas,” Badger said. “People get ripped off after every storm in North Texas.”
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He says you should make sure you check out the contractors you use to see if they are local and see if they are part of a group like the North Texas Roofing Contractors Association.
“We’re seeing a lot of contractors from out of state,” Badger said. “We call them ‘two chucks in a truck’ and they come in to use all of the work here.”
He also says don’t pay until the job is done and watch out for red flags like deductible waiver.
“This is a big sign of anger because it’s illegal in Texas,” Badger said.
There is no clear forecast of when the bottlenecks will end or what the storm season will look like, but if there is hail, do not rush to hire new employees and be careful and patient.
“Will we make it, sure? It’s just going to be a tough time, ”said Scott.