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Painting a room was the home improvement project that even a novice DIYer with a low threshold of confidence was willing to take on during the onset of the pandemic. Many did and the resulting robust demand for paint took the supply chain by surprise. Now consumers might push putting a fresh coat on their walls to next year as the price of a gallon of paint has climbed and their favorite color might not be available. 

Professionals also are seeing sparsely stocked shelves and out-of-stocks of popular colors at dealer and supply stores. A roundup by American Paint Contractors ( of shortages reported by contractors showed Cabot Solid Acrylic Stain and “a lot of Sherwin-Williams products” are out of stock in Concord, N.H. A Tulsa, Okla., contractor couldn’t find high-end Sherwin-Williams products for months and switched to Benjamin Moore and PPG paints, but now those brands are increasingly out of stock. A Chicago painter reported difficulty securing flat interior Coronado products from his Benjamin Moore dealer, and a contractor in the central California coast can ‘t find eggshell and certain primers. 


Last February’s arctic blast and power blackouts knocked out Texas petrochemical plants, which produce polymers for making vinyl and other plastic products used in windows, doors, and siding and also shut down production of resins and solvents for making paint. Chemical manufacturers warned back in March that production capacity and inventory may not return to normal until the fourth quarter. That was before the following hurricane season and other extreme summer storms that hit the Gulf Coast further hampered efforts to meet that timetable.

This May Not Be A "Blip" 

Sherwin-Williams executives don’t see the current spike in inflation as a blip. "The reality is there's a tight supply chain market, there's a strong demand and we expect raw material costs will stay elevated for a period of time," said CFO Allen Mistysyn during a recent call with investors. 

Sherwin-Williams raised its prices by 7% in August. PPG Industries already had two price hikes this year and CEO, Michael McGarry said in a July interview with Bloomberg  that a the possibility of a third hike was being studied. Other manufacturers are expected to raise their prices. The producer price index for painting and coatings manufacturers jumped 8.4% just from February through August and 10.6% year over year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

So that can of interior latex semi gloss that was $32 a gallon at the beginning of the year can be as high as the $98 going into autumn. As paint becomes more expensive, could wallpaper get a spark as a cheaper and more available option? After hitting bottom this year at $895 million, retail sales at paint and wallpaper stores rose 38.7% to $1.24 billion, per the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Especially in the last year and half our Wallcoverings Association manufacturers and distributors have seen an increase in demand for wall covering products in residential, office, hospitality and healthcare, says Matthew Jones, executive director of the association. “The COVID-19 pandemic has elevated the importance of sanitizing wall surfaces in interior spaces and wallcoverings are the best solution. According to the CDC, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces can help prevent the spread of the virus, and it lists shared surfaces as walls, doorknobs, tables, countertops, etc. Cleaning protocols used by public facilities are still evolving, but Wallcoverings Association members are being proactive in testing against new cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting practices and are releasing test information to specifiers and end users as it becomes available. In addition, wall covering providers are bringing new technologies to market that protect the product from today’s harsher cleaners."