Here's Why There's a Massive Paint Shortage

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In 2021, the coronavirus pandemic continued to cause supply chain issues and, in turn, that led to shortages for products like chlorine, glass bottles, candy canes (yes, really), and blue paint. Though we reported on the latter in October 2021, unfortunately, it appears that the problem has expanded to include all types of paint and even more materials.

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According to ​Hyperallergic​, in addition to pandemic supply chain issues, another factor is contributing to our current paint shortage: climate and man-made disasters. For instance, in February 2021, Texas experienced a freeze that reduced the production of petroleum, which is needed to make paint. In March of last year, there was also a fire at a polymer plant in Germany (the cause still appears to be unknown) and, over the summer, Canadian wildfires brought on by dry weather devastated the linseed crop (another paint ingredient).

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Rather than just one paint component being affected by these unfortunate disasters alongside continuous supply chain delays, multiple items are facing undersupply. This is causing a bottleneck for the entire industry, for both house paint and art supplies — and not just that of blue paint, which is still scarce due to a lack of additives used to make pigments for this hue.

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The Hunker team has also encountered this shortage firsthand. Our senior director of content, Leonora Epstein, was told by a house painter that she'd have to be charged more because the cost of paint went up. When visiting her local paint store, Senior Utility Editor Jamie Birdwell-Branson wasn't even able to get paint samples because of the shortages mentioned above and issues with keeping the actual paint cans in stock. According to Bloomberg, the limitedness of the containers might be due to difficulties sourcing the tinplate needed to create metal cans — an issue Dutch paint maker Akzo Nobel was facing in October 2021.

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"The persistent and industry-wide raw material availability constraints and pricing inflation we have previously reported have worsened, and we do not expect to see improved supply or lower raw material pricing in our fourth quarter as anticipated," stated Sherwin-Williams CEO John Morikis, according to CNN, in September 2021. It would seem that these worsened conditions are continuing into the first quarter of 2022.

Of course, since demand for paint likely won't drop anytime soon — especially with new year's renovations on many to-do lists — the pressure on this shortage probably won't decrease. Plus, between natural disasters, rising material costs, COVID-19 complications, and more, the paint industry clearly has its hands full. In other words, there is no word on when or if this shortage will stop anytime soon.

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