Coronavirus-related shutdowns and shipment delays are setting back home improvement work on Long Island — including swimming pool and other backyard projects.
Both domestic and international manufacturers and suppliers are still playing catchup from the delays, while also trying to meet increased consumer focus on home improvement and landscaping projects.
Michael Trueheart, owner of True Blue Swimming Pools in Dix Hills, says there’s a concern about material shortages like pumps, filter systems and heaters because manufacturers were also impacted.
There are backlogs for some outdoor lighting parts, porcelain and custom granite pavers, and treated lumber used for decks.
Landscape lighting fixture shortages are a result of supply issues out of China during the pandemic when manufacturing halted, according to Patrick Harders, co-founder of Sterling Lighting, a landscape lighting fixture manufacturer in Sterling, Virginia. His partner, Damien Sanchez, added, “Ultimately a lack of inventory and a reliance on just in time delivery with extremely long supply chains from the other side of the world have put many companies in a bad position in being able to meet customer demand."
These include high-end lighting fixtures and parts that are made in Italy, said Eleanore Montefusco, owner of Eleanore Z. Montefusco Landscape Architecture, LLC in Center Moriches.
Even companies that planned ahead for their spring inventory have had to find alternate supplies. According to Amy Dowling, vice president of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives in Huntington, the shutdowns occurred just as their season was about to start.
“We’re part of a national franchise so our key manufacturer was proactive, but we’ve had a few items that are out of stock like fixtures, transformers, piece parts and some accessories,” Dowling said. “We’ve had to find alternate solutions.”
Montefusco said she heard from contractors that there are delays in items like wiring and bulbs.
“We have projects where they ordered lighting supplies a month ago and are just getting them in now,” she said.
Additionally, outdoor porcelain pavers from Italy, as well as custom granite pavers fabricated in China have been delayed, according to Montefusco, though “it’s starting to open up again.”
An unprecedented demand for treated decking lumber has been on the rise since mid-March, said Carmine DeRiso, a salesperson at Family Lumber in Bethpage. “It’s affecting all Long Island suppliers. With the factories and mills closed, and now shipping delays, we’re telling customers there’s a two- to three-week wait. As soon as it comes in, it’s gone.”