Check Before You Spec: In Stock Alternatives
It does not look like this supply shortage is going away any time soon. So let’s channel the turkey day theme and be thankful for what we have and creative about what we don’t.
Many of us have experienced that exasperated gasp at the realization that your favorite cold brew is out at the grocery store, someone took the last copy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid at the Book Fair that your son begged for all week, or that Bosch dishwasher has a 22 week lead time. We can’t just whinge and whine and wine about it though, we have to stop staring longingly at what we wanted and take stock of what is right in front of us.
The same advice applies to fabricators, architects and designers right now. The material that was specified for a project two years ago may not be available now that you are ready to purchase it. Or it may have become ridiculously priced and you suddenly need to find something else that fits your budget. Substitutions are necessary when the supply chain is in flux. This is not to suggest that we have pigeon pie instead of a record breaking whole turkey and stuffing, but we are suggesting that you work with your suppliers to find suitable alternatives where it makes sense. Maybe sub that green bean and fried onion dish for fresh green beans…? Whoa, calm down Casserole Karen, we are just suggesting a replacement.
Everyone knows what we are dealing with here. Change is hard. But, since it is increasingly necessary, let’s discuss some options for surfacing:
Resins are the glue that holds most surfacing together. It is kind of like the Cream of Mushroom soup in that dish that Casserole Karen was all up in arms about. Well, that resin is spoken for in 2022, which means prices are going to go way up. Good alternatives here would be resin free options like sintered stone or porcelains. Lapitec is not only resin free, but also silica free, making it a more available and healthier option, not subject to the complications of the resin market. But, even for the many materials that do rely on resins, there are great options available.
Quartz surfaces are likely going to see a massive price hike in the upcoming year. Quartz is the go-to countertop option right now but a significant price increase could very well drive people back to natural stone and alternative materials. While resins remain in short supply and overseas shipping is a costly disaster, it is wise to look to alternatives that are made and stocked domestically and, therefore, more readily available like PaperStone, Gilasi and GEOS.
Solid surface materials like Corian, Avonite and several others have already seen multiple price hikes due to increased resin and shipping costs, which are likely to continue to increase. As these options get pricier, consider options like Durat, which is made in the US, covers the entire suite of colors and can be customized for yield and color matching. Specifying a product that is more resilient to pricing factors and flexible in design makes a lot more sense right now than sticking with a product subject to continual supply chain-induced price hikes.
Some wood based products are being discontinued due to unabsorbable price increases throughout 2021, and some due to merger or acquisition. When you find yourself in this position, don’t sweat–there are more sustainable, available alternatives to consider. For example, Organoid natural surfaces are made from renewable, plentiful bio-based resources and offered in a variety of finishes that can match most wood tones. Plus, since they are wallcoverings, they are lightweight, easy to ship and easy to lay up on any available substrate.
The bottom line is: check before you spec. There are shortages but there are also materials stocked and readily available. Ask your supplier or fabricator what they have ready to roll and keep an open mind about materials you might be unfamiliar with.
Another way to put it: switch before you b****. Suppliers are doing their best to get what you need, but if they can’t, work with them to find alternatives. We are here to help you with your project and happy to suggest alternatives that make your lives and ours easier.
Can the soup. You might have to go without something this year. And you might actually like it better or you might discover a perfect material you never considered before. Maybe not, but we all know that the challenges will continue and we can be prepared to navigate them together.
Keep an eye out for CaraGreen’s “in stock” symbol on social media and click here to inquire about what sustainable materials we have stocked and ready to rock in the US.