Nowadays, finding shingles for your roof is more difficult than signing up for a passport renewal. If in general the cost of building materials has skyrocketed in recent years, then some are also almost impossible to find. This applies to everything that is made of terracotta, such as roof tiles or bricks. The shortage of which, like sunflower oil, is partly related to the war in Ukraine. But that’s not the only factor, and let’s not lie to you, things aren’t going to get better.
People who regularly visit regular DIY stores may have noticed that the tile shelves were either grossly empty or desperately empty. The same goes for brands supplying professional builders. When browsing the websites of these companies, the observation becomes clear: there are enough links to remodel anything but the roof of a doghouse.
“We don’t plan to restock at all”
To make it clear 20 minutes tried to contact the most famous distributors, including Leroy Merlin and Point P. In vain, no one answered. But on the phone, posing as a client, we got some answers. “We don’t have any planned replenishment of stocks of tiles, ridge tiles at all, and we don’t see a deadline. It’s dead in Hauts-de-France, and it’s the same in all of France,” lamented a Leroy-Merlin employee in the North.
For Freddie Gilbert, president of the Confederation of Crafts and Small Building Companies (CAPEB) of Pas de Calais, the situation is dramatic: “For bricks, the deadline is 6 months, for tiles there is no deadline, and if we finally deliver, at what price do we we don’t know,” he explains. Today, masters who have managed to store materials can honor the sites where they were made. “For roofs, it is simply impossible to accept new buildings. Not only because there are no tiles, but also because double-digit inflation goes on these materials every month. A price guarantee for a few weeks’ evaluation is unthinkable,” insists the CAPEB president, also an artisan.
Covid and its restrictions, war and the price of energy
The reason for this deficit is twofold. Firstly, these are the sanitary restrictions imposed against the coronavirus, which led to a halt in production at the main producers in this sector. “When the factories resumed work, there was a delay of millions of tiles, which could not be made up without increasing the means of production,” assures 20 minutes plant manager who wished to remain anonymous.
Another reason is the rise in gas prices associated with the cessation of supplies to Russia after the invasion of Ukraine. The kilns used by manufacturers for firing tiles are overwhelmingly gas-fired. “For us, the price is almost 10 times, and since energy is 80% of the cost, the calculation is done quickly,” denounces the manager of a tile plant in central France, who prefers to remain cautious.
While he continues to produce to fulfill his orders, he knows that not everyone is playing the game: “Some of the big manufacturers in the sector are closing their factories because they no longer benefit from them in terms of profitability,” he says. The same suspicion from CAPEB: “A shortage of Covid will be followed by a shortage associated with the shutdown of these plants due to the cost of energy. This is a problem that will remain, and the consequences of which we will see in the event of a big storm, ”Freddie Gilbert laments.