4 Bed, 3 Bath, No Garage Door: The Unlikely Woes Holding Up Home Building

One house under construction in America today is facing many problems. There are bricklayers in need, bricklayers in demand, subcontractors in Covid, appliances on backorder, plumbing fixtures out of port, and then there’s the final hurdle. Rick Palacios Jr., director of research at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, said that garage doors are a nightmare. If you were to rank the problems homebuilders face, Palacios Jr. would say that garage doors are the worst. This is due to the combination of many pandemic complications. This moment is absurd because garage doors are now impossible to get. Everyone seems to have this problem. In the last year, prices have doubled or tripled. The lead times have increased from weeks to months. Homebuilders used to order garage doors weeks before finishing a house. Now they order them before the foundation is poured. Brookfield Properties is a development group that builds thousands of single-family homes each year in North America. “And now it takes 20 weeks to get a pair of garage doors.” Many of the frustrations builders face today aren’t new. Supply chains have been rattled by tariffs and natural disasters in the past. Skilled labor has been a problem for many years. Construction has been hampered by zoning rules for years. What is more, and it is American, is that homebuilders are having trouble finishing new homes in a housing shortage. This is because they must first complete the garage door. This means that homebuyers can’t move in and builders don’t get paid. A typical single-family home would have taken seven months to build before the pandemic. It can take as long as a year. In 2020, 9 out 10 single-family homes were built with garages. They are almost universal in the Midwest and West Coast. Understanding the Supply Chain Crisis: The origins of the Crisis: The pandemic caused global economic turmoil. We explained how it happened. It will end when it ends. These are the answers to your questions. A New Normal? In some areas of the country, a builder cannot pass a final inspection or get a certificate o occupancy for a home without a garage door. According to Jeff Schroeder (a senior vice president at Ponderosa Homes in California), “If anything, it has increased that” demand. Families in the Bay Area have been forced to look for cheaper housing further out of the city because home prices have soared during this pandemic. Mr. Schroeder stated that “to do that,” they need a car. In the last two years, the garage has also been the solution to many pandemic problems. It’s the remote office and home gym, the one-room schoolhouse, the makeshift bedroom for doubled up family members, and the home gym. The pandemic has effectively ended the decades-long evolution from detached carriage house to connected car annex to an inseparable space from the home. It can seem surreal to see new homes with garages covered in plywood or hear homebuilders talking about installing temporary ones. Your dream home is waiting for you! Mr. Schroeder’s company has been installing garage doors in plain, cheap prices on homes that sell for $600,000. He said that they are just temporary fixers and will be replaced when necessary. Foley’s company delayed closings to avoid having to come up with temporary solutions. “The garage door is aesthetically an integral part of the home’s finishing,” he stated. It’s like delivering a car without a grille. The department came up a provisional agreement that would allow a home to be occupied by painted plywood, sealing the garage. This agreement was to be signed by the home buyer and the bank. Inspectors inspect the mechanism required by federal law to stop the doors from moving underneath in case of an accident. It’s ready for the next house, or for any home component shortage. He said, “We think it’s going to be more than garage doors.” “It’s going be something else next.” The safety mechanism in a garage door is only one part of a complex product. Or, more importantly, a product with a complex supply chains. John Burns Real Estate Consulting created an index that showed garage doors have a more complicated supply chain than windows and HVAC systems. There are more chances for something to go wrong than with appliances and lighting fixtures.

A Supply Chain Complexity Index
John Burns Real Estate Consulting developed this measure to show that building products with higher values rely more heavily on imported parts and intermediate industries.

Light fixtures

Appliances for the home

Garage doors


Stone products

Cabinets and counters



Windows and doors

HVAC systems

Products for plumbing

Decorative metal


Concrete blocks

Engineered wood products




Forestry and Logging

Source: John Burns Real Estate Consulting analysis of Bureau of Economic Analysis Data

This index was created early in the pandemic. Todd Tomalak, the John Burns building product group leader, added an addition to his Green Bay, Wis. house that included a master suite and a larger garage for his woodworking tools. It was “100% done, done and done” in December, except for two things: the bathtub and the garage. You can also get garage doors that make your home look like a castle, barn, or Renzo Piano museum. The complex and interconnected global supply chains are in turmoil. The outbreak of Covid-19, which caused a slowdown in economic activity, mass layoffs, and a halt in production, is responsible for much of the crisis. Here’s what happened next. A reduction in shipping. Manufacturers and shipping companies assumed that the demand would drop dramatically as fewer goods were made and fewer people had money to spend at the beginning of the pandemic. However, this was a mistake as some items saw a surge in demand. The entire world needed surgical gowns and masks in 2020. These goods were largely made in China. China’s factories increased their production and cargo vessels began to deliver goods around the world. Then came a shortage of shipping containers. After being empty, shipping containers piled up all over the globe. The result was a shortage in containers in China, the country that most needed them. China’s factories would start producing goods in record numbers. Demand for durable goods increased. The pandemic changed Americans’ spending habits from eating out and attending events to buying office furniture, electronics, and kitchen appliances online. Government stimulus programs also encouraged the spending. U.S. ports were quickly overwhelmed by factory goods. The demand for factory goods quickly outpaced the availability of shipping containers. The cost of shipping a container from Shanghai, Los Angeles, or anywhere else, skyrocketed tenfold. Labor shortages. Businesses all over the economy struggled to find workers to transport cargo to warehouses. Even though employers tried to raise wages, labor shortages continued, increasing the scarcity of goods. One thing led to shortages of another. Dearth of computer chips led to major automakers having to cut production and delay the manufacture of medical devices. This was a long-lasting problem. The system has been put under more pressure by consumers and businesses who ordered extra and earlier, especially before the holidays. These issues are a key contributor to rising inflation and will likely last through 2022, if not longer. (Mr. Tomalak chose the Sonoma Ranch style of American Overhead Door in Mission Oak with Stockton II Windows — “not an Ferrari” as garage doors go; maybe “a 3-series BMW.” To understand the industry’s manufacturing, Dave Monsour, a long-standing engineer and technical director of the Door and Access Systems Manufacturers Association, suggested that an airplane is a good example. An airplane is made up of thousands of parts. Manufacturers use the same parts every time they build another airplane. Nobody can customize the exterior material or the wing’s width. A development group stated. “And now it takes us twenty weeks to get a garage door set.” Mr. Monsour stated that garage doors are a business that “just explodes.” Garage doors can be ordered in any size, color, and wind-load rating. They are available in three- to six-inch increments. Do you want windows? What about insulation? These answers will affect how heavy it is. You will need a new spring to balance it. Spray-foam insulation is a common feature of many doors. This is because the Texas plants that make its chemical components were damaged by last year’s severe winter freeze. Garage doors are also competing for polyurethane and polyvinyl chloride. This is because garage doors can be made with vinyl siding, caulking, and window frames. Many other garage door components are also made from steel, which has been in short supply. Many other garage door components are made from steel, which has been in short supply. He said that he builds as few houses as possible using only a two-car garage. Local buyers, especially for more expensive homes, expect three. He used to pay $3,200 for this setup. The cost now is $6,000. He has one week to lock the price. He then has to wait two to three months before he can get delivery. It used to be possible to presell a home and then begin construction. Home building is less risky if you know there’s an interested buyer. All the risk is now reversed.