It is now more difficult to find tiles for your roof than an appointment to renew your passport. If, in general, the cost of building materials has soared in recent years, some are also almost impossible to find. This is the case for everything made with terracotta, such as roofing tiles or bricks. A shortage which, like sunflower oil, is partly due to the war in Ukraine. But this is not the only factor and, we are not going to lie to you, the situation is not going to improve.
People who regularly frequent mainstream DIY stores may have noticed that the tile shelves were either heavily bare or desperately empty. Same thing for brands supplying building professionals. By consulting the websites of these companies, the observation is clear: there are few references available in sufficient number to redo anything other than the roof of the dog kennel.
“We have no restocking planned at all”
In order to make this clear, 20 minutes tried to contact various of the best-known distributors, including Leroy Merlin and Point P. In vain, none responded. But over the phone, pretending to be a client, we got some answers. “We have no planned restocking at all on the tiles, the ridge tiles, and we have no visibility on the deadlines. In Hauts-de-France, it’s dead and it’s the same elsewhere in France, ”laments an employee of a Leroy-Merlin in the North.
For Freddy Guilbert, 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 are finally delivered, we don’t know at what price”, he explains. To date, the craftsmen who have been able to store materials can honor the sites on which they were committed. “For roofing, it’s just not possible to accept new construction sites. Not only because there are no tiles, but also because every month there is double-digit inflation on these materials. Guaranteeing the price of the estimate beyond a few weeks is unthinkable”, insists the president of CAPEB, also a craftsman.
Covid and its restrictions, war and the price of energy
The cause of this shortage is twofold. The first is the health restrictions put in place against the coronavirus, which have led to production stoppages at the major manufacturers in the sector. “When the factories restarted, there was a delay of millions of tiles impossible to catch up without increasing the means of production”, assures 20 minutes a factory manager who wishes to remain anonymous.
The other reason is the increase in the price of gas linked to the stoppage of supplies in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. In the vast majority of cases, the ovens used by manufacturers for firing tiles operate on gas. “For us, the price has almost been multiplied by 10, and since energy represents 80% of the cost price, the calculation is quickly done”, denounces the manager of a tile factory in central France who prefers stay discreet.
Although he continues to produce to fulfill his orders, he knows that not everyone is playing the game: “Some major manufacturers in the sector are shutting down their factories because they are no longer benefiting from them in terms of profitability,” he says. Same suspicion on the CAPEB side: “The Covid shortage will be followed by the shortage linked to the shutdown of these factories in the face of the cost of energy. This is a problem that is here to stay and whose consequences we will see in the event of a big storm, ”laments Freddy Guilbert.
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