By Paula Ebben

DOUGLAS (CBS) – Emerson Clauss lucked out when he picked a classic blue siding for a major remodel in Douglas. “I picked a color that was available. The major manufacturers have cut down on the number of colors they offer,” he said.

That’s just one of many supply issues he has run into turning a tired farmhouse into his dream home for retirement. Production problems have also limited options for roofing shingles. “Windows used to be four weeks, six weeks max. They are 16 weeks now,” he said.

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And if it’s not a supply issue, there are also significant cost increases. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the price of lumber has gone up 180% since last spring. That means an increase of about $24,000 to build the average home.

Clauss, who is also a builder by trade, says he’s seen the price jump just in the last few months. “We framed this about five months ago,” he said showing off the second floor of his project. “Today, it would probably cost me another $5,000, just for the lumber,” he said.

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The electrician Clauss hired for his job reported having trouble getting those little blue electrical boxes and the cost for basics like dumpsters and port-a-potty’s have also gone up. “If I don’t have my drywall order in before April 1st, it will cost me another $3,800.

Planning a new deck this summer? Better plan to wait. Clauss said he was hired to do one earlier this season. “We had to wait about 8 weeks for materials and then we said, we are not doing any more decks right now.”

Clauss blames a combination of COVID-related manufacturing delays, combined with an increase in demand. “We see a lot of people saying, ‘I do want that home office now because we are never going back to an office.’”

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Clauss believes prices may come down some when manufacturers work through their COVID-related production delays, but he doesn’t expect them to come back down to pre-pandemic levels.

Paula Ebben