With DIY stores reopened, there’s been a rush on plaster that’s starting to cause real problems for the building trade.
Those lucky enough to find a supply have also been faced with soaring prices after factories closed during lockdown.
“It’s been a nightmare,” building supplier Mark Roberts told Manchester Evening News.
“Everyone is asking for it. It is like gold dust.
“People are flogging it for ridiculous prices. One of my mates paid £20 a bag for it. It is usually £7.”
A quick scan of eBay shows one seller is advertising five bags of plaster for £105.
Mark said he believes one of the causes of the shortage is production.
“The factory where they make it closed down for coronavirus. It has caused major issues. There’s a back log of orders.
“I don’t even let people order it. We can’t get it”, he said.
There’s also been an increase in demand – the nationwide lockdown has seen a rise in people taking up household tasks like DIY.
The plaster shortage is also causing a headache for Darran Jackson, a builder from Sale.
“At first we could cope but now it’s getting to the point where it’s ridiculous”, he told the Manchester Evening News.
“Considering it’s a British product, I’d expect it to be readily available.
“But as I travel all across the Greater Manchester I’m finding it’s just not the case.
“I just have to make do without it or do small plastering jobs.
“My main supplier has not been able to get hold of any since before lockdown on March 23.”
Scores of people have echoed their concerns about lack of DIY materials on social media.
One picture showed a huge queue for plaster at B&Q in Bolton.
The photo was posted on Instagram by Brett Dearden, of Manchester Plastering.
He said that at the beginning of lockdown, big British builders’ merchants sent all stocks to building sites.
He said: “It’s been a nightmare for some customers – one had just ripped the kitchen out before lockdown.
“As soon as we could get the gear we put him top of the list.
“Then we’ve just kept in touch with customers and prioritised things based on what seems fair and right under the circumstances – people in a mess of part-done alterations first then onto people who aren’t desperate and haven’t stripped the rooms yet.
“Everyone has been great. When I’ve spotted supplies I’ve urged my customers to go pick up if they can as there are limits in place.
“The lovely staff at Bolton Trade Point know us and have contacted their regulars so the workers keep working.
“This is their strategy to stop people from buying to resell at exorbitant prices on eBay. Today manager Carol was really pleased it had all gone to grafters not grifters.”