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Supply Shortage Could Hamper Efforts to Rebuild Eastern NC

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RALEIGH — The latest numbers indicate flooding from Hurricane Floyd destroyed more than 3,600 homes. Another 4, 200 homes have been severely damaged. All these houses are going to need to be rebuilt, but that could be tough if the building materials are not available. A national shortage of construction supplies could affect the recovery process.

The Sheetrock keeps coming, and going, at Interior Distributors in Raleigh. The company has been going through it quickly because of a nationwide shortage of drywall.

In fact, their warehouse is not usually this full. Drywall manufacturers have asked to store their Sheetrock here, for folks who are going to need it down east.

"It'll take months, I mean, these people have to go in there and rip out all that's in there, they have to bring the other contractors in there, like electrical contractors and plumbing contractor," Richard Mountcastle says.

Thousands of homes from Tarboro to Goldsboro are going to need work, at a time when the nation is still recovering from a shortage not only of Sheetrock but of other building materials, including insulation, lumber and brick.

Fortunately, the building industry will slow down in colder parts of the country during winter, and that should help ensure that supplies will be available here for those who need to rebuild.

"It's not an overnight type situation, where they're going to need all the product," Mountcastle said. "If things can be phased in over the next couple of months, hopefully there will be enough to go around."

New Sheetrock manufacturing plants are being constructed and may help relieve the nation's shortage.

It is unclear whether the new plants will help control prices. Currently, the price of drywall is about 40 percent higher than it was this time last year.

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Laurie Clowers, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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