Calgarians turning to home renos to relieve stress during COVID-19 pandemic: ‘It helps a lot’

Click to play video 'More people doing home renos to relieve stress during COVID-19 pandemic' More people doing home renos to relieve stress during COVID-19 pandemic
WATCH: You may notice a bit more hammering and sawing around your neighbourhood this spring. With the COVID-19 pandemic leaving many with more time on their hands, a lot of Calgarians are tackling home improvement projects. Gil Tucker reports.

Calgarians may be noticing more hammering and sawing around their neighbourhood this spring, as people turn to home renovation projects during the COVID-19 crisis.

The pandemic has left many with more time on their hands, and a lot of people are using the time to tackle jobs around the house.

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Vivian Breneol was preparing for her project by shopping for supplies like sandpaper and brushes at The Cedar Shop building materials store in southeast Calgary.

“We decided we would get the deck refinished while we’re at home,” Breneol said. “I made a list [of projects] actually, probably a month ago, and we’ve just been slowly checking it off.”
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A couple of aisles over, Ross Rayment was looking for the right piece of piece of lumber for a small repair job near the roof of his house, after a woodpecker left a small hole.

“I’ve got some time on my hands and it seemed like now is the time to get some of those little projects taken care of,” Rayment said. “It’s tough for me to stay in the house all day, every day.”

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When people leave the house in search of materials, they often find long lineups at the big national chain building supply stores.

The Cedar Shop said it’s doing twice as much business as it did at this time last year, with about a quarter of its customers taking advantage of the store’s free delivery service, and the rest stopping in to shop.

“[Customers are] thinking about upgrading their back deck, sometimes [purchasing] pergola material,” The Cedar Shop’s Jordy Tarves said. “Mostly people are just doing stuff that’s non-permit work.”
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It can be tough finding some building supplies and shoppers looking for popular items sometimes find empty shelves.

“We’re running low on some of our stains — a guy just cleaned us out of one particular stain, [so we’re] going to have to order some more,” Tarves said. “Our suppliers are struggling a little bit here and there, getting shipments and stuff like that, but we’re all making do, doing what we can.”

Stores are getting used to making quick adjustments during the pandemic.

“This COVID[-19] thing is a little bit harsh,” Tarves said. “But we’ll get through it.”

For many customers, taking on a home improvement project is a big part of coping with the COVID-19 crisis.

“As long as I keep myself occupied, I’m OK,” Tom Viggars said. “It helps a lot.”

“For someone who has a Type A personality, like me,[(keeping busy] feels pretty good,” Breneol said. “Let’s get this done, so when we do get out and about we can go golfing, and our chores are done.”