It’s been more than three weeks since the government introduced lockdown measures to combat the spread of Covid-19, and builders merchants, DIY stores, and the rest of us, have been forced to adapt. But renovators can still obtain essential DIY products, providing you know where to look.
Merchants are regularly updating their websites with the capacity they are operating at and what services they are offering, but getting key DIY materials such hardware, landscaping materials and decorating products is certainly not as easy as it was.
Some merchants are well-stocked, but being able to buy these materials and get them to your home will depend not just on the stock available but also merchants’ delivery and/or collection policies.
(MORE: Check out Home School – for all you need to plan your next project while on lockdown)
Here are some of the major builders’ merchants which remain operational in some capacity for customers, either through Click & Collect or home delivery:
The first thing to note when you enter the B&Q website is that you have to join a queue, and this can take more than an hour, depending on the time of day you join. If you’re just looking to browse, you may be best looking elsewhere.
Click & Collect or home delivery? B&Q is still operating Click & Collect (typically providing allocated time slots for collection) and home delivery services on a limited range of products. However, on some products, the next dates available for delivery are generally not for a couple of weeks.
What can I buy? Paint, sand and cement are among the widely available products, but there is a reduced supply of hardware, plumbing, electrical, central heating and boiler parts, as well as light bulbs, tools and security.
What can’t I buy? Plasterboard supplies are lower than usual, but B&Q expects stock levels to return normal by the end of April.
Update: On 23 April it was confirmed that B&Q has reopened 155 stores across the UK.
There is good stock availability throughout the Homebase site, including on paint, fencing panels, tools and hardware.
Click & Collect or home delivery? All of Homebase’s stores are closed for the time being, so click & collect is not available. Delivery is available, although dates range anywhere between 3-21 days, and delivery costs can be up to £12.50. Some items may also be delivered separately.
What can’t I buy? There are currently no sand and cement products available, but there don’t seem to be any major restrictions on orders.
One notable benefit from using Toolstation is that it still delivering to build sites, which is particularly useful to those in the midst of self builds or renovations.
Click & Collect or home delivery? Both. Next Business Day Delivery to your home or a build site within 24 hours is available for certain products. The cost of delivery will depend on the price of your purchase (spending more than £10 or over costs less than spending less than £10).
What can I buy? There are discounts of up to 25% on paint, and up to 35% off on screws and fixings. Fence panels, plasterboard fixings, and hand and power tools are generally in good supply.
What else should I know? Some delivery times can increase noticeably, for example, expect a 21-day delivery time if you are ordering fence panels.
Click & Collect or home delivery? Both are available. While next day delivery is applicable on certain products, there is a blanket £5 delivery fee on all orders below £50. Delivery is free for any order above £50.
What can’t I buy? Paint is available for Click & Collect but very limited delivery is on offer (however, you can buy two for £36 on selected paints). There are also limited supplies across sand and cement, and fencing panels.
What else should I know? Decking is available, but there’s a 14-day wait for deliveries.
Click & Collect or home delivery? Wickes is offering Click & Collect and delivery on a limited selection of products.
What can’t I buy? While there don’t seem to be anything specific restrictions on products, Wickes is currently experiencing shortages of a number of products. These include paint, paint brushes and some tools.
What else should I know? Like B&Q, Wickes puts customers in a queue to access the website. The wait is mercifully much shorter, around 10-15 minutes. You will then have 10 minutes to access the site, and once on the site you can take as long as you need.
Click & Collect or home delivery? Next day delivery is available for some products, otherwise standard delivery in the UK is within seven days. Delivery is free on orders over £50, otherwise £3.50. Click & Collect is free on orders over £30, but is only running from Waitrose, Booths and Co-Op stores.
What can I buy? It might not be the first name that comes to mind when you need DIY products, John Lewis has an extensive range of wallpaper, paint and also stocks some power tools.
What can’t I buy? You’ll probably want to shop elsewhere if you’re looking for screws, fixings, wood, plumbing and boiler parts.
Bradfords is only offering quick response on basic essentials, such as sealants, power tools, screws and fixings. These are however both from Click & Collect and delivery services.
Which Merchants Are Closed?
Currently, many building merchants are only offering essential services only (for infrastructure and services helping to combat the Covid-10 pandemic). These include:
Be sure to follow our live updates on merchants’ capacity and supplies throughout lockdown.