Island Runs Out of Shingles (For Real)

In yet another sign of Nantucket’s white-hot construction industry, the island quite literally ran out of shingles this week.

Amid Nantucket’s ongoing building boom and the nationwide lumber shortage, the supply of white cedar shingles that are nearly ubiquitous around the island simply dried up.

“I don’t think there’s a single shingle in our yard right now,” said Walt Spokowski, president of Marine Lumber. Completely running out of shingles is something that’s never happened in his 13 years with the company.

At Shepley Wood Products on Lovers Lane, Tony Shepley also confirmed that shingles were, at least for the time being, completely sold out. Shepley cited not only the demand and lumber shortage, but also COVID-19 issues in Canada, which is the primary producer of white cedar shingles. “It’s the perfect storm of conditions,” Shepley said. “Canada is really having struggles with covid right now and Quebec is a primary production area for shingles. It’s a nightmare. When we get them in, and then we have to fence off the supply and dole them out first come, first served. You have people who are trying to hoard them.”

Island subcontractor Pete Ahern was among the tradesmen remarking on the situation this week after being told by the island lumberyards that shingles had sold out. Ahern said he had heard of some builders considering going up to Maine to get shingles or even having some shipped directly from Canada at double the price.

“It’s wild right now,” Ahern said. “And there’s no let up that I know of for the fall or next year.”

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