Building a backyard deck is a popular project in any year, but 2020 has taken it to a new level.

"A lot of people have decided that they were going to renovate, look at upgrading their home, put a deck on, build a chicken coop, do something," said Kevin Merriam of the Maritime Lumber Bureau in Amherst, N.S.

However, getting all the materials needed for that project could become a bit of a problem.

"Pressure-treated lumber, screws, some joist hangers, all the things that you would use to building a deck, plywood is a bit more difficult to get," said Jillian Sexton, who owns two hardware stores in Nova Scotia and one on Prince Edward Island.

The shortage of materials is being reported at hardware stores all around the region.

"Lately the word is interior doors, plywood, pressure treated, but it's a bit of a weekly issue," said Scott Smith of the Nova Scotia chapter of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association.

The high demand, combined with a disruption in manufacturing, has led to the shortage.

"The U.S. is in such disarray with COVID, some of these plants are literally considering shutting down," Smith said.

The Maritime Lumber Bureau says mills here are keeping up.

"It's not from any lack of production that's for sure, because our member mills appear to be quite busy," Merriam said.

It's been difficult to identify what materials are in short supply and where, but stores are being restocked regularly.

"Our sympathies definitely lie with our contractors, because it's their livelihood to make sure they have the materials they need to do the projects they're working on, so we 've tried really hard to make sure we're communicating really well with them and to make sure we're all on the same page," Sexton said.

Said Merriam: "You might just want to try thinking outside the box. If you're after two-by-six, eight foot, we'll say, and it's not available, then look at your inventory list and maybe go to two-by-six, 16 foot and cut that product in half, it gives you the same result."

A little creativity might be needed to get around yet another 2020 challenge.