Painter’s Corner: WOW, IS IT HOT OR WHAT?

Jerry Painter  

Subject: Wow, Is it Hot or What?

I must have napped right through spring because I just can’t remember it. Those early mornings with cool fresh air. Putting the sweaters away and pulling out a few short sleeve shirts. The smell of fresh plant growth. Starting your garden and doing general clean up after winter.  

Then there is the pollen unless of course, you are one of the fortunate people that do not suffer allergies. All of a sudden, the temperatures jumped to the 90s and some days above 100 degrees, and this was in May.  

What will it be like when summer gets here? My guess is that it will still be hot. The heat is much more stressful than when I was in my teens. Hmmm, let’s not discuss why. 

In masonry work, hot weather can have a major impact on us in two ways. It can impair our masonry work and impair our personnel. When you are asked about your work response to hot weather, most of us can tell the GC or CM what our options are.  

Your MCAA has an excellent reference document available. Its title is HOT and COLD WEATHER MASONRY CONSTRUCTION. This document is referenced by project specifications occasionally. It can provide great backup material for a discussion on hot weather practices.  

If you don’t have a copy in your company library contact MCAA for your copy. Not following good hot weather practices can lead to bad mortar and mortar bond both of which will greatly impact the performance of the masonry. 

The other major issue is the impact the heat has on your personnel. If you have never worked on the jobsite you probably won’t understand the impact. I was fortunate to be able to work alongside my grandfather when I was in my teens.  

That man got smarter the older I got. He believed that the most important meal of the day was breakfast and he has been proven to be correct. He never let his automobile’s gas tank get below half full. He had the same concern about his work life. He believed that everyone should wear a hat when outside and take it off when inside.  

At work, he always wore a rigid and full brim hat. This was before the days of hardhats. He also strongly suggested wearing long sleeve shirts made out of the type of cloth that had a cooling effect and protected the wearer’s skin. Over the years a lot of people that have worked outside in the masonry industry have had skin cancers cut from their ears, faces, and arms. Don’t let an employee’s search for a perfect tan destroy their future health.  

Today there are plenty of devices to keep employees cooler such as a cooling cloth for the neck, head, and even the chest. There are cooling and misting fans available, and last but certainly not least is the use of time and people management. Some of the other ways to help protect your employees are to work less in the middle of the day.  

If possible, work on the shady side of the building and in some cases, you may be able to install some shading devices. I can still remember building manholes for utility contractors. We built some as deep as 24 ft. It always seemed that these were built in the dead of winter or summer. There was always water seeping in and no airflow. All of this was before precast manholes and blue plastic tarps.  

We finally figured out ways to create shade and someone created precast units. That event in itself was an affirmation that God loved us. The bottom line is to take extra care of your work and personal assets so you can continue to provide quality masonry. BE SAFE. 

Raise the line and come on around the corner.