Contractors, Beware Summer Elements

Contractors beware summer elements

Part of a contractor’s job is to deal with volatile chemicals and heavy machinery, both of which can be temperamental when the weather is hot. Even though summer is coming to a close, make sure you’re still taking precautions to prevent unwanted trouble from the heat.

Check out the following tips on protecting yourself from summer-related complications:

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Hot Finish = Hazardous

Not only does storing finish in a hot van defy most manufacturers’ instructions — it also poses a fire hazard.

The inside of your van can reach upwards of 120 degrees Fahrenheit or even higher while it sits in the summer sun. Meanwhile, flashpoints for certain oil-based finishes can be as low as 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Storing your finish in your van during the summer puts you, your team, your equipment, and your vehicle at risk.

Even if your finish doesn’t reach temperatures high enough to catch fire, warm finish can pose adherence problems. If you get to a jobsite and find that your finish is warmer than the floor, allow the finish cool down to room temperature before pouring it. When you’re done for the day, remember to store it somewhere other than your van or truck.

Avoid equipment malfunctions from heat

Plugs can melt and belts can warp in the heat of your van in the summertime. If you start up your machine while it’s still hot from sitting in the van, it will be more likely to overheat when you turn it on.

Imagine going to turn on your sander and finding that it doesn’t work because the motor has overheated to the point where it no longer functions. Instead of getting straight to work, you’d have to put in an order for replacement parts.

Instead of keeping your flooring equipment in your van, store your machines in a temperature-controlled environment. Taking just a few minutes to store your equipment away from the sun’s heat and rays will protect you from frustration down the line.

Remember that dry times differ depending on the weather

Temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit prevent finish from drying and leveling properly. As Dry times vary depending on weatherthe temperature rises, relative humidity levels rise, and drying times increase. This can lead to problems with the finish if not accounted for.

Take precautions to ensure that the finish does not fail due to the heat. One simple fix is to monitor the temperature of your workspace, adjusting it with central air or an air conditioner (as long as the airflow does not disrupt the finish). Also make sure to closely monitor relative humidity levels to make sure they don’t rise above the recommended levels for the floor and products you are using.

Be diligent now — it can pay off later

Due diligence to take proper precautions can really pay off down the line. Protecting yourself, your team, your products, and your equipment against the summer heat — no matter how tedious it may be — can prevent a mishap or even a disaster that would be hard to recover from.

For more tips regarding disaster preparedness, insurance, and what we’ve learned since the fire, read our “Lessons Learned” series.

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