This is just your yearly reminder to take preventative measures against the summer heat. When you’re dealing with chemicals and heavy-duty machinery, the heat is no joke and can do some real damage.
Protect yourself from combustible supplies and problems with equipment
The chances of spontaneous combustion increase as temperatures rise. This can spell disaster for contractors working with finish, stains, paints, and other supplies containing volatile chemicals.
The inside of your van can reach temperatures exceeding 120 degrees Fahrenheit as it sits in the summer sun. Flashpoints for a number of oil-based finishes are as low as 103 degrees Fahrenheit. That combination spells danger. Excessive temperatures can also affect the performance of most finishes.
If you have buckets of finish in your van — even if they’re not oil-based — take them out and store them in a temperature-controlled environment to ward off the chances of a fire.
Spontaneous combustion is a real threat when dealing with chemicals — every year you hear about it happening to at least a few contractors.
Rags soaked in finish are also a threat and should be properly disposed of, not stored in your van or indoors. Check out this guide to properly disposing of soaked rags.
You’ll also have to deal with adhesion problems if your finish gets too hot. Truth be told, however, this is the least of your problems when it comes to finish sitting in the summer heat.
Your hardwood flooring equipment is also sensitive to the heat. As they sit in the van, the motors can get very hot to the point when they can then overheat when you turn them on again. Prevent this nightmare by storing your sanders, edgers, buffers, and other equipment in a temperature-controlled environment instead of your van. (This can also help to prevent theft.)
Also keep in mind while working this summer that dry times for hardwood floor finishes increase as the temperature rises above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and with it the increased humidity.
The heat can also prevent finish from leveling properly. Make sure to monitor the temperature and relative humidity levels of each jobsite, check for hotspots on the floor, and take measures to get them within the acceptable range of the finish you’re using, such as turning on central air or a box fan.
Take preventative measures now by acquainting yourself with the warnings on your wood floor finishes and other products that you use, and removing them from the heat of your van.
It’s a good idea to also store your equipment with your finish in order to prevent a mishap (although if something were to go wrong with one of your machines, our Machine Repair Shop would probably have it working in a jiffy.)
Something as simple as storing things indoors instead of in your vehicle could go a long way towards preventing a nightmare.
Face it: it’s much better to take preventative measures now than to deal with a burning van or an overheated motor.