Pouring concrete? You should wait if it’s cold outside. This will ensure maximum performance.

Winter weather can be tough on anyone working outdoors, including construction crews. It can even impact whole job sites, causing problems and delays.

Here are some of the pitfalls of cold-weather construction.

Freezing Effects

Any construction project that deals with water is affected by freezing weather.
Water contracts as it cools, but at the freezing point, it expands about 9%.

For this reason, extreme cold weather virtually stops the drying time for just about any mixture.

This spells trouble for tasks like:
Pouring concrete — doing this in 40-degree weather can reduce the concrete’s strength by 50%
• Drywall finishing/repair — the drying time virtually stops unless you have some type of heat to get the joint compound to dry
Painting — If it’s 45 degrees Fahrenheit, and will get even colder in the four to eight hours following painting, just don’t tackle this task

Heat Can Help

You can use space heaters and forced air (torpedo) heaters to counteract Mother Nature during active construction jobs.

But you need to take the proper safety precautions.
For instance, don’t leave the heater on overnight, and keep the heater away from flammables

Concerns for Existing Homes

Cold weather decreases humidity and when that happens, contraction, or shrinkage, occurs.
This can affect things in your home like:
• Crown molding (Cracks form and it appears to fall off the wall)
• Wood floors, which can buckle
• Window condensation

The ideal humidity level in a home is 50%, so a great tool to have on hand is a hygrometer to measure relative humidity.

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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