Fall is here, and with the change of seasons, it’s time to gear up for the winter months. There are a few things that start to happen this time of year: the leaves are changing colors, a lot of hunting and fishing goes on, and the kids are back in school. On the work side of things, contractors are preparing for the cold and snow in many parts of the country, which will start to affect the construction industry. As flooring contractors, we have the luxury of at least working indoors during the winter months, but getting to and from jobs while hauling tools in and out reminds us that the cold and stormy days are here.
Are you prepared? If you have adhesives and products that are affected by the cold, are you keeping the heat on or moving them somewhere where they won’t freeze? This is the time of year we start to do our fall cleanup at the shop. Those that have shops with heat can store their products there—those with no shops are most likely going to be storing adhesives in their garages or somewhere in their homes (been there; done that).
Keep in mind that the flooring products we install cannot freeze either. When delivering materials (wood, tile, resilient, carpet and laminate) remember that the products need to acclimate to a lived-in condition, which means in winter months the heat needs to be maintained at a consistent temperature—typically between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
New construction is where we tend to have issues with heat. Contractors will turn the heat on during the day but will turn the heat down at night because they don’t want to pay for utilities in a structure that’s not occupied. Propane heat is not a recommended source of heat for our trade. The ratio of water in 1 lb. of propane is about equal to the amount of actual propane, which means a lot of moisture is getting introduced to ambient conditions.
For wood flooring, remember to have a discussion with clients about maintaining relative humidity levels in the structure. The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) recommends 30% to 50% relative humidity before, during and after installation. Forced air heat will reduce the amount of relative humidity in the environment, so some sort of humidification will generally be required.
And for those of you who don’t have to deal with the cold and snow? Well, I’ll be jealous of you when I’m driving in winter conditions or taking tools in and out of the job and freezing. And last but not least, the change in temperature is a good reminder to start saving some extra money. At the time I write this blog, there are only 88 days until Christmas!