When the weather gets hot, masonry work becomes a little bit more difficult. The higher ambient temperatures rise, the more the materials and equipment being used in masonry jobs will heat up as well, and the faster the moisture in the concrete will evaporate. This means there will be less water available for the hydration of the cement.
Hot weather for the purposes of masonry construction is usually considered any ambient temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or over 90 degrees Fahrenheit if the wind velocity is more than eight miles per hour. There are some additional factors that can affect masonry work as well, including relatively low humidity and how much direct sunshine is in the area of the project.
Ultimately, workability of the mortar gets reduced when the temperature gets hotter, more water will be needed to maintain that workability, and the initial and final set of the mortar will occur earlier than they typically would at lower temperatures. All of these factors make it difficult for a mason to place units and mortar.
It is important, then, for contractors to carefully consider the types of ingredients and mortar they use and the factors they’ll need to account for when working on hot summer days. With this in mind, here are a few tips from a masonry contractor in Racine, WI about how to handle hot weather masonry construction:
- Emphasize workability: Always try to use mortar mixes that are going to be both workable and water retentive. This will make the job much easier for the masons who have to work with the materials.
- Adjust scheduling: Try to schedule masonry construction on days that aren’t supposed to be as hot. If you can’t put off masonry work until a different day, do your best to avoid working during the hotter parts of the day.
- Minimize sunlight: Keep all materials and equipment out of direct sunlight as much as possible to reduce unnecessary heat.
- Use cool water: When mixing mortar, only use cool water, as this will keep the materials at a lower temperature and prevent the effects of the high temperatures.
- Pre-wet units: If your clay masonry units have high absorption rates, pre-wet them to prevent them from drying out too quickly.
- Adjust your mortar habits: Avoid spreading out the mortar too far ahead of the rest of the work. While this might make your work a little slower, it will at least prevent you from having to go back and redo some mortar work. In addition, make sure you place your upper units on the mortar bed as soon as possible after you spread the mortar out.
- Use additional equipment: If conditions are very hot and dry, you might consider using extra equipment such as fog sprayers, windbreaks and wall coverings to create and maintain moisture in the area for better curing.
For more information about accomplishing masonry work on hot days, contact Langenfeld Masonry & Concrete to speak with an experienced masonry contractor in Racine, WI.
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