Rain, Snow, Heat, Oh Hell: Renovating Through Inclement Weather

Rain, Snow, Heat, Oh Hell: Renovating Through Inclement Weather

I spent a couple of days recently on unexpected holiday when the snow storm blanketed the roads, closed schools and kept my crews well away from our frozen worksites. My job is all about managing complications. And wintertime always poses unique challenges to any construction project. Renovations are tough enough when it’s sunny and 70 degrees. Slather on snow, ice, freezing rain and the kind of cold that keeps polar bears indoors and you can end up in a perfect storm of construction headaches.

Weather causes a lot of hiccups and frustrations on a job site. Some are very particular to the kind of weather and the kind of job. Others are more general. Here are a few I deal with regularly:

• Transportation. This is pretty basic. If you can’t get to work, your crew probably can’t get to your house. Keep in mind this can affect material shipping/delivery dates etc. well out of your immediate neighborhood. You may live in Miami, but if your new tile is coming form Illinois, the winter storm you haven’t had to worry about may delay your kitchen for a few days.

• Power. Your electrician is not the only person hamstrung when the transformer blows. A loss of power prohibits a lot of jobs from getting done. Some of them obvious, and some less so. For example: hardwood floors must acclimate in a climate-controlled space for several days prior to installation. If the power fails and the conditions are not managed, new floors cannot (should not) be installed.

• Water. It doesn’t take that much rain, sleet, snow or hail to stall your foundation grading. Any form of precipitation will postpone a backhoe digging for footers. And clearly, this is also true for landscape contractor’s installation too.

• Temperatures. Extremes on either side of the thermometer can affect a job. Sheet rock requires warm and dry conditions to set. Some tools (nail guns, for example) will not work in extreme cold.

It’s tempting to think that scheduling in a different season would solve all of these problems. Obviously it’s less likely to snow in July than it is in January (at least in this hemisphere). However, weather is always going to be a factor. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blizzard in February or the tail end of a tropical storm in October. You have to mange your expectations and accept the fact that there may be an ice storm the day they were supposed to deliver the amazing VANITY you’ve been anxiously awaiting vanity.

You can’t control the weather. So fix yourself a mug of hot chocolate or iced tea, (respectively)and try to make the best of it.

Spring (and your new bathroom) will get here one of these days.

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