Winter Masonry Work Is Possible
October is a busy time for most masonry companies. Time to get as many house exteriors done as possible. Because once the temperature falls below zero, brick, stone and other masonry products need a little extra attention. Winter masonry work can still be done, and in Ontario many companies work right through the winter. However, for mortar and cement to set and cure properly, it can not freeze during the process. To ensure a proper bond, materials are protected from excess moisture and the cold while stored on site, while on the scaffolding, during the construction process, and while drying.
For brick and stone walls, the mortar must be consistent. Therefore, mortar and cement bags are kept covered and dry using water resistant tarps and plastic. The cold doesn’t affect dry cement/mortar mix until water is added. It can be a challenge to keep mortar bags covered if on site for any length of time as autumn winds can be quite strong. And it doesn’t take much moisture to harden the mortar or parts of it making it hard to work with. For this reason, mortar mix is usually ordered and delivered as the masons are arriving to start the job.
Warm, Dry, Brick Sand
Brick sand is an important part of most mortar mixtures. Although water drains easily through sand it can also get trapped and absorbed by it. Frozen sand is not only hard to shovel or break into pieces, but also hard to mix. In addition, the amount of water used in a mortar is precisely measured so sand that holds water because it’s frozen can throw off the mixture making it to wet or soupy. The solution is to bury a metal barrel containing a propane tiger torch which keeps the sand pile warm, dry, and usable for mixing mortar.
The next challenge becomes keeping the materials from freezing while on the scaffolding and while being used to build the wall. To do this, massive tarps cover makeshift steel and wood frames and become temporary tents that seal off the area. Considerable time goes in to building something strong enough to resist any wind, snow, or rain that may arrive during the construction and finishing of the wall(s). Large propane heaters are used to fill the tarped in area with heat which is rarely regulated to provide comfortable working conditions. It’s just there for the wall.
Do You Have Inside Winter Masonry Work?
So, although winter masonry work is possible it requires more time and money to preform properly. Outdoor masonry work is substantially easier to do right without freezing temperatures. This begs the question, if you’re reading this, do you have any inside masonry projects for Masonry Nation to do this winter season? Now is the time to start planning such projects! Imagine how happy you can make a mason by getting them out of the cold! Call Masonry Nation today for a FREE no obligation quote.