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Hot Weather Home Improvement Tips

As summer temperatures begin to sizzle, home improvement tasks become particularly challenging. Take these precautions when working in hot weather to protect your health and get better results.

Working in a hot environment puts stress on the body's cooling system. When heat is combined with other stresses—like hard physical work, loss of fluids, or fatigue—it may lead to heat-related illness or even death.

Individuals over age 40 need to take extra care when the weather is hot, because our ability to sweat declines as we age. However, heat stress can also affect individuals who are young and fit.

Water is crucial to helping the body adjust to high temperatures. The rate of water intake must equal the increased rate of water loss by perspiration to keep body temperature normal. When it's hot, drink plenty of water.

And don't push yourself beyond your limits. It could be harmful to your health, and could put you at increased risk of having an accident.

Your painting project can turn into a disaster if air temperatures are too hot or humid. Most exterior paint is formulated to perform best when applied at temperatures between 50 degrees F and 80 degrees F.

Any hotter, and the proper formation of the paint film can be seriously affected. Pinholing (tiny surface craters) can occur during application, and direct sun on fresh paint can cause the film to blister. In addition, when the temperature of the surface is above 80 degrees F, it can significantly affect the dry and cure process and prevent proper film formation of the paint. Lap marks may result when the coating is applied to a hot surface.

Wait until cool evening hours, or, when working indoors, be sure your air conditioner is kicked into gear.

Concrete is also affected by temperature—too hot and it dries with cracks; too cold and it takes forever to set. Most small concrete projects should be poured when temperatures are between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, the concrete will begin to set up in a reasonable time but not before you have a chance to touch it up.

Wet down all forms and substrate just before you pour in the concrete. This will reduce the rate of evaporation of the moisture in the concrete mix. Avoid adding water to the mixture because it will lower the strength, increase cracking and reduce durability.

Limit the time between placing the concrete and final finishing. Use a fog-type spray nozzle to maintain surface moisture and to prevent evaporating away the "bleed" water out of the concrete mix before it can be troweled smooth. As soon as the concrete is finished, begin a moist cure by keeping the finished surfaces damp for a few days.

On extremely hot or windy days, it may be best to reschedule the pour for a day with more favorable conditions.

Avoid mowing your lawn too close during the summer months. Always keep grass an extra inch above normal during hot weather to avoid "burning" the grass. A nice soaking immediately after you mow will help revive your lawn.

Avoid watering your lawn and plants too late in the evening. Watering at night can encourage diseases that can threaten the appearance of your plants and lawn.

Keep potted plants well watered to prevent wilting. On particularly warm days, a saucer full of water underneath the pot will help plants thrive in scorching heat.

And avoid severe pruning of hedges and shrubs during hot spells. This can cause browning at the top and sides where trimming was done.



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