How to Have Your Best Construction Season Ever

When it comes to knowing when the best time of year is to conduct construction projects, the weather is god. Cold and wet months are nearly impossible to build homes, dig pipes, and pave roads in. What time of the year is best for construction season?

Construction season

The Three Seasons of Construction Work

Work can only be completed if the weather permits it. This is why it’s critical for every construction company to be ready to work as soon as the sun begins to shine. Knowing when to work is best understood when you look at the year as three parts: pre-season, in-season, and post-season. 

Pre-season

This part of the year is from January-March, when construction managers need to take into account everything they will need for the upcoming work season. According to Tim Murchison, owner of California-based Murchison Builders, managers need to “maximize the best interest of the project including cost schedule, quality, safety and the owners goals.” Doing so will ensure that each of your construction project needs will be met, including:

Scheduling

Time spent not building something is time spent not making money. Make sure you have enough projects lined up for the work season so there’s no gap in company revenue. If you have any openings between big jobs, try to fill them with smaller opportunities to make some quick cash.

Budgeting

Budgeting is never an after-the-fact step in a business plan. It happens before a single dollar is spent or earned. How much money does your business need to stay in business? What projects are you going to take on in order to keep your company afloat, and what funding measures will you need to take to ensure you can fulfill next year’s projects?

Looking at your budget can also help you see when financing options need to be considered. Got a project next year that requires a massive equipment purchase? A loan might be the best way to obtain that equipment before other companies are able to buy it at the start of construction season.

Equipment and Material Purchases

Leveling concrete during

Once you know how much you can spend on equipment and construction materials, check to see if the off season is the best time to buy.

The cost of equipment every year seems to only increase. Whether it’s renting a backhoe or buying a new bulldozer, prices tend to go up overall. This is especially true during the start of construction season, when demand for equipment and materials is high. Get ahead of the crowd by ordering early.

Hiring and Training

In 2014, Golden Rule Lawn Care was preparing to open a new branch of the business in Redmond, Washington. Golden Rule’s main focus is in moss removal and grass seeding, which can only be done when the heaviest part of the rainy season in western Washington had ended. Owner David Hancock made sure to be ahead of the weather by hiring employees in February and trained them in March, well before work orders started coming in later in the spring. Hancock also purchased the needed thatching equipment, seed, a truck and cargo trailer, and located a place to store the company equipment every night. By the time the rainy season ended in early April, Golden Rule was ready to work.

Make sure to do as much hiring and employee training in the off season as possible. Hiring ahead of time allows you to survey the best employee candidates, as opposed to taking anyone you can find off the street on your way to a job. Employees who are taken on early and trained in specific skill sets for the job tend to have a high retention rate.

Training is also important to take care of before construction projects begin. Off season training allows for mistakes that can be corrected in an educational setting, but can’t be fixed once on the job. 

In-Season

In most states, the best time of the year to complete construction work is from April through October. The weather tends to be drier and the ground warmer than in the pre-season or post-season. Utilizing the pre-season tips above will extend your summer construction season by weeks, possibly even a month or two, bringing in extra income and boosting your reputation as an effective, dependable contractor. 

construction season
A photo of night construction in Montana.

It’s important to make as much progress as you can while the weather is cooperating with your schedule. Sometimes, night construction is necessary to getting a job done on time. Not only does working at night generally mean less traffic to deal with, but it also is cooler. In Las Vegas, for example, road construction often happens at night. With temperatures dropping into the 80s and 90s, this is a prime time to get things done before the heat of the day returns. Concrete cures better and asphalt dries faster, and fewer cars on the road lead to fewer traffic-related safety incidents. 

Another element of making the most out of construction season is to be timely. Your packed schedule doesn’t allow for sleeping in or long lunches, so make sure to use your time every day as effective as possible. The same goes for your employees. Make sure their needs are met so they don’t have to leave the job site often.

Regardless of what time of day or what day of the year you’re working, the important part is to be prepared to do all the work you can. 

Post-Season

With your main source of income coming to a close after the construction season, it’s time to reduce your operations to deal with the lack of work opportunities. Scaling down lowers your costs of doing business, allowing you to gain more profits from smaller jobs during the winter months.

Winter work is a great way to maintain a flow of income while waiting for the big money-maker jobs to come back in the summer. Construction experts at Procure recommend giving yourself a variety of options, which include:

  • renovating houses
  • building cabinetry
  • installing carpet in retail spaces
  • plowing snow
  • home repair
  • project consulting and planning

There are plenty of opportunities to work even when it seems like all local construction has come to a standstill.

The post-season can also be wisely spent as a review period. How efficient were your operations this past work season? Looking back, do you see any costs or equipment that was unnecessary? What did you do or not do that made you less prepared to complete projects during the summer? Answering these questions will help you and your business be ready to launch into the pre-season of construction work. construction season

One of the most important things you can take care of during the post-season is you. Take a vacation, or at least devote some of your time to making sure you have a healthy mind and body that can deal with the stresses of running a business. Being mentally fit will do wonders for you, your employees and your customers during the main construction season.

Construction Year-round

Working as a contractor gives you the flexibility to run a business like no other. Unfortunately, you’re still subject to weather conditions that can put a literal freeze on your work projects. That’s why Powerblanket is here to help you make the most of your construction season no matter how cold it is. From concrete curing blankets and ground thawing covers to snow melting mats and spray foam heaters, Powerblanket puts you back in control over cold temperatures. Call us at 866.945.4203 or email [email protected] to learn more.

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Concrete Curing Blankets

Cold Weather Concreting

Imagine arriving at the job to find a fresh layer of ice and snow on your pour site. The weather forecast shows continual sub-freezing temperatures, and you are worried about getting the concrete stage done so your crew can keep the project on schedule. Even if you manage to successfully pour your slab, what will the end result be? It will take forever to cure, or not finish curing at all. The result may be a fragile, partially cured piece of concrete, riddled with defects from thermal stress.

It’s no secret that curing concrete in cold weather is a tricky endeavor. Mother nature can catch even the best trained crew off guard during the winter, and cause costly construction delays.

Conventional Concrete Warming Products

To avoid completely shutting down work during the winter, some construction crews turn to conventional concrete warming products and practices.

Insulation

Concrete hydration is an exothermic process and does create some heat. This heat can be trapped (to some degree) with the use of insulating blankets or straw. However, when pouring concrete in cold weather, providing thermal insulation is only half the battle. Insulation alone does not create heat and will not provide enough surface contact to effectively trap heat on really cold days.

Forced Air Heaters

Some crews build temporary enclosures over their pour site and use heaters to force hot air over the slab. This radiant heating method spends more time and energy heating the air around the concrete instead of heating the concrete itself. During the winter, a lot of heat can also be lost through the bottom layer of the slab into the sub-grade. This uneven heat will cause the top layer of concrete to cure much faster than the bottom, leading to shrinkage and a weak cure.

Calcium Chloride

Using accelerators, like calcium chloride, in your concrete mix is a two edged sword. It can certainly reduce winter cure times, but it also contributes to a variety of defects. Calcium chloride can cause corrosion of steel reinforcements in your concrete. It can also increase volume shrinkage, scaling, efflorescence, and discoloration.

Electric Concrete Curing Blankets

When you combine heating power with the protection of insulation, a world of possibilities opens on your job site. Not all blankets are created equal, and Powerblanket’s concrete blankets are a cut above the rest. We specialize in total temperature control that gets you and your crew back to work.

How Powerblanket Products Work

Heat Transfer Through Conduction

Powerblanket saves you time, energy, and money by putting the heat precisely where it is needed. By simply placing down our concrete curing blankets, you are harnessing the power of conduction and heating your concrete directly. Fresh concrete must stay above 50°F for 48 hours in order to hydrate and cure to a strong finish. Direct conductive heat gives you peace of mind and takes the hassle out of curing temperature maintenance.

concrete curing blankets

More Surface Area Contact

During wet, windy, and cold winter conditions, surface contact between your heat source and your concrete is critical. Our concrete curing blankets have 10x more surface contact than other blankets. More surface contact means even and controlled heating so your concrete cures uniformly.

Weather Proof Insulation

concrete curing blankets

Simply put, thermal insulation reduces the transfer of heat between objects. Our heavy duty, weather-proof insulation provides a protective barrier from the elements and reduces heat loss. Our insulation doesn’t just trap the exothermic heat generated by the hydration process. We combine insulation with efficient heating elements to direct heat downward right into your concrete slab instead of losing it to the winter air.

Powerblanket Benefits

 

concrete curing blankets

Faster Cure

Winter conditions notoriously slow down or sometimes stop concrete from curing. Our concrete curing blankets cure 2.8x faster than conventional insulated blankets. Faster cure times allow your crew to move on to the next building stage and help your project finish on schedule.

Maintain Moisture During Hydrating Process

Moisture loss during hydration weakens the cure of your concrete. Our blankets protect your slab from the elements during the hydration process and allow the necessary chemical reactions to finish.

Easy to Install and Remove

Forget bulky heaters, finicky straw, and time consuming enclosures. Simply place our concrete blankets down and let them do the work for you. They are easy to remove and store for future needs so they can continue to save you time and money down the road.

Stronger Cure

Powerblanket ensures your concrete is durable and built to last. By using our concrete curing blankets you can produce a 3,925 psi rating in just 72 hours.

Prevent a Freeze Cycle

Freezing during the early stages of curing can greatly reduce the integrity of the concrete by as much as 40%. Powerblanket heated concrete blankets not only generate and evenly distribute heat but retain that heat over longer periods of time allowing the concrete to avoid damaging freeze-thaw cycles during curing.

Reduce Downtime and Increase Profits

Fewer tasks hold up a construction site like concrete troubles. Save yourself from expensive repairs and re-pours by having the right temperature control products on hand before disaster strikes. Curing your concrete quickly and strongly allows your crew to meet deadlines and move onto the next building stage.

Thaw Ground and Warm Sub-grade

Our concrete blankets can serve multiple purposes on your site. By placing them down before a pour, you can thaw frozen ground and heat your sub-grade. This not only protects your concrete from losing heat into the ground it also reduces thermal cracking that occurs when warm concrete is poured directly onto a frigid surface.

ACI Certified

We are dedicated to providing high quality and reliable concrete solutions and all of our concrete blankets are cold weather certified by the American Concrete Institute.

Powerblanket Guarantee

With total temperature control from Powerblanket, there is no off season. We keep your crew working and your job site productive all winter long. Contact us to find the right concrete solution for your needs at 866.945.4203 or [email protected]

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Curing Cold Concrete: Electric vs. Insulated Blankets

Electric concrete blankets versus insulated blankets. Which one is best and why is it Powerblanket?

Not All Concrete Insulated Blankets Are Created Equal

If you happen to read almost any do-it-yourself guide, you will likely see a sentence that says, “If temperatures are below 40°F, use insulated blankets or straw to keep your freshly-poured concrete from freezing.” Well, that sounds nice and easy, but simply keeping concrete from freezing isn’t enough.

Why Heat Concrete?

The optimum range for proper concrete curing is between 65° – 85° F. When concrete dips below that range, ice crystals can form, cure strength will be compromised, and several temperature based defects can occur. Concrete pouring is a critical stage in any construction project and problems derail progress when it needs to be repaired or re-poured. Solely insulating concrete during curing seems appealing and money-saving, but can lead to costly time delays and expensive re-works.

What is Thermal Insulation?

Simply put, thermal insulation reduces the transfer of heat between objects. There are a myriad of both natural and synthetic materials used to insulate objects in different industries. When thermal insulation is placed on something that is already warm, it will prevent heat from escaping.

The chemical reaction of concrete formation is exothermic and does create some heat. This heat can be trapped (to some degree) with the use of insulating blankets or straw. But if it’s cold enough outside, insulating blankets won’t keep the temperature at an ideal level for maximum curing.

Insulation + Heating

When pouring concrete in cold weather, providing thermal insulation is only half the battle. Most insulated blankets will not provide enough surface contact to effectively insulate your concrete on really cold days. Combining the protective power of insulation plus even heat distribution gives you an advantage over mother nature.

Electric concrete heating blankets provide the protective layer of insulation and an extra boost of heating power to keep your concrete between 65° and 85° F. Concrete blankets have 10x more surface contact than other blankets. They efficiently transfer heat down into your concrete while heavy-duty weather-proof insulation protects it from the elements and heat-loss.

Thaw Before Your Pour

No insulating blanket on its own will thaw frozen ground, and pouring concrete on frozen ground can have serious repercussions.

electric ground thawing blankets

Electric ground thawing blankets are the best way to ensure your concrete pour gets off on the right foot. Using an electric ground thawing blanket prepares the ground before you pour so ambient temperatures above and below your concrete are at ideal levels.

Concrete Curing BlanketsMany factors have an effect on concrete cure time, such as the type of mix used, the size and shape of the slab, and the ambient weather. Of all these factors, weather and temperature is the most unpredictable. The colder the temperature, the longer concrete will take to set and reach its proper strength. During cold weather, a conventional insulated blanket will cause the concrete to take longer to cure and will result in a weaker concrete.

For example, concrete kept at 70°F will set in approximately 6 hours, whereas concrete kept at 40°F will take 14 hours to set. Concrete maintained at 70° F will reach a compression strength of 2,700 psi in 3 days; concrete maintained at 40° F will only reach a strength of 1,200 psi in 3 days.

This disparity in strengths makes a huge difference in whether your construction project can proceed. If concrete takes too long to set, cure, and strengthen, your project can be significantly delayed. Some concrete manufacturers find it too problematic to operate during the winter, creating a costly off season.

Concrete Solutions From Powerblanket

With Powerblanket, there is no off season. The difference between conventional insulating concrete blankets and electric concrete curing blankets is clear, and our electric blankets are a cut above the rest. By combining heavy weatherproof insulation with electric heating components, Powerblanket can cure concrete 2.8 x faster than conventional insulated blankets.

Our ground thawing blankets melt ice and snow and prepare the ground before your concrete is even poured. Our concrete curing blankets then maintain the temperatures you need to more quickly cure your slab to a strong finish. Powerblanket can eliminate costly weather delays, ensure your project proceeds on schedule and that your concrete will be long-lasting and durable. Contact us to find the right concrete solution for your needs 855.440.0208 or [email protected]

Learn More About Concrete Curing Blankets