Stories From the Field

Post: The Impact of Our Erratic Spring Weather

Friday May 10, 2019

News story headlined: 'Chicago narrowly misses breaking 112-year-old record for late-season snow'

Weather plays an outsized role in everything we do here at AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing.

Hot weather requires us to pre-wet building materials, increase the water content of our mortar mixes, and remain aware of our own physical condition. Colder weather requires stiffer mortar mixes and vigilant protection of the work area to ensure our mortar remains frost-free. Inclement weather requires us to protect the job site with additional tarps.

Customers often ask on what day we start our masonry season in the spring, and there really is no one consistent date. We start the season when the nighttime temperatures are above 28°F with consistency. We focus our attention on the nighttime temperatures more than the daytime temperatures because the coldest temperatures typically come at night and, in the spring especially, we must stay vigilant to ensure we keep our mortar above 28°F or risk the formation of ice crystals (a sure-fire way to reduce the longevity of the mortar).

Some years, the work season begins in mid-March; in other years the season doesn’t really get underway until mid-April or later. In some years, our work season continues right up to the week of Christmas; in other years the cold weather descends upon the area in late November and never warms up sufficiently until the following year. It all depends on what Mother Nature throws our way. This year we had near record-breaking snow accumulations in the final days of April, and May is shaping up to be the wettest on record. (I snapped this photo in front of our office on Saturday, April 27 only a short time after the flakes started to fall. Look at that accumulation!) With inclement weather come work delays. Yes, this makes sense logically but it is still frustrating to explain to patient customers in July that the delay getting to their project is in whole or in part due to the rotten weather experienced back in April and May.

Because we will not work when nighttime temperatures are too cold (and we won’t add anti-freeze, accelerants and other mortar conditioners to work in these inappropriate conditions since they reduce the life expectancy of the mortar), we can usually work for about 9 months of the year. That’s not a lot of time to help homeowners, condominium associations, property managers, commercial building owners, and schools and churches address their masonry issues! So if you have a project you’re thinking of tackling, the best time to call for a free estimate is in the spring and summer months when the backlog is low and there is plenty of availability on our schedule board. Although we meet with clients and draft proposals throughout the year, waiting until October or November to meet with one of our licensed project managers almost always means the work will need to be scheduled for the following year.

Next time you notice cracks, leaks, deflection or other issues with your masonry, please do not hesitate to contact AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing for a free estimate.

Stay dry!


Spring snowfall at the AAA-1 office

Spring snowfall at the AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing office

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