Tech Update: Working in Cold Weather
To meet the functional requirements of Chapter 2 of our Technical Manual, minimum working temperatures should never fall below 2°C when working with masonry. It is very important that regular temperature readings are taking when working during cold weather periods.
Thermometers should be placed away from direct sunlight, preferably in a shaded area. It’s important to consider wind chill and weather exposure when assessing the temperature. Make necessary allowances for those sites which are deemed to have higher levels of exposure.
Protecting your Materials
When working in cold weather it’s important to remember that you need to be providing covers to protect your materials from frost, snow and ice. This is particularly true of bricks, blocks, sand and cement. Frozen materials should never be used in any circumstances.
Image of covered and thereby protected blockwork
Protecting your Masonry
Any newly built walls or other masonry construction will require protection against frost where temperatures are expected to drop below 2°C. You should be protecting all masonry with polythene or hessian, ideally. If temperatures are expected to fall to an extremely low level, insulation boards may be required and heating may even need to be considered.
Image of protected masonry walls
Finishes including rendering, plastering and screeds
Rendering should only be finished if the temperature outside is at least 2°C and rising. There should be no frost within the construction that is to be rendered and where possible, rendering should not take place where freezing weather conditions are anticipated prior to adequate curing.
It’s important to note that no plastering or screeding should take place unless the building is free from frost. It is acceptable to use internal heating to warm the building however it’s important to make sure that the heaters to not produce excessive vapour within the dwelling. Adequate ventilation should be provided to allow moist air to escape. The structure should be appropriately pre-heated before plastering and continue to be heated as the plaster dries.
For further information on working in cold weather you can download Chapter 2 of our Technical Manual:
The information used in this article is taken from Version 8 of the LABC Warranty Technical Manual and is provided as guidance in meeting our technical standards. If working on an LABC Warranty site please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and check which standards apply.