Housebuilding in the cold

After a record-breaking warm December, temperatures plummeted in early January. For the last week, highs at the nearest weather station have ranged from 0 to 4°F, with lows of -8 to -11°F. Up at the house project, the windowsills and newly-installed roof decking sprouted forests of frost crystals. The framing crew stopped working a day or two after the New Year, and hasn’t been back since.

Housebuilding in the cold Housebuilding in the cold

Wood isn’t harmed much by the cold–after all, trees make it through the winter just fine. And the framing crew knows how to bundle up and stay warm. But many tools stop working well below around 5°F. Batteries die, motors struggle to start, and the lines for the pneumatic framing guns begin filling with ice. If push came to shove there would be ways to keep things moving. But it would be a poor use of the framers’ time (and, by extension, my resources). My crew told me they stop working at around 5°F and wait for things to warm up.

Housebuilding in the cold
Housebuilding in the cold Housebuilding in the cold

Temperatures are forecast to stay low until next weekend. The delay doesn’t bother me much, but the I know the framers are antsy to get back to work. The crew works fast and hard, and for them this cold snap is a long involuntary vacation.

Housebuilding in the cold Housebuilding in the cold

Photos taken January 10, 2020. Posted January 11, 2020.

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