Why is it Safe to Build a Home in the Winter?

By Dean Satink, Production Manager

Cedarglen Homes 210 Cranston Gate

Home building in Canada is not a seasonal industry. In order to adapt to our ever changing climate, we need to take precautions and have processes in place to ensure that building a home in the cold winter months is just as safe and successful as a summer build. Throughout the year, the practice of residential construction changes to match the seasonal conditions. The late fall and winter months is when significant changes are made to the processes at Cedarglen Homes. These process changes include forecasting the weather conditions, using insulated tarps, temporary heating, extra lighting and snow removal. These processes are implemented during the foundation, framing, and final stages of construction to help manage the weather conditions and shorter work hours due to the reduction in daylight hours.

Pouring of the foundation walls is typically the first stage impacted by the cold weather. In order to ensure that our foundations are poured properly, we invest time monitoring the daily weather conditions and the future forecast to confirm the best time to pour concrete. Cedarglen Homes follows the general rule to pour a foundation if the overnight low is not to dip below -10 degrees Celsius and there is no chance of a severe wind chill. Anything outside of these conditions is treated on a case by case basis. The second part of pouring the foundation walls is to ensure the foundation is covered with insulated tarps. This process is imperative to keep the heat or warmth in the concrete mix to help speed up the curing process in order for the concrete to reach its design strength. The third part of pouring the foundation walls is to adjust the concrete mix by adding additives or by increasing the concrete strength from a 20 MPa (common unit for compressive strength) to a 30 or 32 MPa.

The next stage of the home build is from the start of framing to the completion of insulation. During the colder months, once the main floor framing is completed, Cedarglen Homes sets up a temporary heater in the basement. This allows the ground to thaw for the installation of the groundworks and to prepare for the pouring of the basement floor. This temporary heater will remain on throughout the framing and rough-in stages of the home, right up to the completion of insulation when the heating system in the home can be started. Having this heat turned on at an early stage helps to protect the home from the weather and ground conditions, which it will endure during this part of the construction process.

Now the home has reached the stage where the exterior is sealed from the elements, the insulation and drywall is in progress and the heat is working… so it should be smooth sailing from here! Except that the contractors finishing the inside of the home are faced with reduced working hours. So to help manage this, Cedarglen Home’s adds temporary lighting inside the home to accommodate the reduced daylight hours. With the addition of this lighting, it allows our trade partners to continue working their usual hours.

When it comes to building a home during the winter, it’s vital that the individual managing the construction is attentive to the weather conditions. Taking these precautions and implementing these processes could lead to a longer construction process. At Cedarglen Homes, we believe that with these processes in place, our purchasers are confident that we are taking the right steps to protect their investment.

Have a great weekend,

Cedarglen Homes

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