Dress for Winter Post Frame Building Success
My most recent winter-time post frame building experience was a few years ago when my lovely bride and I assisted her brother Mark with construction of his 36’ x 48’ shop. Temperatures hovered around zero as we shivered our way towards getting a roof installed.
Given frigid temperatures recently affecting most of our country, now seems a particularly good time to discuss how post frame builders and do-it-yourselfers can best deal with jobsite cold temperatures.
First, have correct clothing and gear, and though it may seem clichéd, dressing in layers helps.
Right clothes can save you a lot of trouble and investing in expensive yet effective gear isn’t a waste of money. If I were to build in 0-degree weather (like today) I would be wearing five or six upper body layers. Take advantage of microfiber moisture wicking apparel (think Under Armour®).
Essential pieces to invest in are good gloves and boots. Gloves are particularly important because post frame builders need warmth but also enough dexterity to be able to pick up a nail or screw. Gloves offering a right balance can be difficult to find. I am still searching for a perfect pair of gloves. Closest I have found to keeping my hands warm would be layers, with a thin pair of gloves inside a heavier pair. When it comes to footwear you get what you pay for in work boots. Boots offering 400 milligrams of insulation are highly effective. Although I have not tried it, apparently some have experienced success with cutting pieces of radiant reflective barrier to use as insoles!
Overalls are particularly effective for trapping in heat. Often overlooked, is importance of keeping one’s neck warm. There are a myriad of options, although personally I wear a thick scarf.
While clothes are important, they of course won’t entirely eliminate cold as a jobsite factor. After right clothes, mental fortitude comes in second most as an important element of successfully post framing in the cold. Remember to keep moving around. You are less likely to become frostbit if you keep fingers and toes moving. Stay hydrated. A thermos of hot coffee or chicken noodle soup helps to keep the body core temperature set at “warm”.
It’s really easy to be defeated. And it’s really easy to be sitting in your warm truck in mornings, not wanting to turn it off. Most veteran post frame builders, when they’re going out to work near zero degrees, don’t talk about it. They don’t complain about it, they just go out and do it because they have this mental wherewithal it’s just another day.