On the house: Summer safety in renovations

As summer temperatures begin to sizzle, home improvement tasks become particularly challenging. Take these precautions when working in hot weather to protect your health and get better results.

Keep your cool

Working in a hot environment puts stress on the body's cooling system. When heat is combined with other stresses - like hard physical work, loss of fluids, or fatigue - it may lead to heat-related illness or even death.

Water is crucial to helping the body adjust to high temperatures. And don't push yourself beyond your limits.

Paint a masterpiece

Your painting project can turn into a disaster if air temperatures are too hot or humid. Most exterior paint is formulated to perform best when applied at temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees F.

Any hotter, and the proper formation of the paint film can be seriously affected. Pinholing (tiny surface craters) can occur during application, and direct sun on fresh paint can cause the film to blister.

Cement the deal

Concrete is also affected by temperature - too hot and it dries with cracks; too cold and it takes forever to set. Most small concrete projects should be poured when temperatures are between 60 and 90 degrees F. As a result, the concrete will begin to set up in a reasonable time but not before you have a chance to touch it up.

Wet down all forms and substrate just before you pour in the concrete. This will reduce the rate of evaporation of the moisture in the concrete mix.

Keep gardens green

Avoid mowing your lawn too close during the summer months. Always keep grass an extra inch above normal during hot weather to avoid 'burning' the grass. A nice soaking immediately after you mow will help revive your lawn.

Avoid watering your lawn and plants too late in the evening.