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The More You Know

Tips to Beat the Heat & Keep the Team Safe!

Now that summer is fully upon us, so is the scorching heat. Keeping your crew safe is still of the utmost importance. Here are a few tips to help keep you and your team safe.

1) Hydration is key. Have plenty of ice, water and Gatorade on the jobsite.

2) Avoid energy drinks and cigarettes as both make it more difficult for your body to move oxygen throughout your system.

3) Keep junk food and anything fried off the menu. In high heat, these add stress to the body. Make sure everyone’s had a hearty breakfast and keep lunch on the light side. Eating a smaller lunch should also keep your team from hitting the afternoon slump.

4) Whenever possible, work in the cooler part of the day. Ideally, you would want to finish the sun-intensive jobs before 10AM or after 4PM. If you must work in the heat, be sure to have pop-ups or shaded areas for employees. If you can avoid spending hours unprotected in direct sunlight, you’ll be set!

5) Switch up your uniforms. Keep the colors light and the sleeves short and thin. Wearing less material and lighter colors allows the breeze to cool you down and reflect the sun rather than soaking it in. Hats are great too. They keep the sun off your face and neck.


6) Make sure your eyes are covered. You’ll want to keep sand, wind, water, porous materials and of course sunlight out of your eyes while you work. We’ve got glasses in stock that can double as sunglasses and safety glasses.

7) Most important of all, keep an eye on your team. If someone starts stumbling, dropping tools, slurring words, or something out of the norm, it might be time for a break. Lie them down under a tree or in the backseat of a truck, take off their boots, and cool them down.

Knowing the signs of heat stroke and knowing your team’s everyday routines will only help to make each job safer. Do your part to make sure everyone comes prepared and leaves with the job complete.

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How To Refinish Your Wood Deck

We’re back with another deck-related how-to. This one is courtesy of our friends at Duckback.

Do you have a natural wood deck that you absolutely love, but it’s starting to look weathered? While you certainly can replace the deck with a composite or PVC material, you can also take a little time and make your old deck look new again.

Watch the video below to see what a little elbow grease can do for you and your deck. It’s a simple as mix, pour, brush, wash, dry, and repeat. With these tips, you’ll have a “new” deck in no time!

Share your before and after photos with us, using the #MeeksWestern and #TransformationTuesday. We’ll share some of our favorites on our Instagram.

Design Your Deck Online In Minutes

With the way this season has been going, any day now the rain and snow days will be behind us and we’ll be into summer in no time. Is your yard ready for the BBQs, entertaining, and lounging to come? If not, fear not!

Our in-store experts can help to figure out what decking material will work best for both your lifestyle and your budget.

Our friends at Simpson have a tool to help make your next DIY project a whole lot easier. Design and layout your deck in just a few minutes with the free, web-based Simpson Strong-Tie® Deck Planner Software™. Watch either of the videos below to learn how quickly you can start enjoying your outdoor living space today! Visit strongtie.com/deckplanner to learn more!

How to Paint Like a Pro

Our friends over at DAP put together this video to show you how you can paint a room like a pro at any skill level. Check it out and stop in one of our stores today where one our experts can help you find the right product for your project! We’ll see you soon!

Green Construction – Where does the contractor fit in?

We’ve written previously about the push for “green” or sustainable building and the rising trends. Many of you have asked, where does the contractor fit in?

While there is truth that the architect and the owner usually make the choice on how green a building is going to be and what (if any) LEED certification they’re going for, contractors play an important role too.

There are a few stops along the way that you have a major influence on. First, you know the product and how it works into the structure of a home. If you’re used to working with one brand and they develop a product that has less environmental impact, you’ll be able to suggest an alternative during the bidding stage of the project.

From there, you are likely going to be the person picking out and picking up the materials. You can talk with the store to see what options are available for your specific set of plans. When it comes to LEED certifications, every detail is essential. If a subcontractor picks up some material and the General Contractor cannot trace back where the product came from, the certification can be denied. In this case, you would have to resubmit the entire material’s package documenting that the proper products are being used.

Once on the job, there are many tools at your disposal for keeping your project green. For starters, you can swap out any old bulbs for LED systems. While yes, you may be slightly paying more for the initial bulb to start, they will last for years longer and lessen the project’s environmental effects.

If you’re building a new home with solar, you can install that first and run that power on the job. This works as a test of the system and saves on-the-job costs.

Whether you’re building a house from the ground-up or repairing a HVAC system, there are simple steps and adjustments you can make to please not only the environment, but the customer and the budget as well.

As we hear of new techniques to try, we’ll be sharing them here for anyone to test out! If you have some ideas, leave them in the comments below and let’s start a conversation!

Building Green Translates to More Green $$$?

Home sale prices are showing a trend when LEED standards are involved. With sustainability on the rise across the country, green-construction is leading to increased resale values.

According to the USGBC’s 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study, green-construction as a whole is projected to go from $55 billion spent in 2015, to just under double that in 2018 at $100.4 billion.

As consumers are looking to lessen their carbon footprint, LEED custom-built homes are a foot above the rest. Looking at the market, younger buyers are looking for first-time sustainable homes. Obviously, the municipalities are shifting towards renewable energy sources as well to cover the rising demands.

With solar companies moving in, the build of a home will be changing to accommodate the energy influxes. Studies are finding that homes with pre-existing solar are selling 20% faster and for around 17% higher margins than homes without.

As cities throughout California and Nevada strive to reach net-zero energy in the coming years, sustainable building will become the new norm.

As we hear about new green building trends, we’ll share them here to keep you in the loop!

Get Your Home Ready For The Chill

ME 2016 Snow Pics (2)

As the year is winding down, there are a few seasonal home maintenance to-do’s to think of.

First, take some time to clean your garbage disposal, sink aerators, air filters, and washer water filter before your holiday guests arrive.

Next, fix your squeaky door hinges before the winter swell sets in. You’ll also want to check your window seals to keep the heat in. Take a look at your shower and bathtub caulking. If water can get in, mold can grow in those gaps.

If you have a fireplace, have it cleaned before winter sets in. Also, do a quick roof inspection for leaks too.

Lastly, check your smoke & carbon monoxide detectors and refill your first aid kits. If your home is prepared for winter, you will be too!

Understanding Insulation and R-Value

Insulation is typically something you only think about when you’re either putting it into a home or tearing it out. Did you know that you can add to the R-value of your insulation,
without starting over?

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R-value is the resistance of heat transfer through the insulation, so the higher the R-value, the less heat is lost. The more heat you can keep in during the winter, and the more heat you can keep out in the summer, the lower your utility bills should be.

When you’re looking to add insulation, the best place to start is your attic. This is where you get the most bang for your buck. If you were to upgrade your insulation from three inches to twelve inches, you could save 20% in the winter and 10% in the summer months on your heating and air bills.

To measure your existing R-value, all you’ll need is a tape measure, a pen and something to write on. Place the tape measure down and touch the ceiling board to get the height. For fiberglass and cellulose insulation, once you have that number in inches, multiply it by 3.5 to get your R-value.

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Depending on where you live, your recommended R-value  will differ. If it’s a colder climate, you’ll want to have a higher R-value for your home. To find out what your R-value should be, visit http://hes.lbl.gov/consumer/.

For more information on R-value and other technical information, visit the U.S.
Department of Energy’s website at https://energy.gov/energysaver/insulation.

At Meek’s, we both sell and install Johns Manville Batt, Blow-In, and Blow-In Blanket insulation. Whether you’re looking to do it yourself or have it done for you, we’re here to help! Just ask your local store for more info.

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What Do You Need To Know About OSHA’s New Silica Rule?

Starting next Saturday, September 23, the new OSHA silica rules will be in full effect. Any contractor who does anything involving respirable crystalline silica, now is the time to comply.

If you (or any of your subcontractors) cut, grind, or blast concrete, stone, or brick, these new rules are just for you.

The initial silica standards were put in place in 1971 after forty years of questions and complaints. Now, these stricter standards are in place to lessen the amount of dust that workers inhale. It’s important to note, this not only applies to you the contractor, but to anyone working with or around these materials.

Many people are asking, “What’s the big deal?” and we’re here to answer that question. It’s imperative that we all make a change now. The particles are 100 times smaller than a grain of sand. If someone were to inhale the dust, the repercussions could be lethal. From lung disease to lung cancer, kidney disease, or pulmonary disease, the negative possibilities clearly outweigh the extra paperwork.

The new limits have been reduced from 250 micrograms per cubic meter to 50 micrograms over the course of an eight hour day of work. The fines are steep too. The maximum fine for non-compliance is $12,675 for a violation, $12,675 per day for any failure-to-abate violations, and $126,749 for repeated violations.

On the employer side, there are initiatives in place to make everything safer for all parties.

In addition to the decreased exposure limits, there are also six things all contractors and General Contractors need to take care of.

First, firms must have a written exposure plan for any silica related instances. This plan could and should include wearing respirators, wetting work down.

Second, someone must be in charge of that plan.

Third, someone must be tasked with keeping up housekeeping items so silica dust is kept to a minimum. In this case, using tools like a wet saw or using a vacuum device to reduce the volume of dust would be fantastic.

Fourth, if an employee is exposed to silica and/or has to wear a respirator for 30+ days, employers have to provide medical exams. The exams include chest x-rays and lung-tests.

Fifth, all workers must be trained on how to limit exposure to silica.

Lastly, there must be a set of records on the overall exposure to silica and/or any related medical treatments.

So, whether you’re a one-person operation, or a fifty-person team, these standards are going to affect everyone. Keep an eye on any of the subcontractors you work with to make sure everyone is protected.

If you’re looking for more information, check out OSHA.gov or download this book to learn more on staying in compliance. This free document explains what an OSHA office will be looking for and why they might issue a citation.

If we hear anything else on these new standards, we’ll be sure to share it with you on our Facebook page (Facebook.com/MeeksWestern) or here on our blog at MeeksBlog.com.

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