Portland’s heat wave posing challenges for outdoor workers - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland’s heat wave posing challenges for outdoor workers

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Roofing crews at work in SE Portland Wednesday. (KPTV) Roofing crews at work in SE Portland Wednesday. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

When you spend your workday in the great outdoors, it’s not actually so great during triple-digit temperatures.

That’s especially the case for roofers.

Tara Kramer, the owner of Ri-Ky Commercial Roofing, told Fox 12 whatever the temperature is on the ground, it can be 10-20 degrees hotter up on a roof, depending on materials and machinery involved in any given job.

“So when you’re down here, think of us up there,” she laughed.

Wednesday afternoon, her crews were working on replacing roofing at an apartment complex in the Sellwood neighborhood of Southeast Portland.

Luckily, they were working on a white surface, which helps keep them – and the tenants – cool.

“We have people come up to us at this apartment complex – I had four just this morning – saying thank you, thank you. It is cooler in my apartment, I can feel the difference,” she said. “So it really does make a difference on these 100 degree days.”

Dealing with the blazing heat, they try and make sure the scope of their work matches the weather, Kramer said.

“For example, we have hot tar projects going on that we will stop at noon, we won’t go beyond,” she explained.

But when working in the heat of the afternoon is necessary for a given job, she said crews are especially careful about what they eat and drink: not too much sodium, no energy drinks, and of course, plenty of water.

The heat also serves as a warning for homeowners.

Kramer said shingle roofing can be damaged in the heat, because the oil in the asphalt material dries out in the extreme weather and can crack, leading to leaks during the rainy, fall season.

After the very hot summer of 2015, Kramer said they saw extensive damage at homes in the area.

“The same thing is going to happen again,” she said. “So those things that start to open up or are kind of on the brink of being replaced will need to be looked at for maintenance.”

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