Guilty as charged

I was electrocuted many times today. When polishing concrete countertops with electric polishers, this stuff happens. What made the frequency with which I was electrocuted greater was the fact that I had to strip sealer off of the countertops that I was working on more than once.

You see, concrete, much like the honey badger, doesn’t give a fuck. Concrete has needs. If those needs are met, concrete will behave in a manner that is somewhat predictable. One of those needs is for a certain amount of time to have passed and moisture to have left the slab before applying sealer. Especially polyurethane sealer. The type of sealer we were applying today was a two part, water-based polyurethane sealer that has given me problems in the past (most likely because I ignored the needs of the concrete when applying). This particular sealer is a moisture cure technology, which like the name implies, reacts with water in all of its forms. You may be able to see where this is going by now.

With the holidays rapidly approaching, many projects have entered the “hurry the fuck up” stage. Timelines have gotten bumped up and expectations are that people will be able to enjoy cooking holiday meals for family in their newly remodeled kitchen. The only problem is that concrete is like the honey badger. It doesn’t care about your holiday meals, it cares about its moisture content. And guess what? In colder weather, concrete’s moisture content takes a LOT longer to get to where it has the warm fuzzies for sealer than in typical humid Florida weather. Especially polyurethane sealer. The excess moisture in the slab sets off the moisture cure urethane in some areas more faster than others and the result is a blotchy, shitty mess. Respect the moisture content of the slab, and you’ll most likely be fine. Violate the the moisture content, and you’re in for a shocking surprise (see what I did there?).

Many times I have been asked about expediting a project. Many times I am inclined to say yes to those requests in spite of what I know, to make a customer happy. But the truth is, I know better and simply have a difficult time explaining what I know will happen in fear that I will be seen as someone who is insensitive to the needs of the person who trusted me to make their countertops. There is a process that needs to be followed and leads times can be affected due to things that may seem trivial, such as a 30 degree drop in temperature. It isn’t that we don’t like the colder weather and would prefer to stay in bed, but rather that the honey badger of a material we work with operates in such a way that ignoring its needs will cause even greater delays.

Be well.

Comments (1)

Good word. People need to be better project managers. Show me a Gantt chart at the beginning of the project. A few weeks later, when the cabinet-maker’s bar grows and shifts to the right, my bar does not simply shrink and definitely does not move to the left. Also, people need to understand risk as consequence vs. likelihood. Christmas dinner with no countertops is a major consequence. Asking the countertop maker to shorten his schedule means that the likelihood of missing the date is higher. That is a big risk! Might want to ask sister if we can use her place for dinner! In the world of project management, shortening lead time almost always means a paid change order.

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