Commercial building and data center construction in Colorado is a bit more of an ordeal than it is in other parts of the country. In addition to other considerations, you need to make sure your building is protected against the mountain weather—particularly in the winter. Wind, snow, cold, and other factors can cause serious damage to a building if you’re not careful. So what precautions can you take to winterize a mountain building as it’s being constructed? Here are a few tips.
The first thing you need to decide on is what to build the building out of. Building materials should be selected for quality and durability as well as craftsmanship. Your best options are…
- Waterproof Concrete. Concrete is strong and dense, to stand up to stress. Naturally, however, it’s also porous and can allow moisture from the snow into the structure. It, therefore, must be specially treated to be made waterproof. There must be a low water/cement ratio, to increase durability. And once the building is erected, it must be treated with a liquid applied membrane that can mold to the structure and seal out moisture of any kind.
- Steel is also strong and durable but is subject to corrosion. Therefore, it must be treated with multiple protective coatings of paint or epoxy to keep it intact and help it withstand the elements
- Lighter than steel, it’s still extremely durable, even at very low, winter temperatures, due to its thermal conductivity. It also generates its own protective oxide coating, which resists corrosion without the need for coating/painting.
Other Winterization Procedures
Building materials are only half the battle. There are a number of other precautions to take, to make sure that the building is protected from the mountain winter, both inside and out.
- When windows and doors are installed, they must be made airtight, to keep cold air and moisture from entering the building. Any crack or separation can let air in and drive heating bills through the roof. In addition, windows should be thick, high-performance windows that keep the heat in. Double-paned windows are a good option as well.
- Insulating a metal building isn’t the same as insulating, say, a home. But the good news is, you can use many of the same types of insulation, from loose fill to batt to spray foam. Fiberglass is the most popular choice for steel buildings. However, the installation is a little different, as is the general purpose. Insulation in a commercial building is meant not only to keep cold air out but also to protect against moisture and mold, which can seriously damage the structure.
- Pipe Protection. Pipes must be properly insulated as well, to keep them from freezing in lower temperatures, causing the pipes to break and subsequent water damage in and around the building. Pipes should also be caulked at the point where they enter the building, to make sure they’re well-sealed.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Following a few simple winterization procedures during commercial and data center construction in Colorado can save a lot of hassle and a lot of money later on, once the building is in use. If the building is properly protected against the elements at the start, then that protection will last for years to come.