Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers Career

Concrete finishers, cement masons, and terrazzo workers all work with concrete. The work of concrete finishers and cement masons is to finish and place concrete. These workers may color concrete surface, fabricate concrete beams, expose aggregate in sidewalks and walls, and fabricate panels and columns.

Job Prospect
The work of cement masons is to set the forms for holding the concrete and line them up properly. Then they manage the casting of the concrete and guide other workers who use special tools or shovels to spread it. Cement masons guide a straightedge forth and back across the top of the forms to �screed' and level the freshly placed concrete. After leveling the concrete, cement masons carefully float it.

Cement masons smooth the concrete surface using �bull float' a long-handled tool approximately 8 by 48 inches, which covers the coarser materials in the concrete and brings a rich combination of cement paste to the surface. Once the concrete is floated and leveled, concrete finishers press an edger between the concrete and forms and direct it along the surface and edge. This helps prevent cracking or chipping and produces slightly rounded edges. Subsequently, they smooth the surface using hand or powered trowel.

At times, cement masons have to perform all the steps of lying concrete comprising of finishing. Finally, cement masons trowel the concrete surface forth and back using hand or powered trowels to create a smooth finish. Cement masons brush the surface using stiff-bristled brush to create coarse and nonskid finish. These masons embed small gravel chips into the surface to achieve a pebble finish.

Cement masons use colored premixed concrete to color the buildings. The cement masons also cut away loose concrete and high spots using chisel and hammer, fill any large notches with a Portland cement paste. They also need to smooth surface with a Carborundum stone. Finally, cement masons coat the uncovered area with Portland cement mixture using coarse cloth or special tools to rub the concrete to achieve finish.

The work of segmental pavers is to cut and install pavers, flat pieces of masonry made from compacted brick or concrete. Generally, this masonry is installed in sidewalks, patios, streets, plazas, driveways, crosswalks, parking lots, and streets. Usually, installers start their work on a prepared base that is graded to the appropriate depth. Generally, the work comprises of constructing edges to prevent parallel movement of the paves. Sand is used to fill the joints between the pavers.

The job of terrazzo workers is to create attractive floors, walkways, panels, and patios by revealing marble chips and other fine aggregates on the surface of finished concrete. Much of the beginning work of terrazzo workers is similar to that of cement masons. Marble-chip terrazzo requires three layers of materials. Terrazzo workers or cement masons build a concrete foundation that is approximately three to four inches deep. Once forms are removed off the foundation, terrazzo workers add a one-inch layer of sandy concrete. Cement masons and concrete finishers have to carry out following responsibilities.


Work Environment
The work of segmental paving, concrete, and terrazzo is strenuous and fast-paced. It requires constant physical efforts. Most finishing is completed at the floor level. Workers have to bend and kneel most of the times. Sometimes, work is halted during stormy weather. Workers have to perform the task indoors as well as outdoors. They often need to work in dusty, muddy, or dirty areas. Workers need to wear kneel pads to prevent chemical burns from uncured concrete. Most of the workers work forty hours a week.

Educational Qualification
Concrete finishers, cement masons, terrazzo workers, and segmental pavers learn their trades through on-the-job training. Some of the employers offer apprenticeship programs to new candidates. Some finishers and masons first attain the experience as construction laborers. In apprenticeship programs, expert workers teach helpers how to use equipments, tools, materials, and machines.

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