The majority of concrete finisher jobs are consistent from job to job, but masons and terrazzo workers have slightly different responsibilities. Concrete finishers are in charge of erecting forms in the area where the concrete will be poured, directing the dumping of wet cement, and overseeing the spreading process at various stages. A mason’s job as a concrete finisher entails “floating” the cement with a long-handled tool, giving the top surface a smooth, wet consistency. He or she might also add texture to the surface. For a decorative look, a terrazzo worker places marble chips in the wet cement.
A concrete slab’s final appearance can vary depending on the customer’s preferences. To create different colored areas in the project, concrete finishers may use pigments. On some concrete finisher jobs, the mason may mix in small stones or pebbles to create a specific design. Redwood slats can be used to create geometric patterns in the cement to demarcate individual sections during the finishing process.
Grooves are cut into the top layer of wet cement on most concrete finishing jobs to prevent cracking as the concrete cures. On large slabs, where the cement dries at different rates, this is especially important. A non-slip surface, such as in a pool area, can be achieved brushing the final finish. When the slab will be covered with tile, carpet, or other flooring material, a smooth finish is usually preferred.
Concrete finishers must be aware of the weather and temperature in order to determine how quickly the concrete will cure. On hot days, concrete sets faster, so finishing should be done quickly to avoid cracks and fissures. A large job may need to be postponed if the weather forecast calls for rain or snow, in order to avoid the project being ruined.
Working as a concrete finisher is messy, and it necessitates a lot of bending and kneeling. When smoothing the finish of wet cement, these workers usually wear knee pads. To keep the lime in cement from irritating their skin, they often wear other protective gear. Because concrete finishing jobs are done outside, workers may be exposed to extremes of temperature. They are also at risk of losing their jobs when the weather is bad.
Some concrete finishers start working right after high school and learn from more experienced workers. They can work their way up to supervising a crew once they have mastered the fundamentals of concrete finisher jobs. Concrete jobs typically do not require a college education, but employers are looking for people who can physically handle the work and are dependable.