A Career in Concrete Masonry
Pro Angle Masonry Charleston applies finishing treatments to concrete structures like floors, sidewalks, and driveways. They also have to monitor the curing process and ensure it follows specifications. It requires attention to detail and physical stamina. Concrete masons can be found working in small companies and union shops. They typically perform three main tasks: building forms, pouring concrete, and applying finishing treatments.
Training for a career in cement masonry involves a combination of planned work experience and classroom instruction. It covers various topics, including tools and materials of the trade, layout work and finishing techniques, grinding and paving, and job safety. Applicants must be at least 18 to enter an apprenticeship program.
Apprenticeship programs last three to four years and provide on-the-job and classroom instruction. During their apprenticeship, concrete masons earn a wage while they learn their trade and attend classes, usually at night. Masonry apprenticeships also offer benefits, such as health insurance and vacation time. Those who complete an internship can earn journeyman wages and become fully qualified in their trade.
Cement masons are needed everywhere, from building foundations to constructing miles of roadways. They help pour, level, and finish concrete. They may also be responsible for setting up reinforcement materials like lath and rebar, and they might make concrete columns, beams, or panels. Cement masons also monitor concrete curing and may be responsible for coloring and exposing aggregate in sidewalks, patios, and driveways.
A willingness to work and a desire to be useful are important traits for someone who wants to be a cement mason. That is because masons often work on construction sites and must be able to meet strict deadlines. They also must have a high standard of artistry, and attention to detail is key.
Another requirement for a mason is good hand-eye coordination. It is because masons must be able to operate power tools with precision and speed. It is also necessary for them to be able to read blueprints and understand the dimensions of the project.
A high school diploma is recommended for anyone who wants to become a concrete mason. Students should take mathematics and shop classes, such as mechanical drawing or blueprint reading. In addition, they should enroll in a construction technology or vocational-technical program to prepare themselves for the responsibilities of a career in the trade. A college degree is not required, but it can be helpful.
Cement masons are responsible for various tasks, including placing, shaping, and finishing concrete structures. They also perform maintenance and repair on existing concrete systems, including repairing cracks and surface damage. They may use various hand and power tools to accomplish their job duties and must adhere to construction guidelines for safety and quality control. Some masons specialize in a particular building material, such as bricks or concrete blocks, while others focus on a specific type of construction project, such as commercial or industrial.
Masonry has a long history in the United States, and many skilled craftspeople have made their living by building, restoring, or repairing masonry structures. Although the profession has suffered some decline due to competition from steel high-rises, it remains an essential trade. If you have the right skills and dedication, a career as a cement mason can be highly rewarding.
A cement finisher specializes in smoothing and leveling surfaces covered with freshly poured cement while adhering to construction guidelines and project specifications. This career requires a great deal of coordination with managers and fellow construction workers and the ability to use various hand and power tools. In addition to smoothing and leveling, a cement finisher may need to apply bolts, steel, hardening solutions, and other materials as required.
Other responsibilities of a cement mason include setting forms and pouring concrete, cutting holes for plumbing, electrical, and other structural components, completing structural calculations, and ensuring that the finished product meets specifications. They must also have excellent observation and monitoring skills to assess how changing weather conditions can affect the curing process of the concrete.
Some masons specialize in structures or construction projects like bridges, pavements, or roads. These masons are knowledgeable about the specific requirements for these types of projects, and they work closely with other construction professionals to ensure that all aspects of the project are completed properly.
Other specialized masons focus on adding artistic and decorative elements to concrete structures. These masons are skilled in using techniques like stamping, stenciling, and staining to achieve desired aesthetic effects. Sometimes, these masons must work with designers to meet aesthetic or design criteria.
A professional concrete mason is a construction worker who uses specialized techniques to pour, smooth, and finish concrete. Many masons work for large construction companies or government organizations, though experienced workers can also run their contracting businesses. These professionals are also responsible for ensuring that the concrete structures they build are safe and secure. They use their specialized skills to set foundations and lay floors for commercial and residential buildings, construct walls and other concrete supports, and repair existing concrete structures.
Masons begin their work by carefully preparing the area in which they will pour concrete. It includes clearing away any debris that may be a hazard and ensuring the work site is properly draining. In addition, masons will set and level forms that serve as molds for the concrete. Once the concrete is poured, masons will use hand tools to smooth the surface and obtain the desired finish. They will also remove the formwork and clean up the work area.
Most concrete masons learn their trade through on-the-job apprenticeships, although some choose to enroll in masonry courses at a technical school. These programs are sponsored by local unions and contractor associations, often lasting two to three years. After completing an apprenticeship, a new mason will usually assist more experienced masons for several months or years before being allowed to work independently.
The work environment for concrete masons is often very intense and physically demanding. They must spend much time on their feet, bending, kneeling, and working with hand tools. They must also be able to lift heavy materials and operate power equipment. In some cases, masons must work in difficult environments or remote locations.
Some concrete masons direct other construction workers and conduct quality control inspections. They will often instruct workers on proper safety protocols, and they may be responsible for ensuring that the concrete meets the required specifications and standards. They will also perform maintenance and repair existing concrete structures, including patching damaged areas and resurfacing worn surfaces.
A cement mason’s salary varies according to their level of experience. A newcomer to the profession may earn a salary of $33,760 annually, while mid-career masons can expect to make $53,710 annually. Masons with more than 20 years of experience can earn $85,230 annually.
The salary offered to cement masons and concrete finishers varies by location. A thriving construction industry typically results in higher wages for these professionals. Business owners can increase their earnings by implementing effective strategies, such as efficient project management and establishing a strong reputation in the industry.
Masons can earn a decent income by working full-time, and overtime opportunities are available on many projects. Some masons are self-employed and set their rates, which can lead to an even more respectable annual income. These individuals are often eligible for bonus and profit-sharing programs.
Most cement masons learn the trade informally on the job, although a few enter a formal apprenticeship program. A high school diploma is not necessary for this type of program, but candidates are recommended to take a few drafting and blueprint reading classes.
During their apprenticeship, cement masons receive on-the-job training and classroom instruction in the skills and techniques of the trade. They will study masonry materials and tools, learn finishing techniques, and become familiar with the layout and safety procedures of the job site. Those who complete the program are certified as journey-level construction trades workers, and they will be eligible for healthcare benefits after 350 hours of work are completed in a quarter.
Cement masons and concrete finishers pour, smooth, and finish buildings, fixtures, curbs, and sidewalks. They also prepare the mortar, a mixture of cement, sand, and water, to bind bricks and stones in foundations. This work is labor intensive and requires a lot of stamina. Masons must be comfortable standing and kneeling for long periods and be able to read and follow detailed blueprints.