The Cement Masons work primarily on industrial, commercial and highway projects. Concrete and its related products are used as an effective durable product to safely support your offices, schools, homes, restaurants, churches as well as any of the structures that you may inhabit on a daily basis. The Cement Masons utilize the strength and versatility of concrete for the foundation of your roadways, power plants, airport runways and dams. They also perform work on driveways, sidewalks, walls and ceilings, curbs, gutters and slabs on grade. Additionally, the Cement Masons do specialty work such as self-leveling gypsum and epoxy floors.
In order for concrete to have a successful long-lasting result, the Cement Masons must be proficient in the placement and finishing of the product. First they must establish grade using a laser or transit, they spread the freshly poured aggregate concrete to a specific depth, they level and smooth the concrete using a straight edge or power screed. As the mixture becomes firmer, they use assorted hand trowels and floats and also various types of trowel machines to finish the project. Other options that may be used to give concrete an architectural appearance are colored powders, stamps, stencils, stone or glass chips, brooms or an abrasive stone to impart texture and interest which results in a pleasing finish for the customer.
Other tasks that the Cement Masons are required to be competent in includes; how to build and wreck forms, set screeds, place expansion joints, cut and repair holes, dry pack and grout in foundries, and grind or resurface concrete. The Cement Masons must be able to establish grade and elevations from blueprints, examine cross sections for consistency and stability, and identify what type of concrete mix and additives that are most suitable for each project.
As in many choices in the construction arena, finishing concrete can be both challenging, and rewarding. A Cement Mason must be able to tolerate exposure to all types of conditions and be physically able to tolerate repetitive motions for this occupation. It can be a profession that may dictate your ability to work by weather conditions and adverse temperature changes. It is also a satisfying and worthwhile career that offers you a respectful living wage, health insurance for you and your family and a pension plan for a comfortable and respectable retirement.
The great news is that the employment rate for the Cement Masons occupation is expected to continue to rise. *Employment of Cement Mason workers is projected to grow 29 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will depend on the number of commercial, public and civil construction projects, including roads, bridges and buildings. Overall job opportunities are expected to be good, particularly for those with related work experience.
*Data based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Dept of Labor, Occupational Handbook, 2014-2015.