Concrete Finisher Job Description

Concrete finishers smooth finished surfaces of poured concrete to specific textures. These professionals typically work as independent contractors or as part of a construction crew in a collaborative, team environment and report directly to their project managers or foremen.

Concrete finishers work in all environments and weather conditions during all shifts, including weekends and holidays, and they must be prepared to perform emergency on-call work. They must also travel to job sites to perform their specialized work.

 

Concrete Finisher Duties and Responsibilities 

Concrete finishers work on a variety of concrete projects and may be hired by many different construction and repair companies. The main work duties for these professionals is consistent, regardless of employer:

Read Construction Plans

Concrete finishers read schematics, drawings, and construction plans, and they interpret them to determine how to complete jobs.

Finish Concrete Surfaces

These specialized workers finish top surfaces of concrete using tools and water to create the desired texture. This task includes inspecting finished concrete and removing imperfections.

Position Concrete Trucks

The concrete finisher on a job site directs the concrete truck, showing the driver where to park so that concrete can be poured precisely where it’s needed.

Move Concrete Discharge Chute

They also assist in moving the discharge chute on a concrete truck to control where concrete is being poured.

Set and Spread Poured Concrete

Concrete finishers place forms to control where concrete is being poured and help spread the concrete as it’s being poured to ensure the finished result will be level.

Patch Holes

Concrete finishers inspected finished concrete, patch holes, and fix imperfections after concrete has finished setting.

Repair Old Concrete

They also make repairs to old concrete by filling cracks, replacing damaged areas, and refinishing surfaces.

Clean and Maintain Tools

Concrete finishers clean and maintain all their tools, replacing tools and tool parts as needed.

 

Concrete Finisher Skills and Qualifications 

Concrete finishers work indoors and out to finish concrete patios, porches, floors, walls, swimming pools, walkways, and fountains. Construction crews and building companies that hire concrete finishers seek out professionals who possess a trade certification in addition to the following skills:

  • Communication Skills – Because construction sites are collaborative environments where many dangers are present, concrete finishers have excellent verbal communication skills
  • Physical Strength – Concrete finishers need physical strength to work in extreme weather conditions, lift heavy bags of concrete, stand for long periods of time, and work with their hands using multiple types of tools
  • Detail-Oriented – Concrete finishers are highly detail-oriented in that they precisely match concrete colors, note imperfections in concrete, and manage their tools
  • Design Comprehension – Concrete finishers know how to read and interpret many kinds of construction plans and drawings
  • Mechanical Aptitude – Because they work with many different tools and machinery, concrete finishers have good hand-eye dexterity and a high degree of mechanical aptitude

 

Tools of the Trade

Concrete finishers work on-site to finish a variety of concrete structures using:

  • Hand Tools – (trowels, chisels, hammers, floats)
  • Power Tools – (trowels, grinders, screeds, power washers)
  • Outdoor Tools – (rakes, shovels)
  • Finishing Tools – (abrasive stones, brooms)
  • Edging Tools – (edgers, straight edges)

 

Concrete Finisher Education and Training

At minimum, concrete finishers need a high school diploma or GED to pursue this career. Many employers look for candidates who also have a trade certification. Trade schools and professional associations offer certification programs for concrete finishers that include training and testing. For some employers, hands-on experience with concrete finishing will be accepted in place of a certification.

Some employers will train new concrete finishers on the job. Training lasts from several weeks to several months, depending on the employer. During the training period, new concrete finishers are closely monitored by team leaders, foremen, or other supervisors.

 

Concrete Finisher Salary and Outlook 

In 2016, the median yearly pay for construction laborers and helpers of all types was $32,230. The median hourly pay in 2016 was $15.49. Concrete finishers are specialized members of a construction labor workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculated more than 1.4 million jobs for construction laborers and helpers in 2016, a number they predict will grow by 12 percent through 2026. This is faster-than-average job growth.

In addition to standard health insurance benefits, concrete finishers receive disability and life insurance benefits. Many employers provide bonus income to concrete finishers who complete training programs. Safety bonuses are also commonly awarded. Employer-sponsored on-the-job training programs are provided to concrete finishers who want to learn additional construction jobs.

 

Helpful Resources 

Find out how to get a job as a concrete finisher and succeed in this career path with these resources:

American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC) – Concrete finishers and other construction professionals who work with concrete find information about safety regulations, certification, technical specifications, and concrete events at this website.

Cement Mason and Concrete Finisher Career (Special Edition): The Insider’s Guide to Finding a Job at an Amazing Firm, Acing The Interview & Getting Promoted – Find tips for landing a job as a concrete finisher in this book, written by Anne Johnson in simple language to explain how to advance through all the steps of this career.

American Concrete Institute (ACI) – Find education and other certification resources at this website, designed for everyone who wants to learn more about concrete.

Concrete Finisher’s Guide – This book is full of information about common concrete primers as well as technical information for perfect concrete finishing. The plain language is easy to read and full of straightforward tips.

 

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