Plasterers and stucco masons apply plaster and stucco to walls, ceilings, and building exteriors. Their trade blends art and science, as they create unique and lasting surfaces. Stucco masons and plasterers set up scaffolds, and prepare surfaces to be covered. They mix their own cement, stucco, or plaster, and use trowels, brushes, and spray equipment to apply it to surfaces. Some jobs call for decorative textures including sand, pebbles or stones, or adding a protective layer of finish. They take precautions to protect windows and sidewalks from spillage, and ensure they leave a clean job site. Plasterers spend most of the workday on their feet, often outdoors in all types of weather. They wear protective equipment, and encounter noise levels that may be uncomfortable at times. Most work for building contractors, and work as part of a team. Stucco work is most common in the southwestern United States and Florida, but there may be positions in any state. Typically, there are no specific education or training requirements, and plasterers and stucco masons often learn on the job or through an apprenticeship.
Construction laborers and helpers perform many tasks that require physical labor on construction sites.
What Do Stucco / Exterior Insulated Finish Installers Do?
Construction laborers and helpers typically do the following:
- Clean and prepare construction sites by removing debris and possible hazards
- Load or unload building materials to be used in construction
- Build or take apart bracing, scaffolding, and temporary structures
- Dig trenches, backfill holes, or compact earth to prepare for construction
- Operate or tend equipment and machines used in construction
- Follow construction plans and instructions from supervisors or more experienced workers
- Assist craftworkers with their duties
Construction laborers and helpers work on almost all construction sites, performing a wide range of tasks varying in complexity from very easy to extremely difficult and hazardous.
Construction laborers, also referred to as construction craft laborers, perform a wide variety of construction-related activities during all phases of construction. Many laborers spend their time preparing and cleaning up construction sites, using tools such as shovels and brooms. Other workers, such as those on road crews, may specialize and learn to control traffic patterns and operate pavement breakers, jackhammers, earth tampers, or surveying equipment.
With special training, laborers may help transport and use explosives or run hydraulic boring machines to dig out tunnels. They may learn to use lasers to place pipes and to use computers to control robotic pipe cutters. They may become certified to remove asbestos, lead, or chemicals.
Helpers assist construction craftworkers, such as electricians and carpenters, with a variety of tasks. They may carry tools and materials or help set up equipment. For example, many helpers work with cement masons to move and set the forms that determine the shape of poured concrete. Many other helpers assist with taking apart equipment, cleaning up sites, and disposing of waste, as well as helping with any other needs of craftworkers.
Many construction trades have helpers who assist craftworkers. The following trades have associated helpers:
- Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons, and tile and marble setters
- Painters, paperhangers, plasterers, and stucco masons
- Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
Stucco/Exterior Insulated Finish Installers typically apply exterior plaster, cement, stucco, or similar materials. May also set ornamental plaster.
(Similar job titles: Applicator, Artisan Plasterer, Plaster and Stucco Worker, Plaster Applicator, Plaster Foreman, Plaster Mechanic, Plasterer, Plasterer Foreman, Plasterer Journeyman, Plastering Contractor)
Stucco/Exterior Insulated Finish Installers typically:
- Cover surfaces such as windows, doors, or sidewalks to protect from splashing
- Clean job sites
- Mix mortar and plaster to desired consistency or direct workers who perform mixing
- Apply coats of plaster or stucco to walls, ceilings, or partitions of buildings, using trowels, brushes, or spray guns
- Determine materials needed to complete the job and place orders accordingly
- Apply weatherproof, decorative coverings to exterior surfaces of buildings, such as by troweling or spraying on coats of stucco
- Clean and prepare surfaces for applications of plaster, cement, stucco, or similar materials, such as by drywall taping
- Create decorative textures in finish coat, using brushes or trowels, sand, pebbles, or stones
- Apply insulation to building exteriors by installing prefabricated insulation systems over existing walls or by covering the outer wall with insulation board, reinforcing mesh, and a base coat
Education and Experience
A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required to enter the occupation. There are no formal education requirements to become a painter. Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.
- Annual pay: The average salary in 2019 was approximately $45,000
- Employment growth forecast 2018-2028: 4-6%
- Entry-level education: No formal education credentials
Career Growth Opportunity
The expected increase in new construction activity will continue to create a need for Stucco/Exterior Insulated Finish Installers. As well, openings are expected to arise from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation each year.
- Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems - The mission of this organization is the advancement and growth of EIFS in the United States. This is accomplished by promoting technical excellence through advocacy, industry standards, research, education and communication.
- Stucco Manufacturers Association - This organization is a non-profit trade association comprised of the major manufacturers of stucco in North America and their related suppliers.
- National One Coat Stucco Association - The mission of this organization is to promote the manufacturing and installation of quality one-coat stucco through education to NOCSA members, building departments, architects and specifiers, builders, lath and plaster contractors and the public; to meet and exceed the standards that are set for the industry.
- Associated Builders and Contractors - ABC's membership represents all specialties within the U.S. construction industry and is comprised primarily of firms that perform work in the industrial and commercial sectors.
- Expanded Polystyrene Systems (EPS) Industry Alliance, Exterior Insulating and Finishing Systems - Reference Building & Construction for information on stucco/exterior finishing.
- International Union of Painters and Allied Trades - Members of this organization work in the Finishing Trades as industrial and commercial painters, drywall finishers, wall coverers, glaziers, glass workers, floor covering installers, sign makers, display workers, convention and show decorators and in many more exciting occupations.
- NACE International Institute - The NACE Institute administers 23 certifications on a variety of disciplines.
- Home Builders Institute - This organization’s mission is to advance and provide education, career development, training and placement of men and women serving the building industry.
- National Association of Home Builders - NAHB strives to protect the American Dream of housing opportunities for all, while working to achieve professional success for its members who build communities, create jobs and strengthen our economy.
- The Associated General Contractors of America - The AGC of America works to ensure the continued success of the commercial construction industry by advocating for federal, state and local measures that support the industry; providing opportunities for firms to learn about ways to become more accomplished; and connecting them with the resources and individuals they need to be successful businesses and corporate citizens.
- National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) - This mission of this organization is to build a safe, productive and sustainable workforce of craft professionals. Their vision is to be universally recognized by industry and government as the training, assessment, certification and career development standard for construction and maintenance craft professionals.
- The Associated General Contractors of America - The Associated General Contractors of America works to ensure the continued success of the commercial construction industry by advocating for federal, state and local measures that support the industry.
- Old House Online - repairing stucco article of interest
- Builder - article of interest: drainable EIFS
- SBC Magazine - article of interest: ‘Exploring the Benefits of Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems’
- Retrofit – article of interest: ‘The Reintroduction of EIFS, Exterior Insulation and Finish System’