Building with materials that are both beautiful and sturdy, masonry workers create structures that last. Masonry workers, also known as masons, use weatherproof bricks, stones, and concrete to build new homes and buildings, and to maintain the historic structures we want to preserve. Masons specialize in different materials and structures: Brickmasons and blockmasons build and repair walls, chimneys, and other structures. Some specialize in brickwork for industrial facilities that can tolerate intensely high temperatures. Cement masons and concrete finishers lay walls and sidewalks, and form the pieces that make up heavily-used roads and buildings. Segmental pavers install interlocking brick walkways, patios, and walls. Stonemasons carefully cut and select stone to create patterns as they build walls, unique fireplaces, and building exteriors. Terrazzo workers add fine marble chips into the finish of cement or resin to create decorative walkways and floors. Masonry work is fast paced and strenuous. It includes heavy lifting, using sharp tools, and working from scaffolds. In addition to strength and stamina, masons need the ability to see subtle color variations and envision how stones will fit together to build attractive and stable structures. Work hours are generally full time, with some overtime to meet deadlines. Cold or rainy weather can stop work. After completing a high school education, most masons learn on the job or through a 3- to 4-year apprenticeship.

Masonry workers, also known as masons, use bricks, concrete blocks, concrete, and natural and manmade stones to build walls, walkways, fences, and other masonry structures.

What Do Terrazzo / Marble Flooring Installers Do?

Duties

Masons typically do the following:

  • Read blueprints or drawings to calculate materials needed
  • Lay out patterns, forms, or foundations according to plans
  • Break or cut materials to required size
  • Mix mortar or grout and spread it onto a slab or foundation
  • Clean excess mortar with trowels and other hand tools
  • Construct corners with a corner pole or by building a corner pyramid
  • Align structures vertically and horizontally, using levels and plumbs
  • Clean and polish surfaces with hand or power tools
  • Fill expansion joints with the appropriate caulking materials

Masonry materials are some of the most common and durable materials used in construction. Brick, block, and stone structures can last for hundreds of years. Concrete—a mixture of cement, sand, gravel, and water—is the foundation for everything from decorative patios and floors to huge dams or miles of roadways.

The following are examples of types of masons:

Brickmasons and blockmasons—often called bricklayers—build and repair walls, floors, partitions, fireplaces, chimneys, and other structures with brick, terra cotta, precast masonry panels, concrete block, and other masonry materials. Pointing, cleaning, and caulking workers are brickmasons who repair brickwork, particularly on older structures from which mortar has come loose. Refractory masons are brickmasons who specialize in installing firebrick, gunite, castables, and refractory tile in high-temperature boilers, furnaces, cupolas, ladles, and soaking pits in industrial establishments.

Cement masons and concrete finishers place and finish concrete. They may color concrete surfaces, expose aggregate (small stones) in walls and sidewalks, or make concrete beams, columns, and panels. Throughout the process of pouring, leveling, and finishing concrete, cement masons monitor how the wind, heat, or cold affects the curing of the concrete. They use their knowledge of the characteristics of concrete to determine what is happening to it and take measures to prevent defects. Some small jobs, such as constructing sidewalks, may require the use of a supportive wire mesh called lath. On larger jobs, such as constructing building foundations, reinforcing iron and rebar workers install the reinforcing mesh.

Stonemasons build stone walls, as well as set stone exteriors and floors. They work with two types of stone: natural-cut stone, such as marble, granite, and limestone; and artificial stone, made from concrete, marble chips, or other masonry materials. Using a special hammer or a diamond-blade saw, workers cut stone to make various shapes and sizes. Some stonemasons specialize in setting marble, which is similar to setting large pieces of stone.

Terrazzo workers and finishers, also known as terrazzo masons, create decorative walkways, floors, patios, and panels. Much of the preliminary work of pouring, leveling, and finishing concrete for terrazzo is similar to that of cement masons. Epoxy terrazzo requires less base preparation and is significantly thinner when completed. Terrazzo workers create decorative finishes by blending fine marble chips into the epoxy, resin, or cement, which is often colored. Once the terrazzo is thoroughly set, workers correct any depressions or imperfections with a grinder to create a smooth, uniform finish. Terrazzo workers also install decorative toppings or polishing compounds to new or existing concrete.

Career Snapshot

Terrazzo/Marble Flooring Installers basically apply a mixture of cement, sand, pigment, or marble chips to floors and stairways to fashion durable and decorative surfaces.

A career as a Terrazzo/Marble Flooring Installers usually begins with on-the-job training from a more experienced flooring layer.   Floor layers work in a variety of building environments including offices, restaurants and homes.

(Similar job titles for this sub-sector include:  Terrazzo Journeyman, Terrazzo Laborer, Terrazzo Mechanic, Terrazzo Grinder, Terrazzo Tile Setter, Installer, Terrazzo Installer, Grinder, Terrazzo Worker, Terrazzo Finisher)

Job Details

Terrazzo/Marble Flooring Installers typically do the following:

  • Mix substances or compounds needed for work activities
  • Measure materials or objects for installation or assembly
  • Load materials into construction equipment
  • Smooth surfaces with abrasive materials or tools
  • Cut metal components for installation
  • Apply decorative masonry finishes
  • Spread concrete or other aggregate mixtures
  • Finish concrete surfaces
  • Clean surfaces in preparation for work activities
  • Apply sealants or other protective coatings

Education and Experience

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required to enter the occupation. There are no formal education requirements and these trades workers don't need specific licenses or certifications.  Most workers in this construction sub-sector learn their trade on the job by helping more experienced workers and gradually being given more duties.  Certain high school courses, such as art and math, may be helpful for flooring installers.  Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

Career Outlook

  • Annual pay: Terrazzo/Marble Flooring Installers earned an average base salary of $52,000 in 2019
  • Employment growth forecast 2018-2028: Expected to grow much faster than average
  • Entry-level education: No formal educational credential required

Career Growth Opportunity

The construction of new housing units will be the primary source of terrazzo/marble flooring work over the next decade.  After beginning a career as a helper, advancement to full journey level after several years of experience is likely.  Some Terrazzo/Marble Flooring Installers become contractors and open their own businesses.

Professional Associations

Ceramic Tile Education Foundation - The CTEF is an educational institution that offers local, regional, and national training programs for consumers, installers, construction professionals, architects, designers, building inspectors and sales associates interested in the sale and installation of ceramic tile.

International Masonry Institute - Team IMI consists of architects, engineers, construction managers, skilled craftworkers and instructors, offering what no other group can: expertise in training, craftsmanship, design, installation and marketing.

International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association - CFI is about installers helping installers rise to a level of professional skills and integrity that will bring the maximum beneficial impact to the floor covering industry, the floor covering installation profession, and to customers who care about the quality of the investment in their floors.

Finishing Trades Institute International - This organization’s mission is to advise, assist and coordinate in the training and development of a skilled, educated, and productive workforce for the finishing trades industries.

International Standards and Training Alliance - INSTALL is an association of professionals from across the entire flooring industry. This organization is comprised of installers, contractors, manufacturers, associations and consultants that share one simple goal: to take pride in all the work that is delivered.

Professional Flooring Installers Association - PFIA is the trade organization for flooring contractors and specialists serving commercial customers. Our members are INSTALL certified. They employ skilled union installers and adhere to the highest standards for safety and quality.

Tile Contractors’ Association of America - TCAA members are experienced BAC-signatory ceramic tile contractors who save time and money for their customers through professional installations, supervision, efficient management and - most of all - unparalleled craftsmanship.

The Tile Council of North America, Inc. - TCNA is a trade association representing manufacturers of ceramic tile, tile installation materials, tile equipment, raw materials, and other tile-related products.

The Flooring Contractors Association - This organization functions as an educational outlet with a mission for flooring contractors of providing many educational opportunities and resources to support commercial flooring contractors.

Associated Builders and Contractors - ABC's mission is the advancement of the merit shop construction philosophy, which encourages open competition and a free enterprise approach that awards contracts based solely on merit, regardless of labor affiliation.

International Union of Painters and Allied Trades – IUPAT members 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.

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 Association of the Remodeling Industry - NARI connects homeowners with its professional members and provides tips and tricks so that consumers have a positive remodeling experience with a professional, qualified remodeler.

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.

Fuse Commercial Flooring Alliance - This organization provides member owners and their businesses with educational and training programs, finance, sales and marketing services, and exciting sales incentive programs.

Publications

  • Floor Covering Installer – products, materials, tools, how-to, blog....
  • Carpenter Magazine - Official magazine of United Brotherhood of Carpenters
  • This is Carpentry - Feature articles, TIC authors, safety....
  • Constructor - online digital magazine
  • Floor Covering News - Floor Covering News is the Industry’s preferred publication serving retailers, distributors, installers, designers and manufacturers with the #1 editorial content, frequency and most loyal circulation.
  • Floor Covering Weekly - Floor Covering Weekly, the undisputed industry leader, has a long and proud history of keeping our readership informed and up to date. That’s why more specialty retailers choose Floor Covering Weekly above all other industry magazines.
  • National Floor Trends Magazine - Positioned as an upscale, fashion-oriented magazine above all other trade publications serving our field, with information retailers/contractors and specifiers/architects/designers need to lead, succeed and grow.