Duties and responsibilities
Terrazzo workers apply specialized surfaces and finishes to the interior and exteriors of buildings and grounds. They do this using applications of pigmented concrete that they stud or inlay with small pieces of marble, glass, granite or quartz, then typically seal, cure, and polish until smooth. Their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Measuring the correct of amounts of ingredients for terrazzo or group, according to standard formulas and specifications
- Measuring the materials or objects needed for installation or assembly
- Loading materials into construction equipment
- Grinding surfaces with a power grinder, polishing surface or smoothing surfaces
- Modify mixing, grouting, grinding, or cleaning procedures, according to type of installation or material used
- Spreading, levelling, or smoothing concrete or terrazzo mixtures to form bases or finished surfaces, using rakes, shovels, hand or power trowels, hand or power screeds, or floats
- Washing polished terrazzo surface, using cleaner and water, and apply sealer and curing agent according to manufacturer’s specifications, using brush or sprayer
To become a Terrazzo finisher, you will need a high school diploma or equivalent. You will then need to complete an apprenticeship program, during which you will ‘shadow’ experienced concrete finishers.
Skills and relevant work experience
In order to have the best possible employment opportunities, Terrazzo finishers should aim to get as much experience in the construction industry as possible. Concrete finishers also need skills such as:
- Physical fitness and stamina, as Terrazzo workers need to mix and move concrete, as well as other heavy materials
- Dexterity, as Terrazzo workers must be able to place concrete with precision
- Communication skills are key as Terrazzo workers need to be able to communicate with clients and other construction workers (e.g., brickmasons or concrete finishers)
- Detail orientation, as Terrazzo workers must be very precise in their work
- Critical thinking, as Terrazzo works must be able to problem-solve when issues arise in a project. Such issues may include a project running on for longer than expected or the materials ordered being the wrong size
Terrazzo workers tend to work full time. They may also have to work additional hours when working towards a deadline or if things go wrong.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for masonry workers was $46,500 in 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,250, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $78,250. Concrete finishers specifically earned a median annual salary of $52,180.
The top paying industries for all masonry workers were masonry contractors, where the median annual wage was $51,100. Followed by construction of buildings ($49,840), poured concrete foundation and structure contractors ($44,610) and heavy and civil engineering construction ($44,590).
The overall employment of masonry workers is set to decline over the next decade. However, Terrazzo workers can progress easily into supervisor, superintendent, or other construction management positions. Experienced concrete finishers may even choose to become independent contractors.