Career Profile: Cement (Concrete)...

Career Profile: Cement (Concrete) Finisher

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Every job has its own purpose, even if it seems minor. Cement (concrete) finishers might not seem to have as important a job as many others in construction, but work in this field helps to make sidewalks safer and buildings sturdier. If you are precise in your work and like to make things look nice, the job of cement (concrete) finisher could be a good choice for you.

Knowing the difference between cement and concrete is a good first step in becoming qualified for this trade. Although many people use the terms “cement” and “concrete” to mean the same thing, cement is really one ingredient in concrete. When people mix cement with water and other substances like sand and gravel, it becomes concrete, which workers can then pour onto a sidewalk, driveway, or the foundations of a building.

Once workers have poured the wet concrete, the finishers can get to work. The first step is to level off the concrete to make sure that it is not lumpy or uneven. It may be necessary to use a power vibrator or other tool to compress the concrete and remove any pockets of air that could be in it. Then the concrete finisher applies hardening and sealing compounds to cure the concrete. This process involves maintaining the right temperature and amount of moisture to allow the concrete to harden properly.

Making concrete weatherproof is important. Concrete finishers apply special coatings for waterproofing and damp-proofing new concrete and repair any old sections that are crumbling or cracked. Part of the job is also to install anchor bolts, steel plates, and anything else that can help keep the new concrete strong.

Many concrete finishers work for construction companies, but some work as independent contractors, being hired by people who need new driveways or patios. The hours can be long since concrete must dry as an entire piece rather than in sections. If other workers pour concrete near the end of the workday, the concrete finisher must stay late to complete the job, even if that means remaining after dark.

Like with most construction jobs, cement (concrete) finishing work happens mainly in the snow-free months. However, some indoor work is likely to be available even in winter. The work can be physically strenuous and sometimes complicated. People in this field need to be problem-solvers who can work with others but still be independent. Generally, workers in this trade earn between about $17 and $36 per hour, or $37,000 and $77,000 per year.

Requirements vary in different parts of the country, but some of the basics are the same. A Grade 10 education is normally the minimum, and a high school diploma is often necessary. Mathematics, science, and drafting courses in school are helpful for calculating proportions and volumes.

Many employers require workers to complete an apprenticeship program, which normally consists of three twelve-month segments. Certification is required in Quebec and is available but not required in all other provinces. Some employers may require a degree. This is a Red Seal trade, meaning that if people pass the required tests, they can work anywhere in Canada without retraining.

Working as a cement (concrete) finisher can be a good career choice. If you are precise and like to work with your hands, it might be right for you.



Careers in Construction. “Concrete Finisher.” https://www.careersinconstruction.ca/en/career/concrete-finisher.

Concrete Contractors Association of Greater Chicago. “What’s the Difference Between Cement and Concrete?” https://www.ccagc.org/resources/whats-the-difference-between-cement-and-concrete/.

Construct-Ed. “Cement & Concrete Finisher: Job Description, Salary, Requirements, & More.” https://www.construct-ed.com/job-description/cement-concrete-finisher/.

Job Bank. “Concrete Finisher in Ontario.” https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/summary-occupation/6481/ON;jsessionid=B72B88B103A745012DCCA16EC984A4FE.jobsearch76.

Palmer, Bill. “Guide to Concrete Curing Time & Methods.” Concrete Network. https://www.concretenetwork.com/curing-concrete/.

Payscale Canada. “Concrete Finisher Hourly Rate.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Concrete_Finisher/Hourly_Rate.

Trade Up Manitoba. “Concrete Finisher.” https://tradeupmanitoba.com/index.php/explore-careers/concrete-finisher/.

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