A concrete finisher is a tradesman who works with concrete. The job entails placing, finishing, protecting and/or repairing concrete for construction projects. Concrete finishers are often responsible for setting the concrete forms, ensuring they have the correct depth and pitch. Concrete finishers place the concrete either directly from the concrete chute, concrete pump, or concrete wheelbarrow. They spread the concrete using shovels and rakes, sometimes using a straightedge back and forth across the top of the forms to “screed”, or level, the freshly placed concrete. After leveling the concrete, they finish the surface using either hand tools or mechanical powered machines. Concrete finishers must have a thorough knowledge of concrete characteristics and related materials.
Since much of the concrete finishing is done outdoors, working conditions are governed by the weather. Concrete is not usually placed in rain or when temperatures a below freezing. However, the work, either indoor or outdoors, may be in areas that are muddy, dusty, and dirty. The work requires continuous physical effort.
Aptitude and Interest
Finishers should enjoy doing demanding work. They should have pride of craftsmanship and be able to work without close supervision.
To become a skilled concrete finisher, training is essential. Skills of a concrete craftsman are acquired through “on-the-job” training, through company mentoring programs; by attending trade or vocational/technical schools; through unilaterally sponsored trainee programs; through registered labor-management apprenticeship programs, or a combination of the above. There are also certification programs such as the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Concrete Flatwork Technician & Flatwork Finisher program. Being certified by ACI means being recognized by an independent organization of experts in the concrete field. It is generally accepted that the more formalized training programs give more comprehensive skill training. Recommended high school courses include English, math, mechanical drawing, and general science.