What is a block mason?
The job of a block mason is one of the most underrated and overlooked jobs in America. A block mason is typically a worker using concrete blocks, bricks, stones, and structural tiles to build walls, fences, walkways, patios, and even buildings and other structures.
Their work is not just limited to a building. Many block-masons also engage in repairing, remodeling, and restoring old structures. These may be damaged or fallen over the years, all while retaining the structural integrity of the building. Given the nature of this job, block masons may specialize in either residential projects or large-scale projects (or sometimes even both).
Skills required for the job of a block mason
Being a block-mason is nothing short of being a one-man army. Working as one, you are required to be well aware of everything from
Given the nature of the job, a block-mason should have a practical, persistent, investigative, and introspective personality. Apart from this, the job of a block-mason requires a wide range of skills. Some of these include:
- Being physically fit to lift and move around blocks: A block mason also works with heavy tools and materials such as a sledgehammer and cement blocks. Your physical strength is of utmost importance.
- Having basic mathematical skills is also crucial to this job. One must be confident enough to take measurements, estimate costs and time, and then set plans accordingly.
- The job of block mason includes shaping simple blocks into intricate structures and buildings. Hence, a certain amount of creativity is required.
- Block-masons must have basic reading skills. The ability to read and understand instructions, building laws, safety policies, as well as other manuals is a crucial part of their job.
Education and Training Requirements
Unlike various other occupations, to become a block-mason, one doesn’t require secondary education or a fancy degree for this job. Having a high school diploma is enough for this job. However, you are required to have a considerable amount of training. The job of a block-mason requires completing a three-year apprenticeship program. The program includes 140 to 144 hours of instruction-based training as well as 2000 hours of on-the-job training. These training usually revolve around the study of:
- building code requirements,
- safety requirements,
- first aid training,
- understanding blueprints
- mathematics as well as
- use of various types of equipment
Once the training is complete, you can work as a block-mason unsupervised and independently.
The tasks involved in the job of a block mason
A block-mason can expect several tasks in a day’s work. Some of the key tasks that these masonry workers carry out include:
- Conducting inspecting to see if there is a need for repair and so on.
- Estimating the cost of repair work by considering various aspects. These include the nature of work, type, and amount of raw materials required, etc.
- Laying and binding building materials like concrete blocks, terra cotta and cinder blocks, bricks, and structural tiles.
- Using mortar and other substances to construct and repair walls, arches, sewers, houses, etc.
- Carry out a series of measurements to mark guidelines and reference points before starting the manual labor.
- Create a mixture of mortar and other substances. Using the substance mixture over the work surface to keep the block structure intact.
- Make use of jointing tools in order to seal the mortar joints and get an even surface.
- Effectively using caulking material for the use of contracting joints as well as expanding seals
- Break or cut blocks, bricks, and tiles using equipment like a hammer, power saw, and trowel edges, etc.
- Use chipping guns, sledgehammers, and crowbars to remove any damaged blocks or bricks.
- Read and understand blueprints as well as other structural drawings, and determining specifications. Purchasing the materials required based on these specifications.
- Calculating angles as well as verifying the vertical and horizontal elevation of structures. Using levels and plump bobs in doing so.
- Conduct repairs on fences, walls, patio, partitions, and fireplaces. This usually involves removing defective blocks and replacing them with new solid ones.
- Use scrapers, brooms, as well as wire brushes to clean and polish the surface of the finished work.
- Spraying refractory material on finished work etc.
What about salary?
As far as the job of a block-mason is concerned, one can expect a salary range as follows:
- Minimum annual salary: $29,050
- Maximum annual salary: $77,360
What are the future prospects of this job?
The job of a block mason is usually a full-time job with the option to earn extra cash by working overtime. However, the workload can be somewhat erratic, with more jobs during summers and comparatively less during winters due to snow. The prospects for this job are quite lucrative. The predicted employment in this sector is expected to grow immensely, given the growing population and the demand for new construction. It is expected to increase by almost 12% in the next five years.