Ever wondered what concrete work is truly like? Or maybe you are wondering what to do when you grow up? I don’t know if I should recommend it or not so I’ve written a little about it down below.
Like with most construction work, working with concrete has many different work stages, from preparation work to finishing work. It can be from building forms and strengthening structures to pouring concrete and doing the finished surface.
Most of the time working with concrete follows the same routines, only the places change. It might be a house built from concrete, a bridge, or balconies on buildings. Concrete structures are all around us so in that sense, it’s a great career.
Personally, I’ve always liked concrete for its wide usability. Whole houses can be built from it, but not only it is great as material but also as finished surface like stained concrete and stamped concrete. Sometimes I think of working with concrete as working with cement as I’ve been working building facades with mortar overlay, rendering balconies, and working on factories.
People could always work on doing only one thing, but I’ve liked the changing scenery and different places every few months. The downside is, not all places are so great, but that’s the way in life. At least the place will change after a while.
When you work with concrete from start to finish, you notice how important good groundwork is. If you do it yourself, you will want it to be as painless a process as possible. So you prepare every step carefully.
I’ve also worked a fair deal on renovation of concrete structures. It’s another kind of work all together. What brings them together is attention to detail.
Everyone has their own view of their job. It depends on the point of life you’re in. Your financial situation and pretty much the people you work with.
People who are later in their years might think the pay doesn’t match the work as they got family and such. Then again you might think the same if you’re in debt. Third, the pay might actually suck.
I’ve come across situations when I’ve been hired as a subcontractor and my pay has been higher than the company workers. I’m mostly open when asked about hourly rate and such and it has sometimes led to disappointments. Still, when you’re working as a subcontractor the ones hiring are usually in deep need of workers which helps money negotiations.
How hard is concrete work?
It’s hard to estimate what someone thinks is hard and what is not. Some like physical jobs like I do and others like finer things. First, we need to define what kind of work concrete work is. This is how it is for me, there are other types of concrete work as well.
When I think about groundwork, there are machines and tools that help. Excavator can be used to dig holes for forms and you don’t have to touch the shovel much. Then again, sometimes you have to do without.
Those are the times I sometimes find hard. If the weather is bad and it’s heavy work it’s going to be miserable. In the summer sun, it doesn’t feel so bad. Weather is the main thing for me actually when it comes to concrete work when living in a place with winter.
Then we need to think about the physical side of the job as well. The heaviness of concrete work depends a lot on the amount you work with and the place. If you have to carry it up the stairs or lift it a lot, I can say it will take a little muscle.
If you can mainly use tools like concrete pumps or something else like it, it will make the transfer easier and more suitable for everyone. You will also learn fast how to mix concrete just right so you won’t have to mix it again that often. The workability of concrete is key to success, that’s why a slump test is done to know density at the site.
If your work is to pour concrete it might involve some pushing of the wheelbarrow, bending over the floor doing screeding, and other small stuff, but it might not be too heavy. Working with concrete is often teamwork as well, so there is room for the willing.
Finally, the finishing of the concrete or mortar surface might need some eye for detail. Not everyone has it, unfortunately, but there is room in the preparing stages. Most of it can be learned thought.
Concrete work is not for everyone as some forms of concrete work is dirty work and you would have to be willing to get a bit dirty. Also, you need to like working outside most of the time. So if you like feeling comfortable most of the time, concrete work might feel hard for you
Concrete work salary
U.S. News reported that the median salary is around 45,000 in 2019. Concrete finishers average hourly pay is around $20. The top earners can make up to $36 an hour, making it around 75,000 a year. Some states have better pay than the others, it’s an average.
Is it good or bad depends on the life situation, cost of living, and expectations. The average salary of US workers was close to 50,000 a year in the first quarter of 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A lot depends also on the place you live as the cost of living goes up the more metropolitan places you live in.
How much does concrete work cost?
Estimating concrete work cost is really hard without knowing what is involved. Is reinforcement needed? Is the groundwork done or suitable for work? What do contractors cost for an hour? Contractors cost is probably up from $50/h depending on the area again. Cubic yard cost of ready mixed concrete also varies from $75 up to over $100, depending on the place.
If you have a project coming, the best way is to map local contractors and maybe ask for a request for a quotation for all of it or just work. Then ask about concrete prices for the amount that is estimated and a little over it as you don’t want to pay for the extra delivery.
Estimating concrete work that’s needed to be done well might save some money and headache. Unexpected misfortune or surprising factor does always cost more than it should as it could have been most likely avoided.
I hope this explained what concrete work is like a little. I know it’s hard work, but for those of us who enjoy having a little sweat it’s OK way to make living.
Personally I’ve always liked that I get to meet all kinds of coworkers and customers. Some are fun to work with and some are not, but the best fellows stick for years.