worker for brickstone mason

What Is The Job Of A Stonemason?

Stonemasonry can be defined as shaping irregular pieces of rock into accurate shapes for building and decoration and assembling the resulting rock to build structures. First, they set the horizontal and vertical alignment of the structures they work on using gauge lines, levels, and a plumb bob. Then, with the help of staked lines, rules, and a straight edge, they lay out the foundation and wall patterns. Smoothing out defective or rough spots by using a hammer, chisel, and power grinder, and repairing chipped or cracked stone using a blowtorch, are also the job of a stonemason.

A stonemason is a hard-working individual who knows how to shape and carve rocks into various structures. Stonemasons are required in many construction projects, from residential homes to schools and businesses. They often work on-site with other craftsmen, such as carpenters or electricians, but their main job is shaping the stones that will be used for building. 

These structures can vary in complexity and volume, going from simple walls to distinctive buildings and even entire cities. Many of the oldest buildings and monuments in the world are the work of stonemasons, and it is a craft that combines elements of architecture, design and requires a high level of mastery. This craft has been evolving and developing for thousands of years. 

Stonemasonry refers to the creation of entirely new structures and the reparation and conservation of already existing ones, using either artificial or natural stone materials.

Stonemasons pride themselves in their ability to create and restore structures in such a way that renders them both pleasing to the eye and gives them a real use-value, often working on only one project at a time and tailoring their art to the requirements of their client(s).

However, beyond working on buildings, steps, and home exteriors, stonemasons can create statues, monuments, and other more uncommon structures.

When working on monuments, a stonemason will sometimes have to see to the removal of parts of the monument from the bed of trucks carrying them and then guide it to the foundation using cranes, hoists, or even skids. Stonemasons will also make parts of the structure by filling moulds with a stone composition mixture.

brick stonemason melbourne worker

What Does A Stonemason Do?

Stonemasons are skilled craftsmen who cut, shape, and lay stones to create commercial and artistic stone structures. Then, using a range of specialized tools, they are tasked with building or repairing structures such as walls, archways, piers, monuments, or tombstones. These may include homes, historical buildings, monuments, headstones and statues. Stonemasons may also use a range of other natural materials, such as granite and quartz.

As a stonemason, you will be responsible for helping to repair or maintain structures, such as churches or houses. This can include cutting or carving various types of stone, and you will usually have to ensure you preserve the look and feel of the building. 

Stonemasons work with a range of tools in shaping and assembling of rock pieces. They set and verify the vertical and horizontal alignment of structures using levels and plumb bob.

They mark out and measure distances with the aid of stake lines, straightedges and rules. They also trim and smoothen workpieces using a chisel, hammer and power grinder. In performing their duties, stonemasons work with natural stones (granite, marble, limestone) and artificial stones (cement mixed with chips). They introduce mortar in between stone rows using a trowel. They also indicate cutting lines along the grain of work materials and cut to various sizes using an abrasive saw or hammer.

As part of their responsibilities, stonemasons produce detailed stone carvings for buildings to replicate or replace an existing stone structure. They install prefabricated stones on building walls or surfaces using traditional lime mortars. Their role also involves collaborating with crane operators in running hoists and another grappling device to lift and guide stone materials onto the work table. Usually, stonemasons wear protective gear such as earplugs, masks, and goggles when carrying out job operations.

They set and line chemical tanks with stones resistant to acidic substances. They also install high-temperature materials on furnaces, kilns and boilers. Stonemason work description also entails conducting repairs of damaged or defective masonry units.

They use blow torch and mastic to fix cracked or chipped areas on marble or stone. They also remove rough concrete parts using a power grinder or a chisel and hammer. In fulfilling their role, these masons dig trenches using a pick and shovel to create monuments.

They drill holes in marble and stone structures to create an anchor for wall brackets. Smoothening, beveling, and polishing surfaces using hand and power tools is also part of the stonemason description. To get into the stonemason career requires a high school diploma and about 2-5 years apprenticeship under an experienced mason.

Some of the major qualities to excel in this job include physical strength, stamina, and visualization.

Types Of Stonemasons

A quarryman works in a quarry splitting sheets of rock down the vein of the rock to extract rough chunks of stone.

  • A sawyer mason is someone who takes these rough chunks of stone and shapes them to meet the required shape and size using diamond-tipped saws.
  • A banker mason takes these stones into their workshop and further hones them into the building designs’ shape and size. A banker mason’s goal is to make sure that the shaped stone is oriented in the building in a natural position as it was oriented in the ground.
  • A carver mason uses their artistic ability to create patterns and designs in or from the stone-like animals, figures, or other types of designs.
  • A fixer mason specializes in permanently fixing stone onto building structures using various epoxy resins and cement forms. This is a highly dangerous and skilled position requiring precise tolerances and works at high altitudes while manipulating very heavy pieces of stone using tackle lift systems.
  • A memorial mason carves gravestones, statues and memorials.

Definition And Nature Of The Work

Stonemasons build stone walls, floors, and the exteriors of private homes and other buildings. They also make stone piers, arches, sills, steps, and hearths.

Stonemasons work with both natural and artificial stones. The natural stones they use are marble, granite, sandstone, and limestone. The artificial stones are made of cement and cement mixed with marble chips or other masonry materials. Stonemasons use hammers, chisels, trowels, mallets, wedges, pneumatic (compressed air) drills, and brushes. They generally work with helpers who carry the stones.

Stonemasons sometimes work from plans that number each piece of stone. Next, they spread a cement-like material called mortar between each row of stones with a flat, pointed tool called a trowel. When the stones are in the proper position, the stonemasons check their placement with a plumb line to ensure they are aligned. The stonemasons then smooth the mortar between the stones. Sometimes, the masons work with derrick operators, who run hoists that lift and lower large stones into place.

The stone facing that stonemason put on the surfaces of buildings is called veneer. It is generally two inches thick, and it is fastened on and supported by the building’s steel frame.

Sometimes stonemasons must cut stone to exact size. First, they determine the grain of the stone for easy cutting and mark a line along with it. Then, they use a stonemason’s hammer to strike the stone along this line. Sometimes they use an abrasive saw to cut valuable stones.

Some stonemasons specialize in soapstone and other stones that are resistant to acid and are used to contain dangerous acidic substances. Masons set such stone into tank and vat linings and on floors.

stonemason workplace

Requirements – Skills, Abilities, and Knowledge – for Stone Mason Job

Are you seeking a stonemason job? If so, then here are major qualification requirements most recruiters will want you to have to access the job:

  • Education and Training: To become a stonemason, you require at least a high school diploma, allowing entry into a trade school. On the other hand, you can enrol for a 3-4 year apprenticeship program with labour unions or contractor associations.
  • Visualization: Stonemasons can envisage and implement aesthetic patterns in the design and construction of stone structures
  • Physical Strength: They can lift and work with heavy tools and building materials
  • Physical Stamina: They can perform the rigorous work task of lifting and aligning blocks for extended periods
  • Pre-employment tests: To work as a stonemason or an apprentice, you may be required to pass an assessment test. Find out what job assessment test you will need to take and how to top the competition.

Besides their typical day, Stonemasons also drill holes in marble or ornamental stone and anchor brackets in holes. They may also lay brick to build shells of chimneys and smokestacks or to line or reline industrial furnaces, kilns, boilers and similar installations.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Stonemasons repair cracked or chipped areas of stone or marble using blowtorch and mastic and remove rough or defective spots from concrete using a power grinder or chisel and hammer. They might also position mould along with guidelines of the wall, press mould in place, and remove mould and paper from the wall.

In addition, the layout wall patterns or foundations using a straight edge, rule, or staked lines.

Although specific duties may vary, many replace broken or missing masonry units in walls or floors.

To some Stonemasons, it is also their responsibility to remove wedges, fill joints between stones, finish joints between stones using a trowel, and smooth the mortar to an attractive finish, using a tuck pointer.

Education And Training Requirements

A high school diploma is preferred but not required. Many stonemasons start by working as helpers for experienced craft workers. Others learn the trade through courses at vocational or technical schools. The best training is a three-year apprenticeship sponsored by labour unions or industry groups. The apprenticeship consists of three years of on-the-job training combined with more than four hundred hours of classroom instruction. On the job, apprentices are helpers, learning to use the tools and materials. In addition, they are taught blueprint reading, mathematics, and other subjects relating to the craft in the classroom. Applicants for the apprenticeship program should be at least seventeen years of age and in good physical condition.

What Knowledge Is Needed To Be A Stonemason?

  • Mathematics: Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Building and Construction: Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Public Safety and Security: Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Design: Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in producing precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mechanical: Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Education and Training: Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • English Language: Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language, including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Psychology: Knowledge of human behaviour and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioural and affective disorders.

What Is The Workplace Of A Stonemason Like?

A stonemason’s workplace is generally outdoors and relatively hazardous, making hard hats and caution extremely important. The work is physically demanding, and contracts are often less frequent in times of bad weather as stonemasons typically work outside. However, various advancements in masonry technology allow modern-day masons to work outside in varying weather conditions.

The work can be considered hard physical labour, as stonemasons are required to climb scaffolding, use chisels and hammers, and spend all day bending, kneeling and lifting heavy materials over rough terrain. In addition, stonemasons will often be contracted privately and therefore have a schedule to keep, meaning overtime and weekend work is often necessary to meet deadlines.

Advancement Possibilities And Employment Outlook

Stonemasons are already at the top of their craft. However, experienced stonemasons can become supervisors. They can also become costly and material estimators for stonemason contractors. As a result, some stonemasons start their contracting businesses.

The employment outlook for stonemasons is very good. The need for new structures, spurred by population and business growth will increase the demand for stonemasons. In addition, the number of jobs will grow about as fast as the average for all jobs through 2004, and many experienced stonemasons are expected to retire or transfer to other fields, creating more openings.

Employment Opportunities

Government and Private construction companies abroad are in need of masons, especially with expertise in stone ad brick layering. Stonemasons have high opportunities working abroad because they can work either government or privately owned construction companies. Their expertise is widely needed, especially in the USA and Dubai, where more buildings are expected to rise.

Working Conditions

brick stonemason melbourne

Because most stonemasons work outdoors, they can expect to lose work time in bad weather. Generally, they work forty hours a week and earn extra pay for overtime and weekend work. The work is physically strenuous and involves much heavy lifting. Stonemasons must climb ladders and scaffolding, and they are often stooping, standing, and kneeling. Many stonemasons belong to labour unions.

Stonemasonry is something that is pretty much learnt on the job. Hands-on practical experience is the name of the game, and trainee stonemasons spend much of their time on-site, with the rest of their time spent at college working towards NVQs in stonemasonry. For those aged 16-24, there may be funded stonemasonry apprenticeship places available.

Experienced stonemasons can go on to take up supervisory or construction management roles. Whilst many of these guys are employed by specialist firms, some are self-employed and subcontract their services to construction companies. 

The stonemason’s job is to make sure that the project they are working on, whether a building or an outdoor space, lasts for decades to come. From installing windows and doors to repairing cracks in walls, there are many ways these specialized workers can help ensure your home’s longevity.

If you are working on designing a job description for the stonemason position in your firm, you can apply the sample copy provided above to create one quickly.

The detailed stonemason work description you will create with the information in this article can help you attract the best candidates for the role.

The stonemason duties and responsibilities presented in this post are also helpful to individuals interested in working in this career to learn more about what to expect on the job when hired.

Scroll to Top