Description of Job
• Design and install decorative stone and brick walkways, patios, walls, and
• Build brick and stone custom barbecues.
• Repair and maintain existing exterior stonework.
Outdoor stonework in the form of walkways, patios, walls, and barbecues can
beautify a property and increase its value. Stonemasonry is one of the oldest construction skills, little changed in thousands of years; in modern days it is a craft
not often practiced.
This is outdoor work, with heavy lifting.
You’ll need to lift and place heavy stones, bricks, and tiles and use tools to
shape them. You’ll also be working with heavy mortar and cement.
In some parts of the country, this is a seasonal job that is available from late
spring through late fall.
You may be called upon to design a decorative element or wall or to follow
the plans drawn by an architect or contractor.
Know the Territory
Stonework is in demand nearly everywhere, but with different purposes or styles
in various settings. In a big city, jobs might include walkways, steps, and small
patios. In rural and suburban settings, jobs might include larger patios, outdoor
fireplaces and barbecues, and stone walls.
The traditional method of training for stonemasonry is to work as a helper or
apprentice to a skilled craftsperson. In some areas, unions offer training and formal apprenticeship programs. You can also learn many of the skills from books,
web sites, and educational programs. The International Union of Bricklayers and
Allied Craftsworkers has programs around the country and a national training
and education center in Maryland to teach basic job skills for brick, stone, tile,
terrazzo, and restoration work.
How to Get Started
If you are already trained as a stonemason, advertise your services with flyers at
home and garden centers, retail outlets, and community centers. Place ads in
newspapers and shopping guides.
Make yourself known to architects, contractors, and landscapers who might
recommend your services to their clients; offer a commission or bonus for work
they send to you. Ask satisfied customers to recommend you to others; in return,
offer them a bonus or discount on further work.
You’ll need stoneworking tools, cement and mortar mixing equipment, and landscaping equipment.
You will need a truck or van to transport your tools and equipment. You may
be able to have stone, brick, and other materials delivered directly to the site by
your suppliers; if not, you’ll need a heavy truck with a lift gate or ramp.
Other expenses include advertising and promotion.
How Much to Charge
For a simple job like a barbecue or a brick patio, you can charge an all-inclusive
set fee that covers the cost of materials and your time. Another option is to charge
an hourly rate plus the cost of materials and supplies.
Skilled stonemasons typically charge $25 to $40 per hour for their labor;
unionized workers generally receive a higher rate.