Floor Finisher

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects
Openings 5 years to November 2019: < 5,000
Median weekly earnings: < $920
Australian Government Department of Employment 2014
If you asked any of the State's floor finishers about what floor finishes were currently in vogue, natural timber finishes in beech or jarrah would probably be a common response.

There are approximately 1,200 floor finishers in South Australia. Employment is mostly full-time with the majority working in the Construction industry. Most persons in this occupation are males with a median age of 38.

TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Floor Finisher

Accredited (Award)

  • If we didn't have floor finishers to cut, install, finish and repair soft, resilient and hard floor coverings, most of us would still be walking around on cold, hard cement at home and at work. And we wouldn't have much use for the wide range of luxurious carpets, practical linoleum, and trendy cork and timber floor finishes that are currently available to us.

    A floor finisher's duties involve inspecting and preparing what's known as the sub floor before it can be covered. This needs to be measured and an estimation drawn up, so that an order can be placed for the correct amount of floor covering. As part of the preparation process, floor finishers install underlays of hardboard sheets, rubber or felt. This helps to ensure the durability of a floor covering. But more importantly, it pads out floor coverings, such as carpet, making it feel nice to walk on. Once these preparatory measures have been taken care of, the floor coverings can be laid. Unfortunately for floor finishers, not every room is the perfect open space, they may need to cut around objects such as stairs or pot belly stoves, ensuring a floor covering is the perfect fit. Securing floor coverings, fitting edge trims in doorways as well as sanding, staining and finishing timber floors are some of a floor finisher's other tasks. They may also be required to repair baseboard moulding and damaged floor covers.

    OutdoorPractical and Manual

  • Of those currently employed in this occupation there are 33% who have Certificate III or IV, and 57% have no post school qualification.

    TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including a Certificate II and III in Flooring Technology.

  • Floor finishing is a medium sized occupation with good employment prospects. Opportunities exist for floor finishers and coverers set up their own businesses or work as subcontractors to retailers or floor covering firms. A few work for retail organisations and may combine the duties of retail sales and floor covering.

    Employment opportunities are dependent on building industry demand, but this is less likely to affect qualified tradespeople.

  • Floor finishers work from plans and/or follow verbal instructions from clients and other industry tradespeople. You'll need to enjoy dealing with people as it's a job that involves contact with the public, as well as builders, retailers and other tradespeople. According to an industry representative this job requires regular lifting of heavy coverings and frequent kneeling, so being physically fit is advantageous. It is possible for floor finishers to specialise in installing a particular type of floor covering:

    *Textile layers (also known as carpet layers) fasten edges and seams, then stretch carpet and secure it along walls and borders using gripper strips;

    *Resilient layers specialise in laying and finishing vinyl, linoleum and rubber in either sheet or tile form. They may also use these materials to cover bench tops and walls; and

    *Hard floor finishers lay and finish timber, cork and parquetry floors in mosaic and block patterns. They also sand, stain and apply finished coatings to timber floors.

  • Floor finishers generally work indoors in small teams. Conditions can be dusty and because the work requires a great deal of kneeling, twisting and lifting of heavy carpets and furniture, there is some risk of knee and back injury. You can prevent this however, if you take the time to lift objects in a way that prevents injury to your body. Typically, floor finishers work a 40 hour week, with some overtime required to meet construction deadlines. Evening and/or weekend work may be required when working at premises that may be in use during the day, such as retail or corporate businesses.

  • The majority of floor finishers work in the construction industry but there are also a number of positions in the retail trade. Many floor finishers set up their own business and work as sub contractors to retailers or floor covering businesses. Those working for retail organisations may combine the duties of retail sales and floor covering.

    For further information, contact:

    Australian Timber Flooring Association
    Phone: 1300 361 693
    Email: admin@atfa.com.au
    Website: www.atfa.com.au

    Master Builders Association of South Australia Inc
    Phone: (08) 8211 7466
    Email: buildsa@mbasa.com.au
    Website: www.mbasa.com.au