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Mastic asphalt is made from a mixture of limestone and bitumen. It is applied on construction sites by mastic asphalters to create tough, waterproof surfaces.


Average salaries are in the region of £15,000.00 to £35,000.00. Salaries will vary depending on location / employer

Career Profile

Mastic asphalt is made from a mixture of limestone and bitumen. It is applied on construction sites by mastic asphalters to create a tough, waterproof surface.

What they do

They use the material to seal and waterproof roofs, floors and walls for anything from car parks and underground spaces, to swimming pools.

This is a skilled job that involves heating the asphalt to the right temperature before spreading it using traditional techniques. Mastic asphalters use wooden hand-held floats to carefully coat a surface. The stuff is thermoplastic (it can change shape) when heated, then it cools to form a hard, waterproof coating.  

Typical duties include:

  • Assessing a site
  • Working out how much asphalt is needed
  • Preparing the area
  • Pouring and spreading, and sealing joints
  • Applying a surface finish such as sand-rubbed, polished, crimped, tiled or reflective to surfaces

Mastic asphalters work for specialist contractors, either as staff or hired labour on all sorts of projects. They work on surfaces we use everyday, such as railway platforms and footbridges. Many kinds of structures need mastic asphalters, these include bridges and multi-storey car parks, HGV service decks, access ramps and loading bays.

Learn more about construction careers – and some of the misconceptions surrounding them – with our Mythbusters.

You can also take our Personality Quiz to find out which construction career is right for you.

Case Study

We work on industrial projects such as factories and commercial projects including Kings Cross Station in London.

My daily job involves preparing the work area so it’s ready for us to lay the roof and tidying up at the end of the day. I lay roofs using different materials, including asphalt, felt, and liquid plastic. I also order materials for the site and store them in a safe place.

I’m also responsible for supervising the work of the other roofers on the project. At the moment I’m supervising a team of 11 roofers. Once a roof is laid you have to make sure any outstanding jobs have been done so the project is complete. This is known as ‘snagging’.

How did you get started?

I got into mastic asphalt roofing through my dad. He worked for BriggsAmasco and got me started on my career. I left school and went for an interview with BriggsAmasco and started a week later. This job appealed to me because it involved working outside and not being stuck in an office.

What do you enjoy about your job?

You get a degree of job satisfaction when you do a good job of an asphalt roof, it looks really good and you feel really proud. I don’t just do asphalt roofing I also do other types of roofing such as hot melt/rubberised asphalt (type of rubber) roofing and built-up felt roofing. We lay a liquid plastic roof on the Town Hall and Central Library in Manchester.

What skills do you need?

Asphalt roofing is very hard work and it can be physically demanding. You can get blisters on your hands so you need the right mindset to do the job. You also need good practical skills and to be good with your hands. It helps if you can get on with people and be thick-skinned at times!

Proudest career moment?

I was proud of gaining my Advanced Apprenticeship/NVQ 3 in Mastic Asphalting, which took me three or four years to complete.

What will you be doing in 10 years?

I’d really like to move over to the office or management side of the job.

Any advice about joining the construction industry?

To be a mastic asphalter you need to be prepared for hard work and to put the effort in. I’m glad I chose to join the construction industry as it can be fun and you have a good laugh with your teammates. I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a factory or an office, so for me being a mastic asphalter has been good.

Qualifications & Training

England & Wales

Some employers may want you to have GCSEs (or equivalent such as the Welsh Baccalaureate) in English, Maths and Design and Technology or the BTEC Certificate to qualify. An apprenticeship is a good way to start your career as a mastic asphalter.

Some experience of working on a building site can be useful in getting a foot in the door, but it’s not essential. If you haven’t worked in construction, think about being a labourer to start with. Then your boss may train you in asphalting.

Entry to an apprenticeship scheme usually involves taking a selection test. As an apprentice, you study for NVQ Level 2 and 3. To find an apprenticeship visit the Government's website here, or Careers Wales in Wales.

The Institute of Roofing offers its own qualifications, and will be able to offer you help and advice. To find out more, visit www.instituteofroofing.org

Scotland

The normal entry route is through a Modern Apprenticeship registered with the Scottish Building Apprenticeship Training Council (SBATC).

You do not always need formal qualifications, but Standard grade or National 4 or 5's in English, Maths and a technological subject are useful.

You usually have to take an aptitude test before entry. A driving licence is useful.

You should be fit, strong and agile, with no allergies to dust or fumes.

You must hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent to work on a site. You must pass a health and safety test to qualify for this scheme.

Training

With on the job and off the job training, you would work towards a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in Roofing Occupations (Construction) at Levels 2 and 3 and Applied Waterproof Membranes (Construction) (Built Up Bituminous Roofing) Level 2 (SCQF level 5).

To find an apprenticeship visit www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk or to find out more about the job visit www.myworldofwork.co.uk

Want to find out more?

Try our Matching Service for work experience opportunities in your local area, with new opportunities being added on a regular basis. 

Looking for a vacancy? 

Here are some construction vacancy websites you may find useful: 

Indeed

Job Rapido

The number of job vacancies related to your preferred job role may vary daily, as these are external websites. Check regularly to see new opportunities as they are posted.

Career trends and forecasts

55,480 total people needed

The UK construction industry will need a total of 55480 specialist building operative roles (which includes mastic asphalters) to meet demand every year from 2017 - 2021, according to the latest Construction Skills Network research (LMI). The majority of this demand will be in East of England and East Midlands.

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