Lathers work with lath, a supporting base made out of metal, plastic, or gypsum, which is fastened to walls, ceilings, and roofs. Lath provides a foundation for the application of plaster, tile, roofing material, fireproofing, and acoustical material. (Lathers should not be confused with machinists who work on power-driven equipment called lathes.)
Minimum Education Level
Some contractors pay lathers according to how many panels they install per day; others pay an hourly rate. The earnings of experienced lathers vary according to different geographic regions, but the average hourly wage rates compare favorably with others in the skilled building trades. According to May 2015 data from the U.S. Department of Labor, workers in drywall installation (including lathe...
Most lathers work a standard 40-hour week and earn extra pay for overtime. The work is performed both indoors and outdoors in all kinds of weather on construction sites—which generally are not heated. Much of a lather's workday is spent on his or her feet, often on ladders and scaffolds. Possible hazards of the trade include cuts, falls, strains from lifting heavy objects, and injuries from pow...
In recent years, the increased use of drywall (a less expensive substitute for lath and plaster) as a wall covering material has increased the demand for drywall installers while decreasing the demand for lathers. Opportunities for lathers will still remain, though, as the population increases and business growth create good opportunities in the construction industry. Through 2028, the U.S. Dep...