Finishing Work | Article about Finishing Work by The Free Dictionary

(in construction), a group of construction operations relating to the exterior and interior finishing of buildings and structures to enhance their service and aesthetic qualities. Finishing work is the concluding stage of construction; in many cases, the overall quality of a building or structure being put into service depends on the quality of its execution. The main types of finishing work include facing, plastering, flooring (and parquetry), painting, wallpapering, and glazing.

In modern construction practice for residential, public, and industrial buildings, the technology of finishing work has changed substantially. Increasingly widespread use is being made of large prefabricated units, structures, and parts that are delivered to the construction site in final finished form (for example, wall panels and roof slabs, sanitary facilities, and window and door units). This substantially reduces the postassembly finishing work. Industry has mastered production of a number of effective finishing materials that make it possible to eliminate the most laborious and time-consuming processes (the “wet” processes) and to improve the quality of the finish (sheets of thistle board, facing slabs, plastic shingles, and water-resistant wallpaper).

Finishing work is carried out at construction sites by means of various types of mechanized equipment (movable plastering and painting equipment, units for installing floors made of polymeric materials, puttying apparatus, polishing machines, smoothing machines, paint sprayers, and vibration pumps) that substantially facilitate and accelerate the processes of finishing buildings and reduce the number of operations. However, finishing work is still very labor-intensive, and for residential construction it accounts for up to 35 percent of all labor expenditures in construction and assembly operations.

Among the most labor-intensive types of finishing work are facing operations, for the purpose of covering the front surfaces of structures with inlaid products made of natural or artificial materials. All facing products are usually delivered to a construction site in ready-to-use form, in predetermined sizes, coloring, and textures. Facing operations may be of the exterior or interior type, depending on the kind of products being used and the means of attaching them to the surfaces.

Exterior facing operations consist mainly in finishing the fronts of buildings and structures with slabs and parts made of natural stone, facing brick, or ceramic blocks; they are usually done with interior scaffolding at the same time as the walls are being laid. The space between the wall and the facing is filled with cement mortar. Stone facing is sometimes applied to finished walls; in this case exterior scaffolding is used. The facing is attached to the wall by means of fasteners, which are embedded in holes drilled in the wall, and by filling the recesses with mortar. Facings are also attached by means of steel bars or rods. Facing must be constructed to avoid the possibility of penetration of moisture through seams and joints of the facing products.

In modern mass construction, an assortment of materials and products are used for interior facing work, which is mainly the facing of walls, floors, and ceilings. Such products make it possible to vary and improve the interior finishing of buildings; they include ceramic and plastic tiles, chipboard, fiberboard, asbestos-cement boards (including those with enameled surfaces), decorative plywood, paper-laminated plastic, and decorative acoustic panels. The finishing operations inside a building are usually done after the general construction work has been completed. Before the facing work is begun, all buried wiring must be laid; the installation of the risers, water pipes, and drain pipes must be completed; the surfaces to be faced must be even and dry; the products must be sorted according to shape, size, and color; and, if necessary, the edges must be ground in and holes must be drilled. The facing articles are attached by means of mortars, mastics, shaped framing moldings, and drift bolts.


Stroilel’nye normy i pravila. Part 3, sec. V, ch. 13: Otdelochnye pokrytiia
stroitel’nykh konstruktsii. Moscow, 1963.
Blokhin, B. N., and A. A. Galaktionov. Otdelochnye materialy i raboty. Moscow, 1962.
Goriachev, V. I. Oblitsovochnye raboty plitochnye i mozaichnye. Moscow, 1972.

(in machine building), the group of final operations on metals that result in high accuracy of the dimensions and shape of parts and improve the surface quality. The processes used in finishing a surface may be mechanical (machining and pressure working), electrochemical, or electrophysical. Machining operations that remove a small chip are the most common finishing methods; they include fine turning, reaming, milling, shaving, grinding, lapping, polishing, honing, and su-perfinishing. Surface finishing methods that do not remove a chip include drawing and stamping, which are performed in a cold state by pressure, without disrupting the continuity of the material. Also used are such methods of finishing as rolling, precision forging, burnishing with rollers and balls, and shot-blasting, which harden the surface as a result of plastic deformation and reduce its surface roughness.

Electrophysical and electrochemical treatments, which are often called dimensional machining, are used mostly for finishing materials that ’are not amenable to machining, as well as for the production of complex contours. The main processes involved in this type of finishing are electromachining, spark machining, and electric-pulse machining.


Tekhnologiia metallov i drugikh konstruktsionnykh materialov. Leningrad, 1972.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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