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Choosing the best gloves for stone masonry, rock handling, bricklaying and concrete work

This article is about selecting the best stone, rock, brick and concrete work gloves. Stone and rock handling is among the most demanding jobs when it comes to the use of your hands. Thus, few work gloves would be ideal for this task and few will last for a long time. Here is some information about the specific qualities of gloves that will help you and why. At the end of this article there are a few models of gloves that we recommend for work with bricks, stones, and rocks.

Who this article is for

Stonemasons, bricklayers, landscapers and other professionals or hobbyists who handle abrasive materials mentioned above or would like to start handling them and want to learn how to protect their hands.

Safety issues that you must consider

Extreme abrasion – building materials are rough and abrasive. Moving them for a few minutes may be easy, but if you handle them for an hour or more – your light gloves will tear up and your hands can get hurt.

  • Uneven surfaces and protrusions – when grabbing stones, bricks, or concrete blocks, you never know if there will be a pointy protrusion on the edges you put your hands on. If you have gloves that are too light or no gloves at all, such protrusions can puncture your skin or tear your skin and tissue under it if you snag your hand on the protrusion and pull away or let the brick drop.
  • Low dexterity and clumsy grip – if your gloves don’t allow you to properly grip the materials you work with, then you would be more likely to drop them and cause injury to yourself and others near you (your feet or people working under you, if you are on a scaffold, for example).
  • Lack of padding – continuously lifting heavy stones with uneven surfaces will apply repeated pressure to some parts of your hands, causing fatigue and potentially damaging your tissue or nerves.
  • Chemicals – if you are working with mixing concrete or do other tasks that involve chemicals, you must be wary of what you work with and whether it may require special protection.
  • Inability to handle tools – if you wear heavy duty work gloves but sometimes have to use smaller tools, you should make sure that your ability to handle such tools will still remain despite the heavy gloves. It may be tempting to remove gloves to do the quick tasks requiring more dexterity, but it is easy to then forget to put the gloves back on and get palm injuries as your hands are likely tender from moisture build-up after wearing the gloves for some time.

Comfort and economy features to consider

  • Versatility – you’d normally have to handle other objects besides stones/bricks. If your gloves give sufficient dexterity to work with everything you need without removing your gloves – you will save time and make your work easier.
  • Snug fit – gloves with snug fit will be less likely to get caught up on something and get pulled off. They also normally give more dexterity and sensitivity.
  • Rip-stop abilities – what happens to your gloves if you get a small tear in them? Some gloves will quickly fall apart once a small tear appears, while others will not be affected by it.
  • Good wrist fit – debris could easily get inside your gloves from the wrist openings if glove wrists are loosely fit. If debris gets inside and gets lodged in the glove, it will scratch and might be hard to remove.
  • Ventilation – gloves with low ventilation will collect moisture and heat, making it uncomfortable to wear them. Constantly sweating into the gloves would also result in bacteria buildup and unpleasant smell from the gloves, requiring laundering or disposal of them.

Suggested stone masonry, bricklaying, rock handling gloves available from Legion Safety

Heavy duty gloves:

4Works HC3511 heavy duty nitrile gloves – thick and durable, perfect for handling bricks, stones, concrete blocks and other very abrasive materials, but not good for using small tools.

Steiner 0291 leather driver gloves – a good combination of durability and dexterity (better dexterity but a bit less abrasion resistance compared to 4Works HC3511 above), which comes at a high cost.

Lighter snug fit gloves:

4Works HR1202 premium nitrile palm nylon gloves – these are thin and very flexible. Nitrile on the palms is very strong for abrasion resistance, and the thin backing provides good ventilation and ease of movement and sensitivity. These gloves wouldn’t last as long as the heavy duty models above, but their lower cost and more versatility in use might make them very viable for the task.