Carpenters are the most versatile professionals. If you take a look around your house, you will see the work of a carpenter everywhere. From the kitchen to cabinets, to furniture and many more others have passed through the hands of a carpenter.
In fact, when it comes to construction, a carpenter is indispensable. They are involved in the setting of the foundation, building stairs, installing structures such as windows, d, cabinets and other fixtures. Their work is quite diverse and crucial in construction and also in our homes.
Carpenters deal with wood mostly. Despite their different specialization, one thing is common to all of them; they must be able to understand different drawings or blueprints to know what needs to be done and, they must be able to use hand and power tool.
The work of a carpenter mainly involves, measuring, marking and arranging materials to cut. They will then assemble them using a level and tools such as a miter cuter to achieve the appropriate measurements and shapes.
Different fields of carpentry:
- Furniture making
- Construction carpentry
Type of Carpenters
Since carpentry is a broad field, there are different specializations that a carpenter can specialize in to sharpen their skills. However, a majority of carpenters that work in construction and houses may have a broad range of skills to enable them to perform various tasks that come with this kind of field.
The bigger group of carpenters picks a specialization area to develop their level of expertise that they identify with and makes them more skilled.
Here are the different types of carpenters;
1. Rough Carpenters
The rough carpenter is also commonly referred to as framer. This kind of carpentry involves framing of a building, roofing, and formwork and are responsible for making sure that the building meets all the structural requirements and strength.
A lot goes on when building and a rough carpenter must know the task to perform when it comes to construction. They must be able to handle the framework of a home with proper skills that leaves no room for errors. They are also tasked with the knowledge of identifying the right equipment to use to be able to identify any error that might potentially affect the structure of a building.
2. Joister Carpenters
This one is responsible for putting the floor joists. They are horizontal boards that are connected to the frame of a structure at the position just beneath the floor and give a room where the floor door is attached. The joists provide the floor with the strength to hold weight and put on joists on decking for buildings.
3. Finish Carpenters
These are the carpenters who do finish carpentry. It includes cabinetry, fine woodwork, furniture making, model building, parquetry, instrument making and other forms of carpentry where the focus is on the exact joints on wood and preciseness is expected.
4. Trim Carpenter
We can say this one is self-explanatory. These types of carpenters specialize in trimming and molding of window casings, doors, baseboards, mantles and any other work that can be termed as ornamental. They all concentrate on cabinets, wardrobes, dressers, storage chests and any other form of furniture used in our homes.
5. Ship’s Carpenter
Just as the name seems to suggest, these types of carpenters are involved in shipbuilding. They perform tasks that entail maintenance, repair, and carpentry to ensure the safety of the ship.
This type of carpenter specializes in roofing construction that involves rafters, trusses, and beams.
Carpenter Services: What Do They Do?
As mentioned before, carpenters are versatile in their field. They can do various projects for you in your home depending on your needs.
Here are some of the services that carpenters offer.
Built – in wardrobes
A carpenter can expertly construct a wardrobe that can fit perfectly in your space. All you will probably need to do is give them your size preferences and leave the work to them.
Carpenters can work on various types of doors which include, joint doors, sliding doors or even bi-fold doors. Depending on your style, they deliver your door preferences to you.
If you prefer to have readymade windows, carpenters will deliver them to you. They can also custom make box sashes or hinged windows depending on your specifications.
You can add shelves to your wardrobes, bookshelves or cabinets to create more space. Based on your storage needs, a carpenter can create shelves for you.
Staircase and handrails
Carpenters have specialized in creating these two. Staircase nowadays can be utilized to create storage area by creating drawers on each of them. These are services that a carpenter can fully deliver for you.
If you have renovations needed in your house such kitchen cabinets, a carpenter can help you bring them back to the original state or renovate them to your preferred style.
Foaming and framework
Repairing the wooden frame of your house may not be common, but it’s necessary to do it once in a while. If your ceiling or floors, or your walls begin to sag down, it could be a sign that your floor joists or, sill and girders are experiencing water damage, or even worse are rotting. A carpenter specialized in this type of a project will diagnose the problem for you and offer framing services
Carpenter Services And Costs Factors
Carpenters work in different settings depending on their area of specialization. They can work in homes, offices, commercial spaces to repair, build, remodel, and update various items. They can work on your furniture, stairs, windows door and many others function that a homeowner may require.
Depending on the kind of job you need your carpenter to do, you can either provide materials, wood and hardware required, or you agree with the carpenter to provide everything needed to complete the job.
Some carpenters will charge an hourly rate for their service. Some of the services that are charged an hourly rate include repair work, installations, and custom furniture. The hourly rate will significantly depend on your region, experience of the carpenter and the reputation of the company. If a carpentry company is well known for its exemplary work, the rates may be a little higher possibly due to demand.
Most carpenters will charge hourly rates of $60-$100 depending on the nature of work to be done. Some jobs can be classified as small tasks such as skirting boards which can cost as low as $40 per hour.
However, for jobs considered as complex and extensive such as building a new kitchen or installing a built-in wardrobe can cost an average of $80 to $120 per hour. If you have a more specialized project like building a deck, you might be charged a flat rate after a carpenter assesses the size of the structure to see how much time they will take to complete the task.
A homeowner may want to have furniture made into their preferred style. In this case, you will give the carpenter the specific design that you want for your furniture. Custom furniture a great way to achieve your taste preferences and to ensure that it blends well with your home décor or office theme.
If you want a standalone bookshelf measuring 3×7 feet custom made, a carpenter can charge you an average of $500. A solid oak table will cost an average of $800 to have it custom made. A carpenter will charge an average of $6000 for a king size bed.
To get a polished look on finished carpentry, a carpenter will need to do trim work on their projects. A carpenter can also do trim work to update an existing space. Trim work can be done on door frames, baseboards, mantels, molding, window frames and any other ornamental wood projects.
Most carpenters will quote a price on trim work based on estimated cost per linear of the complete task to be done. However, the cost can also be affected by the type of material the client chooses to use, time and effort that the job demands. A carpenter will charge an average of $4.50 per linear foot.
Custom cabinets are designed as per your specifications. They are modeled to fit any shape of a kitchen, and they provide you with an endless choice of designs. The cost of materials is one of the primary determinants of the overall cost of having custom cabinets made for you by a carpenter.
With custom cabinets, you may shop around for material, and your wood preference or you give your carpenter your requirements. Other cost factors when making custom cabinets include the size of the cabinets, level of customization and cabinet hardware you choose. Most carpenters will charge an average of $500 to $1200 per linear foot.
Built – in wardrobes
Wardrobes help reduce clutter. Adding a wardrobe to your room will help you to be more organized. To have a built- in wardrobe a carpenter will charge an average of $1,500 if you are using cheaper materials and fittings. This cost, however, can rise to an average of $2500 if choose a higher quality material and it can sour up to an average of $5000 if you decide to have a luxury install with more elaborate designs.
These are some of the factors to keep in mind when having a built-in wardrobe:
Materials – The material you choose will affect the overall cost of your wardrobe. For example, if you want to cut costs, you can choose to use metal where suitable than wood. The whole idea is to reduce the amount of wood you use. You can also expect to spend more on your inbuilt wardrobe if you are considering doing a new flooring.
Location of the wardrobe – If the process of building will involve structural changes, a carpenter will charge more for the extra services.
Design – The design you settle for will also influence the total costs. Things like extra drawers and shelves come with extra materials and additional time of installation.
Wood Staircase and railings
Most homes have wood stairs and railings. The stairs are in continuous use and experience a lot of foot traffic. Due to this factor, you will need constant repairs and replacements with time. If the stairs are in good condition, a homeowner may want to want to update the interior and décor with a modern hardwood design.
A carpenter will charge you an average of $36 to $51 for each wooden stair tread. You will further be charged an average of $69 to $85 for a 17 feet handrail. If you include the cost of labor for handrails, the total cost comes to around $336 to $572. For a complete wooded staircase with 12 steps together with its handrails, you should expect to pay about $1,169 to $2,043 to a professional carpenter to build it for you.
Here are some the factors that will influence the overall cost building your stairs and railings.
- Where are your stairs located? Are they inside or outside the house?
- How many stairs do you have? The higher the number, the higher cost.
- How are the stairs placed? Is it Main stairway? Or, attic stairway?
- Are there any other pre-existing damages on the stairs?
- The shape of the staircase, is it spiral or, a split level?
- How is the railing placed? Is it balusters or against the wall?
Adding a new deck can be a way to increase the value of a home significantly. It helps add a living space without necessarily incurring the costs of adding a room. Timber decking is one of the best options for your home. A carpenter will charge you an average of $8,142 for a project of 200 -500 sq. Ft. including materials a used. An average homeowner is expected to spend around $7,000 to build a 200- 500 square foot deck. A carpenter can charge $2000 for smaller decks.
However, it’s important to note that the cost of building a deck depends on various factors like building materials, the size of the project and other extras to used to enhance functionality.
The table shows the average costs charged by carpenters for different projects;
|Small jobs||$40 per hr
|Average rates for most jobs||$60- $100
|Larger projects ||$80-120
|Standalone bookshelf 3x7 feet||$500
|Solid oak table||$800
|Trim work||$4.50 per linear foot
|Custom cabinets||$500-$1000 per linear foot
|Built in wardrobes||$1500-5000
|Wood staircase ||$36-$51 per tread
|Handrails 17 feet||$69-$85
|Handrails plus labor ||$336-572
|Complete wooden staircase 12 steps||$1,169- $2,043
|Decking Costs||$8,142 for 200-500 sq.ft
|Timber retaining wall||$150-$300 per square meter
|Timber fence||$60-$180 per linear meter
|Flooring –timber||$5-$100 per meter square
|House frame||$1,480 per meter square
Choosing the Best Carpenter for Your Project
Carpentry being a dynamic field, you need to narrow down your choices when getting a carpenter. The kind of project you want to be accomplished will determine the type of a carpenter you hire. For residential carpentry, it’s advisable to hire a general carpenter who will manage to handle multiple projects and repairs.
If your project requires a more refined carpentry such as custom kitchen cabinets, or built-in furniture, you will be better off with a finish carpenter.
Hiring a carpenter can be tricky. You need to know if the person you are hiring is the right one for the job and has the correct qualifications.
Qualifications of a Carpenter
A carpenter should be able to measure, cut, and shape the various materials they work with and assemble them to nail them into the required shape. A carpenter should be good with their hands, and they should be able to solve problems with skills that will deliver the job. On top of practical skills, they should have proper organizational skills, accuracy, and efficiency are mandatory for this kind of a job.
Since a carpenter is required to give details about the various projects they undertake and show how each of their steps will work, they need to have excellent communication skills and ability to work as a team. They need to keep their clients informed about the repairs and installation processes.
Additionally, a carpenter should be able to complete projects on time, and they should ensure that their work meets the building standards. Since their work involves heavy lifting, they should be physically fit to be able to climb ladders and withstand the long periods of working time.
Carpenters are required to enroll in a 3-4 year apprenticeship program in carpentry that enables them to be able to give attention to details, get necessary computer skills, learn how to use hand and power tools, be able to solve a math problem and most importantly, gain manual dexterity.
The apprenticeship program also enables individuals to learn how to read blueprints, learn about necessary safety practices and manage to get around 2000 hours of training in the field for practicals.
For more experienced carpenters, they can join a high school diploma or enroll for an associate degree in carpentry that will expose to diverse carpentry skills.
How to Hire the Right Carpenter
When you have a big task that requires the services of a carpenter, whether small or big, you need to take time before you hire someone. It’s essential to note that carpentry needs someone skilled that will deliver to your expectations. For example, if you need a carpenter to renovate your kitchen cabinets, you need the finished job to meet your desired style and complement your kitchen.
To entrust your valued furniture and home fixtures to a carpenter, you need to make sure you hire the right person for the job.
Here essential tips that will enable you to search for the right carpenter
You can get referrals from people close to you like your neighbors, colleagues, family members, and friends. If you know someone who had a recent repair job or a renovation, you can always ask them who did the job for them. The good thing about referrals from people you know, you can always ask to see the job that was done. By asking around you also get to know the carpenters to avoid either for their shoddy work or bad experiences with various people.
When getting a referral, always make sure you ask the questions that will help you know if the carpenter is the right one for your project. Ask about costs, their professionalism, and their availability. How was their experience working with the carpenter?
Would they hire them again for a carpentry job? These are the right kinds of questions that will help you know if the carpenter is good enough for you.
The beauty of the internet is information. You can get useful information on the kind of carpenter you want to hire from several platforms online. Most service providers have gone digital, and most of them have websites, or LinkedIn profiles, or even Facebook pages that enlist their services and estimated costs.
The power of information is in your hands. With just a mobile phone you can search for carpenters within your locality. However, you need to gather vital information about the carpenter you should hire. The internet is also full of cons, and therefore, caution should be exercised when getting a carpenter from the search engines.
Make sure you read reviews left on the internet by previous clients who have dealt with the particular carpenter you get on your search. Many good reviews are a good indication that the carpenter has a good track record. Also, be keen to check the ratings. How are people rating them? If they are getting a rating from different people, that’s a good sign. Research more, and if possible ask questions about their services to the see the kind of feedback you get.
Interview several carpenters
Do not settle for the first carpenter that comes to your list. Get at least three of them and try to get quotes for comparison. Be wary of some hidden costs that may not come up at first interaction with the carpenter. Several quotes will give you an average estimate for your project, and you will also be able to know if a particular carpenter is overcharging you.
10 Questions to Ask a Carpenter Before You Hire Them
Before you hire a carpenter, you will need to gather information from them that will help you know about their qualifications and gauge where they are the right fit. You need to find out about their work ethics; do they understand the importance of safety and regulations? How is their knowledge about equipment, and are they motivated enough to deliver excellent work?
These and many more questions listed below will enable you to make the right choice.
1. Are you licensed?
Most carpenters are required to have an operating license for their business. You should find out from the licensing board if your locality requires carpenters to be licensed. As a homeowner, you need to work with someone who has passed the regulations necessary to obtain the required permits to allow them to work and operate a business.
Ask to see the license and make sure it’s for carpentry and not other field and also to be sure it’s current and not expired. You need to work with someone who has the right credentials for the kind of work you are about to give them. A reputable carpenter who has established themselves in the business will gladly provide you with a copy of their license and all other registration details.
2. Are you insured?
Carpentry involves the use of power tools, climbing, and other risky processes. The carpenter needs to have both general insurance that protects your property and home in the event of damages and other disasters; also, they need a worker’s compensation that will protect you from any liabilities should the carpenters get injured as they work on your property.
Ask to see the copies of their insurance certificates to ascertain that the details are as they say and the cover is valid.
3. Ask the carpenter how long they have operated their business
Experience in carpentry is essential. It’s true that everyone has to start from somewhere, but if you have to work with someone inexperienced, they need to be under someone’s supervision. If you are doing a home remodeling or building a deck, you need someone who has done similar jobs in the past.
A carpenter with over six years of practice is likely to be established and has worked on several projects. Such a carpenter has a reputation to protect since they have built their business and therefore, they are less likely to disappoint. Do your research if you feel you need to know more about their business and make sure your voice your concerns to the carpenter.
4. Do you have references that I can contact?
If you are going to hire a carpenter for any services, you should not just take their word for their quality of work. You need to hear from their past clients. If a carpenter has a good name, they must have clients who will put in a good testimony for them. Call the references and inquire the kind of project the carpenter did for them. How was it done? How was their experience working with the carpenter? Was the carpenter professional? Find out more details from the references to get an insight into the carpenter’s nature of work.
5. How is my schedule?
Your carpenter needs to give you a schedule on how they will carry out your project. You should note that a start and end date is not enough. You need to know the sequence of tasks and the days they will carry them out. Sometimes a contractor may have too many projects running and try to sequence all your work near the deadline.
Ask for a detailed schedule with a start date and proper lead times so that you stay aware of every stage of your project. You will also be to know when they are lagging behind the schedule and ask for an explanation.
6. Ask if they will be available every day
You need to know who will be responsible for your project and about their availability. Will they be there every day or on specific hours of the day? Ask if they will have workers on the project and who will supervise them? You need to know the days and specific times that they will be at your property so that you can also plan yourself and be present at your home or organize for someone to be around when they are working.
7. Ask how they will protect your property
Remember the carpenter will be working on your property, and in your house. If there is any demolition or process that can affect other properties like dust, you need to know what measures they will take to protect everything around their working area.
You need to have this conversation with your carpenter before they start their operations in your home. Ask them if they have dust containment measures that will ensure your house and other stuff are not affected by dust.
8. What concerns do you with my project?
This is one of the critical questions to ask your carpenter. There are always unforeseen changes that may come up when the project is underway. It’s essential to ask your carpenter the likely scenarios that may necessitate changes in the project. Are there any additional costs that are likely to come up? Your carpenter may already be aware of the possible situations that your project may present later, and will inform you so that you can be prepared.
You should anticipate for changes in the project by discussing it with your carpenter. Let your carpenter put the expected changes down in writing and their possible costs to avoid disagreements in the later when the cost issue come up.
9. Ask about the scope of work and the process
You should be aware of the process and action they will take for the project. Let your carpenter give you details of how they will carry out the remodeling or the repair process. Just from the way they explain their work procedure, you will be able to know how well versed the carpenter is in that particular field of carpentry. If there are pauses, or the carpenter appears not confident, that should be a red flag.
10. Ask if their bids are fixed costs or estimates
Sometimes a carpenter may give an estimate that may be open to other costs after the completion of the project. Clarify from the beginning about the cost of the project and have it in writing. Let them assess the project and give you the final cost of the project to eliminate misunderstandings later when the project has started.
Avoid Getting Scammed By Carpenters
While there are plenty of good carpenters who take their business with seriousness, there are scammers out there whose sole purpose is to scam unsuspecting people seeking for carpentry services. It can be very disappointing if you invest in a project only for a carpenter to mess it up with a shoddy job and disappear.
These are the kind of carpenters who seem legit only to turn out to be nothing but con men. You need to be armed with sufficient information to be able to detect a fraud miles away before you even contemplate hiring them.
Here are pointers that should help you to avoid getting scammed by dishonest carpenters.
Avoid upfront payments
Some carpenters will use all sorts of excuses to make you pay for a project in full before it even starts. Avoid such carpenters like the plague. Two scenarios are likely to happen when you pay upfront: the carpenter has no intentions whatsoever to perform the work you are paying them to do, and will that is the last time you will see them; two, they deliver a poor job knowing there is nothing much you can do about it.
The only amount you can pay upfront is 10% of the total to show that you are committed, and you are a serious customer. The rest should be paid after the completion of the project to your satisfaction.
Ask for a written agreement
A verbal agreement can surprise you when things go haywire. Anything discussed should be put on the contract including the extras. A carpenter may fail to do something useful for the project and claim that it was not included in the project. Therefore make sure all the details are put down in writing and signed by both parties.
The permit lies
Some carpenters will lie to you that they do not have to get a building permit. If your project involves structural modifications and alteration, make sure that they get the permit. If they are not willing to do so, they may not be licensed. Avoid working with such carpenters.
Offering to use leftover materials from previous jobs
This is one is a common hoax used by some carpenters who have substandard materials that they know they cannot sell anywhere. If the deal seems too real, avoid it. The risk is too high to take. What happens if everything starts to fall after they are gone? Or the wood starts to squeak or to chip weeks after the job has been completed? Never let yourself to be talked into such deals, in fact, avoid such a carpenter by means possible.
Carpenters are essential professionals in our homes, offices and construction field. Their skills and expertise are vital in many areas including construction, home remodeling, and repairs. They can remodel and build kitchen, cabinets, bathrooms, floors, framework doorways, windows, decking, paneling and many other tasks that need their skills.
Carpenters have the experience to carry out various tasks by use of hand and power tools. They work with blueprints to measure, cut and assemble different pieces into the desired design. With a good carpenter, you can transform furniture and home into a stylish up to date entity to be admired. Research widely to get the best carpenter for your project, and make sure they possess the right certification and documentation to carry out your task.