What you need to know about hiring a carpenter

A carpenter is a member of the construction trade who builds, erects, installs and repairs objects which are made mainly from wood, although they are sometimes made from other materials. They are skilled craftsmen who carry out an extensive variety of woodworking, which ranges from constructing buildings to making furniture. Carpenters form one of the largest building trade occupations, about a third of which are self-employed whereas others will work for contractors.

When would I need a carpenter?

Carpenters are needed for a variety of different aspects associated with building a house. They are used for the framing walls and partitions, building stairs, making door and window frames and installing them, making cabinets and installing them, shaping furniture as well as many other smaller tasks.

What does a carpenter do?

Carpenters take on a variety of different tasks which all fall under the following jobs:
  • Reading and interpreting blueprints and drawings, which they then use to create an item.
  • Being given a task and having to plan the most effective and efficient way to complete it.
  • Having and using knowledge of different types of wood and their qualities, including grain, density and flexibility, to make an informed decision about which to use for the project.
  • Laying out, measuring, cutting, putting together and joining various items and materials.
  • Using a variety of different hand and power tools according to safety instructions and as effectively as possible.

What are the different types of carpenter?

Most carpenters that are used in houses and for building construction need a broad range of skills, so that they can adapt to the environment and perform many of the different tasks needed. However, often carpenters will specialise in one or two main areas, so that they can develop significant expertise. Although this may mean that they lose out on certain areas, they will be more attractive to people who require their type of work, as they will be more skilled than other carpenters.
  • Rough Carpenter – this type of carpenter unsurprisingly does rough carpentry, which includes framing, formwork, roofing, and other structural and large-scale work which does not require joining or polishing.
  • Joister – this is type of carpenter lays floor joists, which are horizontal boards that are connected to the frame of a structure just below the door level. Floor joists give a position to which a floor is attached. They also add extra strength to the floor for holding weight, and are put on decking for buildings.
  • Finish Carpenter or Joiner – finish carpentry includes cabinetry, furniture making, fine woodworking, model building, parquetry, instrument making and other such wood fashioning. The focus here is on wood where exact joints and minimal margins of error are vital.
  • Trim Carpenter – this carpenter specialises in mouldings and trims, for example mantles, skirting boards, door and window casings, and other such ornamental work. Cabinet installers are also included in this bracket.
  • Cabinet Maker – although this seems self-explanatory, these carpenters perform fine and detailed work, concentrating on making cabinets, dressers, wardrobes, storage chests and other furniture.
  • Ship’s Carpenter – these professionals specialise in shipbuilding, as well as all maintenance and repairs on the ship/boat.
  • Framer – a framer is responsible for building the skeletal structure, or the framework, of buildings.
  • Roofer – this type of carpenter specialises in roof construction, focusing mainly on the rafters, beams and trusses.