How to Hire a Carpenter for Home Repairs
Check credentials and get referrals before hiring a carpenter
By Stevie Donald
Carpentry skills are an integral part of many home repairs. A rough carpenter frames your home and does structural woodwork for additions and roofs. A trim or finish carpenter does everything from replacing windows to installing doors, crown moulding and building custom book shelves. Hire a carpenter based on the type of work you need done by getting referrals and checking her credentials.
- What You Need to Know
- Have a solid understanding of the scope of your job.
- Check references, licensing and insurance. Your contractor should be licensed in your state to do the kind of work you want done. You contractor should have wokers' compensation and general liability.
Research the type of work you need done so you can give carpenters a fair idea of your expectations. For instance, if you need a dozen interior doors, casings and trim installed, consider whether you want paint grade or stain grade wood. Check door options at lumber yards so you have an idea of what different types will cost. Consider who will fill nail holes and caulk, and who will do the drywall and paint touch-up afterward.
Put the word out among people you know that you are looking for a carpenter. Try to get referrals for carpenters who have done the same sorts of home repairs you need to have done.
Get three estimates, making sure each carpenter is on the same page as far as materials, time frame and the scope of the job. Determine how particular you are going to be about the overall level of quality in the job. It's reasonable to set a different standard for work done in your own home compared to work performed on an investment or rental property. Be clear about your expectations.
Ask questions and be willing to listen to ideas for ways to approach your home repairs. The more research you've done, the better able you'll be to critically evaluate the carpenter's advice and consider your options.
Compare the estimates, and call back to ask about large discrepancies in pricing or to clarify any points you're not clear about. Don't simply hire a carpenter based on the cheapest bid, especially if the job is complex or requires building permits and inspections. You may be spending a lot of money on home repairs and entrusting the carpenter with your property. Be sure this is someone you are comfortable working with.
Ask for references and check them. Also make sure that a carpenter you plan to hire is insured, and has any required state or local licensing. Determine whether he is aware of local building codes and willing and able to pull building permits if necessary.
Set a reasonable pay schedule if it's a larger job. The Federal Trade Commission recommends a down payment no larger than a third of the total cost. Keep progress payments commensurate with the progress and don't make a final payment until the work is completed to your satisfaction.
About the Author
Stevie Donald is a regular contributor to DexKnows. She has been a painting contractor since 1979.
Browse By Top DexKnows Cities
- St Paul
Your outdated kitchen can receive a complete makeover by replacing cabinetry, but cost is always a factor in any remodel project. Always consider interior design style and material selections before jumping into a remodeling project. A 10-by-12-foot kitchen cabinet remodel can cost around $5,000 using stock cabinets--or much higher. Cabinets are often the single biggest cost in a kitchen remodel.... Read More