What are the Different Types of Carpentry Roles?

Jun 7, 2022 · 4 minutes to read

Carpentry is one of the oldest skilled trades, and it is still in high demand today. As the construction industry continues to grow in many parts of the United States, the demand for quality carpentry work is likely to increase as well.

A carpenter cuts plank by circular saw in a workshop.

Becoming a carpenter could be a wise choice for anyone wishing to enter the skilled trades. There are many types of carpenter roles available in industries as varied as home renovation and film & television production. Let’s look at some of the most popular types of carpentry work that you might choose to focus on.

Categories of Carpentry

There are two general categories of carpentry:

Rough carpentry

A rough carpenter focuses on a building’s “skeleton”. They construct the rough framing of a structure, including walls, rafters, posts, floors, beams, and the roof.

Rough carpentry work must meet strict building codes and strength standards. As a rough carpenter, you will need a strong understanding of different materials and know how to read blueprints.

Finish carpentry

A finish carpenter completes the work a rough carpenter has started. They install drywall, windows, stairs, crown moulding, trim, and other design features that finish off a room or building.

Because finish carpentry work will be seen, you must be able to produce clean work that is often finely detailed.

Carpentry Subcategories

Though all carpentry work falls into either rough or finish carpentry, there are many subcategories within these groups. As such, there are many types of carpenters trained to fill these different roles.

Carpentry subcategories include (but are not limited to):

1. Residential Carpentry

This type of carpentry focuses on residential buildings—houses, townhouses, condos, and apartments. A residential carpenter primarily builds new homes or remodels existing ones.

2. Commercial Carpentry

A commercial carpenter works on commercial buildings, such as offices, retail stores, malls, restaurants, and other places where people do business. They may be involved in new builds or renovations.

3. Industrial Carpentry

This area of carpentry focuses on industrial structures, like dams, tunnels, or bridges. This is a highly specialized kind of carpentry.

4. Trim Carpentry

A trim carpenter installs trims and mouldings around doors, windows, baseboards, mantles, and other interior areas of a building. This is a type of finish carpentry, so the work must be precise and neat.

5. Cabinetry

Cabinetry (also referred to as cabinet making) is another type of finish carpentry. A cabinet maker builds custom cabinet and shelving solutions for residential and commercial spaces. Some cabinet makers may also specialize in making custom and bespoke furniture.

6. Roofing

This area of carpentry specializes in roof construction for residential or commercial properties (either new construction, remodels, or repairs). A roofer plans, builds, and maintains all parts of a roof, making sure durable materials are used throughout.

7. Scenic Carpentry

A scenic carpenter builds sets and stage elements for live performances, film, and television. This type of carpentry can test a carpenter’s problem-solving skills, as their work must be durable yet easy to move, store, and disassemble.

8. Shipbuilding

Ship carpentry is the building and repairing of boats. While some shipbuilders do work with wood, you will often need to be familiar with other materials, such as metals and fibreglass.

9. Green carpentry

A carpenter practicing green carpentry is concerned with using environmentally friendly materials and sustainable ways of working. They may provide carpentry tips or recommendations to other contractors on a project to meet a client’s sustainability goals.

Choosing Your Carpentry Role

These are just some of the many types of carpenters and carpentry work that a contractor might dedicate their working life to. Each requires a unique set of skills and knowledge to do the job well and build a successful career.

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