Joiner or Carpenter, what's the difference?

When you need something made out of wood, do you call a carpenter or a joiner? Is there a difference between the two. Even though carpenters and joiners share some of the same skills, the overlapping of those skills does not erase the fact that they are indeed two separate and distinct trades. Although both are considered to be carpentry, each of these contractors specialises in skills exclusive to their craft. 

A joiner usually makes the timber products that a carpenter fixes on-site. So, for example, a joiner might be employed to make the doors, frame and windows for a new building. Traditionally joiners would ‘join’ wood in a workshop; whereas a carpenter would construct the building elements on site. Carpenters would install the products made by joiners, and construct features like the roof trusses, joisted floors and stud-work for partitioning the building. It is not true that the difference between a carpenter and joiner is in whether or not they use nails! A joiner might not be as skilful as the carpenter in fitting the piece they have constructed, so it’s always worth checking your contractors credentials. Similarly, a carpenter might be able to install something perfectly, but is not the right person to do the initial wood-work. For some jobs, you might need both a joiner and a carpenter, and as such, it might be easier to employ a business that can provide both trades. Both joiners or carpenters requires a lot of skill and attention to detail and essential maths skills, as measuring needs to be precise. 

Common jobs for joiners include: making doors, window frames, fitted furniture, stairs, bookshelves and tables. 

Common jobs for carpenters include fitting wooden structures such as floors, staircases, fixing window frames and installing cupboards and shelving. 

How to decide:

In deciding whether to employ a carpenter or joiner, it is best to pick a contractor according to their experience relative to the project. For example, extensions or alterations to a historic building would require specialised knowledge and experience in building conservation. If you need both a carpenter and joiner, employing a business that provides both services. It is easier to manage a project if you do not have to coordinate several contractors and it avoids miscommunication in problems arise.

Do you need a joiner to make bespoke furniture or a carpenter to install new wardrobes? can help!

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