How much does it cost to hire a carpenter?
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Carpenter Cost Guide
Updated: October 3, 2022
If you’re having any structural work or wood work done in or around your home, a carpenter may be the right pro to call in. Carpenters take care of many different jobs involving wood and lumber. They frame homes and roofs, build and install cabinetry, and can create or repair most things in your home that are made of wood.
The national average rate for what carpenters charge per hour is $75 to $125 per person depending on the type of carpentry work you are having done and the level of mastery the carpenter has for the job. Most homeowners pay around $90 for a journeyman carpenter doing general carpentry work. The low cost is around $40 an hour for an apprentice carpenter doing rough carpentry work, while the high cost is $200 for a master carpenter doing finish work.
Carpenter Cost per Hour
|Carpenter Price per Hour
|National average cost
Carpentry Labor Rates by Billing Method
Carpenters may charge for their work in two different ways, depending on the type of the job. Most will charge for their work by the hour. However, some rough carpenters who do framing work and other faster and less detail oriented jobs may charge by the square foot for their work instead. Keep in mind that the following costs are all for the labor the carpenter provides, and do not include what they may charge for materials. Below is a comparison of the two billing methods.
|Per Square Foot
|$4 - $10
|$40 - $200
Carpentry Cost per Square Foot
In general, a carpenter’s square foot rate will range from $4 to $10 a square foot. Carpenters may charge per square foot for rough work, which includes framing, joists, and some roofing. What your ultimate carpenter rate per square foot price will be can vary depending on the material and the location of the work. Some materials can be harder and more difficult to work with, which can increase costs. Likewise, locations that are difficult to access may have higher costs per square foot than areas that are easily accessed.
Carpenter Rates per Hour
The average hourly rate for a carpenter is $75 to $125, but the total range is $40 to $200 per hour, depending on the job and the level of mastery the carpenter has. This is particularly true if they are doing finish work, building cabinets or a kitchen island, or doing any type of work that may be time consuming in detail, but not necessarily take up a lot of space.
What your carpenter charges can vary depending on the job, the level of detail, the material they are working with, what their specialty is, and what their level of expertise is. Apprentice carpenters will typically charge less, while master carpenters will charge the most. Finish carpenters and cabinet makers typically have higher costs than general carpenters or framing carpenters as well. The more detailed an item tends to be, and the more skilled the carpenter is at that type of work, the higher the rate you are likely to pay.
Carpenter Rates by Specialty
While there are general carpenters who do a wide range of different tasks, most carpenters specialize in one area. Some may do general rough carpentry, which can include framing and joists, while others may specialize in just framing or joists. Others may enjoy finish work or will stick strictly to trim. You may find that your carpenter may subcontract out specific work, such as trim work while they do the bulk of the job. So a carpenter subcontractor rate may be different or lower than what they may charge themselves. This can lead to a wide range of different costs depending on the job. Typically, the more detailed and fine the work that is being done, the higher the hourly rate, while rough carpentry typically has lower hourly rates or costs that are given by the square foot. Below are the average carpenter prices per hour for the various specialties.
|Cost per Hour
|Cost per Sq.Ft.
|$40 - $60
|$4 - $10
|$75 - $125
|$75 - $200
|$80 - $200
The average cost of rough carpentry per hour is $40 to $60. The cost per square foot generally ranges from $4 to $10 per foot. Rough carpentry is a general term that is used for most structural carpentry work. A rough carpenter may do house framing, roof framing and decking, trusses, and floor joists, or any one of these things. Rough carpentry is typically faster than other types, and is therefore more commonly priced per square foot for labor, particularly for larger jobs. For smaller rough carpentry jobs, you may be quoted an hourly rate. Keep in mind that these rates are per carpenter; if you have two carpenters framing your home, your total hourly costs will be $80 to $120, while total square foot costs would be $8 to $20.
|Cost per Hour
|Cost per Sq.Ft.
|$40 - $60
|$4 - $10
|$40 - $60
|$4 - $10
|$40 - $60
|$4 - $10
Framing Carpenter Hourly Rate
The average rate of a framing carpenter is $40 to $60 per hour. Framing carpenters may also charge by the square foot with an average cost of $4 to $10 a foot. Framing is a subcategory of rough carpentry. Some carpenters may specialize only in framing, however, rather than in general rough carpentry work. This work is usually faster than finish work, so it may be priced per square foot more frequently than per hour.
The average cost of a roof carpenter is $40 to $60 per hour. These carpenters also frequently charge per square foot at an average cost of $4 to $10 per square foot. This type of carpentry also falls under the rough category, although some carpenters may specialize. These carpenters work on roof frames including trusses, rafters, and decking. Keep in mind that these workers do not install the finish material on the roof; they only build out the frame for it. Because this work is generally faster than finish work, they often charge by the square foot more frequently than hourly.
The average hourly rate of a joister is $40 to $60 per hour. Costs per square foot are generally $4 to $10 a foot. A joister is a carpenter who works primarily on floor joists. This is another type of rough carpentry, although some carpenters may specialize. Joisters do not typically install the finished flooring. Sometimes you may find a carpenter that will create a custom wood floor as well as installing the joists, but these are generally two separate jobs.
The average hourly rate of a carpenter who creates cabinetry is $75 to $125 an hour. Cabinet makers may make kitchen and bathroom cabinets, as well as shelving, entertainment centers, built-in cabinets, and other types of similar furniture. Many of these carpenters will create custom cabinetry and furnishings, rather than relying on stock boxes. For example, if you need a cabinet that is a specific shape or size, you would hire a cabinet maker to complement the rest of the room’s cabinets or furnishings. Due to the nature of this work, it is not typically priced by the square foot.
General Carpenter Rates
General carpenter rates can range from $75 to $200 depending on what you are having built. A general carpenter doesn’t usually specialize in only one area. Instead, they may do some trim and finish work, some flooring, and some cabinetry. If you have several small and varying projects, a general carpenter may be a good choice. Because they can take on many different types of projects, their hourly rates may vary. The more intricate the work, the higher the costs will likely be. Likewise, the more skilled the carpenter, the higher the rate that they will charge.
Finish Carpenter Hourly Rate
The hourly rate of a finish carpenter is $80 to $200 on average. Finish carpenters are the ones who detail and complete the surface wood areas of your home. They may specialize in custom cabinetry or shelving, or they may inlay custom wood floors or build furniture. Sometimes a finish carpenter will work with a joister, rough carpenter, or general carpenter to complete a job. Most types of trim will fall under the finish category, but many finish carpenters will subcontract this job out. Because these carpenters are typically highly skilled, they often have some of the highest costs. Due to the nature of finish work, this is not usually priced by the square foot.
Trim Carpentry Labor Rates
The labor rates for trim carpentry are typically $40 to $75 an hour. They are lower than the average cost for finish carpentry because carpenters usually subcontract this task out at a lower rate. Trim carpentry is a subtype of finish work, although general carpenters and finish carpenters also do this work, however. This work is not typically priced by the square foot. Trim may be installed on cabinets and furniture, or on walls, doors, and windows. Some carpenters may make their own trim, while others only install, which can impact the costs.
Average Carpenter Hourly Rate by Level of Expertise
Carpenters may price their rates based on their level of expertise. Most carpenters begin as an apprentice, meaning that they will be working under a licensed carpenter or contractor who can oversee their work. For most jobs, you will likely hire a journeyman carpenter. This is someone who has completed their training and has the appropriate licenses to operate in your state or area. A master carpenter is an advanced and highly skilled worker who can handle jobs of any type. A skilled carpenter hourly rate may be higher than average, but this can vary. Below are the average hourly rates for the various levels of expertise a carpenter may possess.
|Cost per Hour
|$40 - $50
|$50 - $125
|$75 - $200
An apprentice carpenter may charge $40 to $50 an hour. Keep in mind, though, that they will not be working alone. An apprentice will be overseen by a skilled carpenter who can make sure they are doing the work properly. Sometimes a journeyman or master carpenter will charge a higher rate, of which a portion is subcontracted out to the apprentice, with the remainder going to themselves for their work overseeing the project. Most apprentices do not work on their own, but they may take on small jobs as they begin to gain skill and confidence.
A journeyman carpenter may charge between $50 and $125 an hour. The rate can depend on the type of work they are doing. A journeyman carpenter is someone who has completed their training and licensing. They may specialize in one area, or they may be a general contractor who can work on or oversee a wide range of jobs. Some journeyman carpenters may even have skills that rival master carpenters. Licensing does vary by state, as do rates, so make sure to check with your municipality about licenses before hiring.
Master Carpenter Hourly Rate
The rate of a master carpenter may range from $75 to $200 an hour. There is no test or certification program for master carpenters. Any person may call themselves a master carpenter, but typically those that do have some greater level of skill than journeymen. A carpenter who claims to be a master will generally be able to exhibit skills that will warrant a higher rate. When hiring a master carpenter, you may want to take a look at their portfolio of previous work. Master carpenters are generally recognized to have skill in every area of the trade.
Carpentry Price List for Small Projects
Carpenters can take on a wide range of different projects. These can include things like custom cabinets and shelving, wood repair, doors, windows, custom trim work, and furniture. Custom carpentry costs can vary depending on the type of the project, the level of detail, and the type of wood that the project is built from. Harder, more difficult woods can increase the cost of a project, while softer woods and readily sourced domestic woods may have lower costs.
For small projects, carpenters will generally give you a cost for the project as a whole, rather than quoting an hourly rate. They may also give you a cost per item, such as per door or they may price things out per linear foot for things like trims and cabinets. For example a custom cabinetry cost is generally per linear foot unless you are having a single cabinet built, in which case you will get a single cost. This is because most carpenters who take on these types of projects are able to estimate ahead of time the length of time it will take them to complete the job, and will be able to extrapolate this and the cost of the material to give you a finished quote. Materials, size, and the level of detail will all factor into the final price. Below are the costs for labor and materials of some of the most common small projects carried out by carpenters.
|$50 - $200/unit
|$200 - $12,000/unit
|$250 - $450/unit
|$300 - $2,000/unit
|$2,500 - $5,000/unit
|$1.30 - $4.50/linear foot
|$550 - $570/linear foot
|$70 - $150/small repair
Carpenter Work Price List for Large Projects
Carpenters may also work on larger projects such as home additions or major structural additions such as decks, pergolas, and gazebos. For example, they may do the framing and joists for an addition, or they may build a custom deck from start to finish. They may also do larger interior jobs such as laying an intricate, custom wood floor or ceiling. Keep in mind that sometimes you may hire someone other than a carpenter for some of these jobs. If you want a deck built out of Trex, you will likely hire a deck contractor that specializes in this rather than a carpenter. Likewise, if you want a generic wood floor, you would hire a flooring installer and not a carpenter for the job. If you’re looking for something custom and made of wood, however, then a carpenter is likely the right person for the job. Below are some of the common larger projects that a carpenter may handle and their average costs per project, including labor and material.
|$4 - $10/sq.ft.
|$6 - $12/sq.ft.
|$6 - $12/sq.ft.
|$1,900 - $6,500
|$4,000 - $12,000
|$6,000 - $8,000
|$7,500 - $10,000
How to Hire a Carpenter
Hiring a carpenter should be done similarly to hiring other professionals to work on your home. Always meet with and get quotes from at least three carpenters so you can compare things like costs, proposed materials, timeline, and their past work and portfolios. Because carpenters can specialize in different areas, be sure to ask what type of work they regularly do, and ask to see their most recent portfolio work. Their style should be in line with what you are looking for. Get their work experience as well; if they need to be licensed in your state, follow up on this license to make sure that it is current. You should also get at least three recent references from the carpenter you decide to hire, and make sure that those people were satisfied with the job. Ask if the carpenter cleaned up after themselves when done, or if they followed up on any potential issues.
Get your contract in writing, and make sure there is a lien release, as well as an exact list of proposed materials to be used. You can also ask to see if they charge more for materials, or if you should provide these yourself. Find out how they charge, and if it’s per job, hourly, or by a measurement. Never pay more than 50% of the total proposed amount up front, and do not pay the balance until you are completely satisfied with the finished work.
Remember that the carpenter is working for you to do a contracted job. You want to be confident with the person you are hiring in their price, professionalism, and experience. If you are unsure, move on and get another quote from a different professional.
Commercial Carpenter Hourly Rate
Commercial carpenters may also provide a range of different specialities including rough framing, finish work, and creating custom displays, cabinets, and furnishings. The difference is that they are working for commercial buildings rather than residences. The average costs per hour for commercial carpenters is typically between $50 and $75 per hour per person working. If the commercial crew you hire has three carpenters, then you will be paying between $150 and $225 an hour for the work. Most larger projects do have more than one carpenter working at a time, so base rates may be multiplied times the number of people on the job to give you a final hourly cost for the project. Most contracts do detail the rate and the number of people proposed for the project, allowing you to determine the final cost.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Sourcing materials. Check with your carpenter, but it may be possible to source the building materials yourself, which can save you money. You may be able to do this before or after hiring the carpenter.
- Emergency hiring. Carpenters are very rarely called out for emergencies. They work primarily with wood, but do not deal with things like water damage or structural damage. In the rare event you do have to call a carpenter for an emergency, they may charge you additional fees for the timely call.
- Service call. Carpenters also rarely get service calls, but it may happen if a custom cabinet or other piece of commissioned work has suddenly broken. Depending on the carpenter, they may charge you an additional fee equal to one to one and a half hours their going rate for the service call.
- Permits. Carpenters may make structural changes to your home. Any structural change does require a permit, which your carpenter may pull for you. Speak to your local municipality about what permits may impact your job.
- Union carpenter rates. Unions often guarantee a minimum wage for members that may be different than what is charged by private contractors. Depending on the area, this may be higher or lower than the average rate for private work. Union rates typically fall between $40 and $90 per hour per person working.
- What does a carpenter do?
Carpenters work with, shape, and design wooden structures. They may frame your home, put in floor joists, build a deck or gazebo, or construct custom cabinets or furniture for your interiors.
- When should I hire a carpenter?
Anytime you want a job done with wood, you may want to hire a carpenter, as wood is their specialty. This can include making custom cabinets or shelves or framing your home.
- Should carpenters be licensed?
This depends on the state. Most states do license carpenters, but a few do not. Check with your local municipality to find out what licenses are required in your area.
- How do you price a carpentry job?
This usually depends on the job, the level of skill and detail required, and how many hours or people are required to complete it. Many carpenters price their work based on the number of hours it will take to complete, while others may work on the square or linear feet of the finished work.