Finish carpentry is what really pulls the entire project together and gives it that final polish. It includes door and window installation and trim, fitting interior doors, wood and laminate flooring installation, wainscoting, crown molding and cabinet installation.
About Finish Carpentry
Trim Work: It isn’t just decorative wood surrounding doors and windows, but also crown molding, wainscoting and wall paneling. Skillfully choosing and installing trim is only the beginning of finish carpentry success, but it’s important to master. This means knowing how to use tools like a chop saw, router, table saw and pin nailer safely and confidently. Doing good trim work also means cutting and fitting perfect miter joints every time, and learning to achieve apparent perfection with trim by hiding the natural imperfections in the house itself. Wood trim work also involves sanding and finishing, so a finish carpenter also needs to be good with sanders and brushes.
Door Fitting: Even if you will have factory-built doors, fitting them correctly so they hang and swing reliably and latch easily takes skill. Finish carpenters use extremely sharp chisels and gouges to carve shallow pockets for hinges on both doors and door jambs, so doors close properly. Lining up the latch with the strike plate is also crucial, and harder than it looks. It involves carving a precise notch for the latch to click into, then positioning and fastening the strike plate to guide the latch inside. Even a small lack of accuracy here can lead to a door that sticks, or doesn’t latch at all.
Cabinet Installation: Although some finish carpenters build the cabinets they install, cabinetmaking is usually done by different people in a dedicated workshop. Still, finish carpenters need to know how to install cabinets properly. This means finding studs for secure mounting, installing cabinets strongly and invisibly, and working closely with the homeowner to decide exactly where cabinets go. They might also need to apply finish to the cabinets after installation, if this wasn’t already done by the cabinetmaker.
Flooring Installation: Flooring installation might seem simple, but there are important details finish carpenters always keep in mind. If there is no general contractor or project design manager, the finish carpenter may work with the homeowner to choose the flooring material, style and finish. Whether it’s hardwood, softwood, laminate or vinyl plank, care must be taken when working around walls and other obstacles. And extra skill is needed when flooring up to a wall that’s out of square.