8 Questions to ask a carpenter

Building or renovating your home can be an exciting time, but it can also be daunting. When it comes to carpentry work, having the right professional on board is key to a successful project. But, how do you ensure you find a qualified and experienced carpenter who understands your vision? At Dentons.net, we’ve taken on the hassle of what to ask and created a guide to the best questions you can ask a carpenter.

1. Can you walk me through your process?

This will help you understand the steps involved and the timeline for completion. A timeline gives you and the carpenter a roadmap which ensures objectives are hit in a timely fashion. It also reduces the chance of any surprises as you’ll know what they’re doing currently and what the carpenter intends to move onto next.

2. What are some challenges you foresee with this project?

This shows you’re thinking ahead and helps identify potential problems early on. The carpenter in turn should discuss how they would address them and/or how they’ve dealt with similar issues in the past. Similarly, to asking about their processes, this question will give you a picture of the path you project may take. This helps gauge their problem-solving skills and adaptability should issues arise.

3. What materials do you recommend for this project?

This taps into their expertise on wood types and suitability. They should consider both aesthetics and functionality of your project. The material should also be something that is affordable and in budget. You may want to discuss with your carpenter what wood is best for a specific room in your house. For example, some types of wood for finishing a kitchen may not be suitable for a bathroom – your carpenter will be able to advise the best types for each room.

4. How long have you been a carpenter?

You may want to know what kind of experience the carpenter has in carpentry. Do they specialise in residential, commercial or industrial carpentry. In general, the longer they’ve been a carpenter should mean they have a myriad of experience. If they’ve been around for a while, the carpenter is more likely to have seen, and worked on, projects close in style to yours. Overall, more experience should mean a more efficient and trustworthy carpenter.

5. Can you tell me about a project that you're particularly proud of?

This gives them the opportunity to showcase their past work and skills. Taking pride in their work means that they put more effort in, produce a better result and guarantees you get your moneys-worth for a project. Also, being forthcoming to display past projects indicates good customer service and satisfaction.

6. How do you communicate with clients?

Like lots of situations in life, good communication is key. A smooth sailing carpentry project comes as a result of direct communication between carpenter and client. Discussions over start times, issues and solutions are resolved quickly when you can text or call the carpenter. This saves time and importantly money, ensuring that the project runs a efficiently as possible.

7. Can you provide references from past clients?

Talking to past clients can give you valuable insights into the carpenter’s work ethic, quality, and communication style. As a 3rd party, they’ll be able to independently verify the quality and consistency of the work and provide extra details that the carpenter may not have disclosed. You can also use only reviews but be cautious of fake or misleading reviews as they can’t be independently verified.

8. What is your hourly rate or project estimate?

This helps you understand their pricing structure and allows you to compare quotes. Also, most projects aren’t cookie-cutter as they are tailor-made in terms of materials, type of house and the style that you want. All being said, the carpenter’s quote will vary depending on these factors and your own budget requirements.