How to Hire a Qualified Pro for House Framing

Matt Marandola
Written by Matt Marandola
Updated August 19, 2021
 Roof of house being frame
Photo: Tomasz Zajda / Adobe Stock

Be sure to check your rough carpenters' years of experience, references, and where they buy their wood before you finalize a contract with them

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When building a new house, a rough or unfinished carpenter is going to be one of the first people on the site. But before you hire just anyone, do your research—a reputable rough carpenter will have at least three years of experience under their belt. For the best results, ensure you’re calling around and getting at least three quotes from three different rough carpenters.

How to Find an Unfinished Carpenter

If you’re building your home from scratch with your own contracting team, your general contractor might be able to give you a reference for a quality rough carpenter in your area. But you should still do your own research to find the best quotes (and work!) possible.

Find pros and look at reviews online. Or, if you know anyone who has also built their own home, ask them who they hired and what their experience was like.

Before Hiring a Rough Carpenter

Before you hire a rough carpenter, you’ll want to ensure you’ve already hired a local general contractor for your project. They will help plan your home’s framing and give the carpenter an idea of what project they can expect. The more information the carpenter has ahead of time, the more accurate their quote will be.

Plan Your House Frame for Accurate Quotes

Talk with your general contractor to get an idea of how large of a house you’re wanting to build. Other considerations for the home include how many rooms, how big the slope of the roof is, and if you have any special requests when it comes to wood type. All of this information will help you get an accurate quote from the carpenter. 

Check Your Unfinished Carpenters Qualifications and References

Ask each carpenter you talk to for references. Ask those references how stable the house feels and whether they’ve had to deal with any issues related to the house’s frame.

As for qualifications, each state is different when it comes to licensing. Generally, most states require a rough carpenter to have a general contracting license for framing homes. Though some states, such as Alabama, require the carpenter to have a specific framing license.

Questions to Ask Your Rough Carpenter

To make sure you’re picking the best rough carpenter for your home, there are a few questions they should be able to answer without hesitation. These questions include:

  • How long have you been a rough carpenter?

  • Where do you source your lumber from?

  • How does your house framing hold up over time?

  • Do you have insurance and licenses to complete the job?

  • How long do you expect the project to take?

  • Are you familiar with balloon framing?

  • Can you make custom stud placements?

  • What does a payment schedule look like with you?

Hiring Your Carpenter

 Carpenter using measuring tape to mark lumber
Photo: MIND AND I / Adobe Stock

Once you’ve asked the questions and compared quotes, it’s time to start the hiring process. If you’re working with your general contractor and they picked out the unfinished carpenter, make sure you get a copy of the contract before it’s signed and make any necessary changes.

Get a Contract and Arrange Payments With Your Rough Carpenter

If you’re hiring a local framing contractor yourself rather than through the general contractor, you’ll handle the contract and payments in their entirety. A general rule of thumb is to pay them one-third of the payment initially as a down payment and the rest comes over time until the project is finished.

Keep Records of Your House Framing Project

Throughout the project, keep tabs on progress and if everything is meeting the agreed-upon schedule. This is your home, so if something’s bothering you, don’t be afraid to convey those feelings.

After Your Framing Contractor Has Finished

Once the job is complete, check over the work before the rest of the contracting crew continues with building your home. Take your time with house framing and point out things now before walls start to go up.

If everything is in order, it’s time to make the final payment. Leave a detailed online review, and, if you’re happy with their work, offer to be a reference. Be sure to take their card and pass it along to anyone else you know who needs house framing.

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