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What is the role of joiners in house construction? Do I need to hire them for my project?

Often, one hears the terms carpenter and joiner being used interchangeably in conversations, but the two professions have distinct differences since a joiner usually works in a woodworking factory or workshop where he creates elements for the house by joining together pieces of wood. A carpenter works onsite on tasks such as the installation of wooden elements like doors, windows and cabinetry. 

Most homeowners rarely encounter joiners as architects and interior designers place orders directly with them and the finished products are delivered to the construction site, ready to be installed or assembled by the carpenter. However, if a homeowner has a small project for which he doesn’t want to hire an architect as the consulting fees payable to him would add to the costs, hiring joiners is an economical alternative.

The work of joiners and carpenters have many similarities. Therefore, it’s essential that one understands the differences between the professions to make it easier to decide which one is more suitable for a specific job.

What are the differences between joiners and carpenters?

Since both professions involve working with wood, it’s not unusual to find a joiner who can undertake carpentry work or a carpenter who also works as a joiner. In general, the differences between the two professionals are:

  • While both joiners and carpenters are trained artisans or craftsmen, the primary difference between the two is that a joiner works in a workshop, creating wooden elements for the house, whereas a carpenter fixes the wooden parts at the construction site.
  • Joiners work with heavy machinery that is unsuitable for transportation to the site. They build doors, windows, fitted cabinets and other furniture by joining pieces of wood in the workshop. These pieces are then transported to the house where the carpenter assembles them using smaller tools or equipment such as drills, hammers and saws.
  • Another notable difference between the two professionals is that a joiner uses only wood to construct pieces. Unlike a carpenter, he does not require screws, nails, nuts and bolts to complete his job.

The decision on which of these professionals to hire for a job will depend on the scope of the work. For tasks that need to be built onsite, such as creating the framework for a roof or a partition wall, a carpenter can undertake the job. For a custom-made bed or large wardrobe for the study, one needs a joiner who will build these pieces in the workshop, before arranging for them to be delivered to the house.

Do joiners require any specific qualifications to offer services?

Joining is a craft that is learned by working as an apprentice. However, joiners should be able to read plans, understand technical drawings, have basic woodworking and machinery skills, be aware of the various types of wood and timber as well as how each one responds to processes such as cutting, glueing and sanding. Besides this, a joiner needs basic knowledge of math to calculate costs and work out measurements. Safety requirements and procedures are other factors that joiners should know as they work with heavy machinery, which comes with a high risk of accidents.

In India, there is no separate vocational qualification offered for joiners. Most professionals who provide services as joiners would have completed the ITI certified carpenter trade course. To be eligible for the course, they should have completed education at least up to the 8th standard. 

What should I look for before hiring joiners?

It’s essential to find an experienced and skilled joiner for a project as it will ensure that the finish and quality of the furniture and wooden elements meet the required standards. Before hiring a professional, be sure to check the following:

  • Ask about the nature of his work, as a joiner’s job description is far more complicated than that of a carpenter. If he talks about building door and window frames, staircases and furniture, you can be assured he is a joiner. However, don’t forget to see a few work samples or at least photographs of elements he has built.
  • Verify whether the joiner’s workshop can handle the expected volume of work. For example, a joiner with a small set up might be capable of executing your project, but if he has many tasks in progress, you might see a delay in your project. If necessary, visit the workshop to see the scale of operations so that you are satisfied that he can deliver on time.
  • Do you need a specialist or a generalist? Some joiners specialise in specific tasks such as building door and window frames. Others might undertake all sorts of jobs such as making furniture in addition to building doors and windows. By assessing the scope of work that your construction project needs, you will get a better idea of whether to hire a specialist or an all-rounder.
  • Customer references are an excellent way to verify the work-quality of a joiner. Don’t hesitate to ask for references, preferably from clients for whom the professional has recently done some work.

How to find joiners online?

A simple web search can throw up a lengthy list of joiners in almost any Indian city. However, before hiring a professional, we recommend verifying their portfolio and getting client references to be sure that the job will be carried out as expected.

On homify, our joiners’ directory has city-wise listings of skilled joiners. By browsing through their profiles, you can see photographs of their work and ascertain whether they are suitable for your project requirements. Additionally, you can select a few professionals and request for an online quote before deciding whether to hire them.

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