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Get Quotes from Top Carpenters in Houston, TX

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Carpenter in the City of Houston

Even though home resale prices in Houston decreased by over 14% over the year, you can increase the value of your property by more than 7% simply by ensuring that you hire a good carpenter to remodel your home and improve its carpentry designs and aesthetic. Besides increasing the value of your property, hiring a good carpenter for your home woodworking needs is also likely to increase your comfort and reduce the likelihood of woodworking-related hazards and accidents in your home. Therefore, when planning a property project involving woodworking, ensure you do your due diligence in finding the carpenter for the project.

With over 11,000 carpenters operating within Houston, searching for a good one might seem like a challenging task. However, recommendations from friends, online directories, third-party review sites, and housing agents may help to simplify this task. Nonetheless, making the following inquiries will also help in ensuring that any carpenter you decide to work with is the best pick for your project:

Are You Licensed to Practice as a Carpenter in the City of Houston?

Currently, the City of Houston does not have any specific licensing or registration requirements for carpenters who intend to offer services to city residents. However, you can utilize other methods to determine that your prospective carpenter is qualified to handle your work. For example, you can check if the carpenter is a member of any reputable national or international professional organization relevant to carpentry services. Examples of such organizations include the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) and the National Association of Home Builders. These organizations and associations hold their members to certain standards, making them likely to operate more professionally than their counterparts who do not belong to any professional organization. You can verify your carpenter's membership claims by contacting the organization or association in question. In addition, you can request that your prospective carpenter provides references from previous clients. Advisably, you should contact these clients and make further inquiries on the carpenter's professionalism, expertise, and service delivery. Be wary of carpenters that are reluctant to provide references, as this usually signifies that the individual does not provide satisfactory services. Furthermore, you can also search out reviews and feedback about your prospective carpenter on consumer-oriented online platforms like the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Google Review.

If you have any questions regarding other regulatory requirements for carpenters in Houston, you can contact the Houston Permitting Center at (832) 394-9000.

How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Carpenters in the City of Houston?

Several factors influence the hourly fees of carpenters in Houston. These include the scope of the work, the age or condition of the building, and the type of materials needed for the work. Also, you can generally expect to be charged between $11 and $29 per hour for labor fees alone by carpenters in Houston. Nonetheless, always ensure that you get cost estimates for your work from at least three carpenters and compare these estimates. Comparing estimates will help you understand the scope of your project, including all relevant stages of the work. Additionally, receiving several bids for your work can open you up to cost-effective alternatives and help you budget for your project.

A carpenter in the City of Houston earns an annual average wage of $44,780. The table below provides a comparison of the mean hourly wage for carpenters in Houston against those of carpenters in the rest of the State of Texas as well as across several other major American cities:

Houston Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
Texas Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
New York City Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
Los Angeles Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
Fort Worth Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
Phoenix Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
Boston Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do You Comply with the City of Houston Building Code for Carpentry Work?

When performing any carpentry service within the City of Houston, carpenters must ensure that this service complies with the minimum safety standards and other requirements established by the Houston Building Code. This Code is tailored after the 2012 International Building Code, and it also includes city-specific local amendments.

The Houston Building Code regulates several carpentry and woodworks in the city, including joist construction, trim works, framing, and roofing. The minimum safety standards established by the Code are designed to ensure that structures are constructed with the appropriate materials, and these constructions follow necessary building processes. Failure to comply with the provisions and established standards of the Houston Building Code is an offense. Per Section 114 of this Code, such a violation is punishable with fines between $500 and $2,000 per day of violation. Depending on the nature of the violation, homeowners may also be fined for failing to supervise their carpenter. Therefore, to avoid penalties and issues with the city's building officials, always ensure that your carpentry work is done in line with the Code. This can only be possible if your prospective carpenter is conversant with the Code's standards and requirements, and you should always confirm this before contracting with a carpenter. You can also make inquiries about the Houston Building Code's requirements and tips for complying with its provisions by contacting the city's Building Code Enforcement Division at (832) 394-9494 or visiting the Division's office at:

Building Code Enforcement Division
1002 Washington Avenue
Houston, TX 77002

Will You Get the Home Improvement Permits as Required by the City of Houston Code?

Section 105.1 of the Houston Building Code mandates residents to obtain relevant permits before embarking on projects that involve the construction, enlargement, alteration, repair, or demolition of a building or structure within the city. This applies to carpentry works. Therefore, ensure that you or your carpenter obtain any permits relevant to your carpentry work. Commencing a project without obtaining the relevant permits is generally an offense that attracts fines and other penalties typically determined by the city's Building Code Enforcement Division. For example, structures with carpentry works done without a permit may not be approved for use.

It should be noted that not all carpentry works in the city require permits. Accordingly, some of the carpentry works that do not require construction permits in Houston include:

  • Work involving uncovered decks accessory to a one or two-family dwelling
  • Work involving cabinet making, countertops, and other finish carpentry work
  • Work involving temporary motion picture, television, and theater stage sets and scenery
  • Work involving non-fixed and movable fixtures, cases, racks, counters, and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches in height

Note that though these works do not require permits, they must be performed in line with the requirements of the Houston Building Code.

The Houston Permitting Center issues different types of construction permits, and the type of permit for your project typically depends on the nature of the project. Types of construction permits include additional commercial structural permits, additional residential structural permits, new commercial/multi-family building permits, and new single-family building permits. Concerned persons can apply for the appropriate permits either online through the City's iPermit portal or by completing a Building Permit Application (CE1263) and submitting it via email or in person at:

Building Code Enforcement Division
1002 Washington Avenue
Houston, TX 77002

Note that some permit applications may also require electronic submission, review, and approval of building plans. You can contact the Permitting Center at (832) 394-9000 to inquire if such a requirement applies to your project. Also, at particular points in your project, building officials must inspect your project to make sure it is compliant with the Houston Building Code. However, homeowners are responsible for scheduling this inspection, and they can do so online by utilizing the Houston scheduling website or by calling (713) 222-9922. For inquiries about applicable permits for your carpentry project and other permit-related matters, contact the Houston Permitting Center at (832) 394-9000 or via email.

What Kind of Carpentry Services Do You Offer?

While carpenters in Houston offer a wide range of services, some can specialize in one or more types or subtypes of carpentry services and develop their skills there. Examples of carpentry services where carpenters specialize include:

  • Rough carpentry
  • Joist making
  • Trim carpentry
  • Framing
  • Roofing

Likewise, some carpenters also specialize in working on certain kinds of structures. For example, residential carpenters would usually work in homes and family dwellings, while commercial or industrial carpenters would usually perform carpentry works in facilities such as factories, schools, and offices. Therefore, before hiring a carpenter, ensure that the carpenter's area of specialization is relevant to the kind of carpentry work that you need. This can be done by asking your prospective carpenters about their areas of specialization, asking for references from past clients who requested a similar service to yours, and requesting pictures of past projects to be assured that the carpenter actually does your kind of work.

Below are common carpentry works in Houston including their cost range:

Carpentry Framing
$19.60 - $22.89 per square foot (unfinished home addition framing)
Carpentry Repairs
$60 - $120 (plus materials)
Interior Trim and Molding Installation
$42.50 - $97.50 per hour
Exterior Trim Installation
$60 - $120 (plus materials)

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Carpenters in the City of Houston?

Performing carpentry works generally has some on-the-job risks such as trips, falls, and other accidents that can cause injuries. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, there were 469 fatal occupational injuries across the state in 2020. 27 of these injuries happened to building exterior contractors, while 14 happened to roofing contractors. Without insurance cover, the cost of such unexpected accidents can fall on the owner of the building or structure where the accident occurred. Therefore, while there are no mandatory insurance requirements for carpenters in Houston, it is always a good idea to hire insured carpenters. To have a reasonable idea of the minimum insurance cover your prospective carpenter should have before handling your project, you can contact the Houston Building Code Enforcement Division by calling (832) 394-9494. Likewise, you can verify your carpenter's insurance coverage by asking the carpenter for their certificate of insurance and contacting the issuing company.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Carpenter in the City of Houston

When searching for a good carpenter in Houston, it is not uncommon to come across some fraudulent individuals seeking to scam you of your money. These individuals or businesses perpetuate scams through different means such as requesting and receiving large upfront payments and not carrying out the agreed work or delivering substandard services, and price gouging. For example, in 2021, a Houston homeowner sued a contractor for monetary relief between $250,000 and $1 million for absconding after collecting large upfront payments for renovation works. Other scam methods typically utilized by these fraudulent individuals include:

  • Requesting payment in only cash
  • Stalling on getting relevant permits
  • Reluctance to provide references
  • Refusal to sign a written contract

To avoid being victims of any such scams, you can try some of these tips:

  • Avoid unsolicited offers
  • Compare estimates from at least three carpenters before making a final choice.
  • Ensure that you understand the terms of the agreement with your carpenter before signing it. It is also a good idea to retain the services of an attorney for contract reviews and related matters.
  • Do not make large payments upfront. You can limit your forward payment to a fraction of the total contract price.
  • Avoid paying your carpenter in cash and keep records of every payment you make.
  • Only make full payment after you are satisfied with the work that has been done.
  • Before hiring a carpenter, ensure that you have done proper research on the carpenter to ensure the carpenter has not been involved in any allegations of fraud and that the carpenter is legit.

Residents of Houston can file complaints against unscrupulous building contractors by contacting the Houston 311 Help & Information Section either online or via phone at (713) 837-0311. The Office of the Harris County District Attorney also receives similar complaints through its consumer helpline at (346) 354-7459 or via email. For complaints related to intentional inflation of supply prices during emergency periods, concerned persons should fill out the online Price Gouging Complaint Form.