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Get Quotes from Top Carpenters in Columbus, OH

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

Every now and then, it is a good idea to conduct maintenance on the woodworks in your home and commence woodwork-related home improvement projects. Doing this can improve your home's aesthetic quality, overall market value, and partly protect you from harsh weather conditions. Nevertheless, conducting woodwork maintenance or improvement without experience or knowledge of the relevant safety precautions can lead to serious injuries and death. Annually in the United States, woodwork tools are a major cause of over 10,000 finger amputations, consequently resulting in high medical bills. Hence, when you need a woodwork-related service performed, it is advisable to hire registered carpenters to execute the project, as they have more experience and are conversant with the relevant safety precautions.

To get a skilled carpenter to work on your carpentry-related project, you can start by soliciting recommendations from family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. However, asking the following questions can also help you hire the best carpenter for the job:

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

It is unlawful to undertake or perform any carpentry-related work without being duly registered or licensed in the city of Columbus. Any carpenter who works on behalf of a registered or licensed carpenter can carry out carpentry work without a license. However, any unlicensed or unregistered carpenter performing carpentry works where licensure or registration is required is guilty of a misdemeanor, which may result in fines of up to $500 or a six-month jail term, or both.

The City of Columbus Department of Building and Zoning Services (BZS) is responsible for general contractor registration, issuing home improvement general contractor licenses, and home improvement limited contractor licenses to interested persons. To be eligible for any of these licenses or registration, interested persons must meet specific requirements including, hands-on experience, passing exams, and paying the requisite fees. Experience requirements vary depending on the license type. For instance, interested applicants applying for a home improvement general contractors license must have a minimum of three full years of hands-on installation experience in the one, two, and three-family home improvement fields. In contrast, interested applicants for a home improvement limited contractor license are only required to have at least one full year of hands-on experience in just a specific field of interest. Having met the aforementioned requirements, interested persons can submit a completed General Contractor Application Form or Home Improvement Contractor Application Form to the Department or via email and pay the necessary fees. Applicants for a general contractor license must further satisfy bond requirements. Interested persons can contact the BZS Customer Service Center at (614) 645-7433 or via email for additional information regarding contractors' registration and licensing.

To verify if your intended carpenter is duly licensed, you can Search for Licenses on the City of Columbus Citizen Access Portal.

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

The average hourly pay for a carpenter in Columbus is $24.76. However, charge rates for carpentry works can vary based on the number of hours the job will take and the skill level required to complete the project. Carpentry costs are typically higher when you are requesting an emergency service, special equipment is required to perform the work, and the work spans several days. Nevertheless, it is best to get estimates from multiple carpenters so you can get the price estimate that fits your budget. This multiple estimate process may be time-consuming, but it is always in the homeowner's best interest.

A carpenter in the City of Columbus earns an annual average wage of $51,510. The table below provides a comparison of the mean hourly wage for carpenters in the City of Columbus against those of carpenters in the rest of the State of Ohio as well as across several other major American cities:

Columbus Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
$24.76
Ohio Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
$24.42
Austin Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
$19.33
Jacksonville Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
$19.12
Washington D.C. Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
$24.98
Seattle Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
$33.25
Boston Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
$31.31
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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

The Columbus Building Code (CBC) is a set of rules and regulations designed to ensure the safety of the lives and properties of the residents of the City of Columbus by regulating housing construction in the City. When hiring a carpenter, ensure that this individual is conversant with this Code. This is because the Code controls the design, construction, quality of materials, use and occupancy, location and maintenance of all buildings and structures, and the use of certain equipment within the City.

The Building Code contains provisions that pertain to roof assemblies and rooftop structures, interior finishes, wood-related works, accessibility into buildings, means of egress, and other aspects of building and construction that are carpentry-related. Carrying out carpentry-related works in violation of the Building Code attracts punishments like fines and jail terms. Besides doing your due diligence to ensure your intended carpenter is conversant with the Columbus Building Code, it is also advisable to familiarize yourself with this Code as well before embarking on a major home improvement-related project. With the knowledge acquired, if your hired carpenter does any work that violates the Code, you will be able to correct the carpenter or report the situation to the Building Compliance Section of the City of Columbus Department of Building and Zoning Services (BZS) at (614) 645-1733 or via email.

You can contact the City of Columbus Department of Building and Zoning Services (BZS) at (614) 645-7433 to get information on the city's Building Code.

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

Per section 4113.57 of the Columbus City Code, it is mandatory for all carpenters to get the necessary permit before commencing any carpentry-related work in the City of Columbus. However, permits are not needed for carpentry works done on one-story detached accessory structures, provided the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet. Additionally, cabinetry works and decks about 200 square feet in area and not more than 30 inches can be constructed without a permit. Per section 4111.99 of the Columbus City Code, any carpenter who violates this Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree and can be fined a maximum of $1,000 or imprisoned for about 180 days or both.

The City of Columbus Department of Building and Zoning Services (BZS) issues permits to carpenters and homeowners in the city. The permitting process begins with submitting a complete Building Permit Application Form and any accompanying plans and specifications that may be required for approval. A permit will be issued, and work can begin if the application and necessary documents are approved. After permits have been issued, the permittee is required to notify the Building Official when the work is ready for inspection. A carpentry work must not commence until the permittee has posted an inspection record card in a conspicuous place on the premises that will enable the Building Official to conveniently carry out inspections. Inspections are required at every stage of the carpentry work, and a final inspection must be made after the completion of the work. This is to ensure that the work is done in compliance with the Columbus Building Code (CBC). After the necessary inspections, the Building Official may either approve the work or notify the permittee about any violations of the Code. The permittee is expected to make the necessary corrections in compliance with the City's Building Code in a situation where the work violates the Code.

Inquiries regarding permitting and inspection can be directed to the Department at (614) 645-7433.

What Kind of Carpentry Services Do You Offer?

Carpenters in Columbus offer diverse carpentry services that involve cutting, shaping, joining, and installing wood building materials and wood products. These carpenters may decide to do many different carpentry tasks or specialize in specific tasks or types of buildings. Also, their license classification determines what service they offer. For instance, registered contractors are authorized to perform carpentry works in multi-family dwellings and accessory structures or buildings. In contrast, home improvement contractors can only do structural additions, alterations, or repairs to existing one, two, and three-family dwellings. Hence, you must do your due diligence to hire only carpenters trained to work on your type of building by checking their licensing classification. Also, ensure you are conversant with the cost of the services these carpenters offer so you can hire only individuals that are willing to work within your budget.

The average costs of carpentry services in the City of Columbus is provided below:

Cabinet installation (labor only)
$35.90 - $41.70 (wall or base cabinets)
Cabinet refacing
$82.80 - $110.40 (per linear foot for mid-grade laminate)
Carpentry framing
$19.70 - $23.00 per square foot (unfinished home addition framing)
Refinish existing cabinets
$7.10 - $9.20 (per square foot)
Interior trim and molding installation
$6.70 - $7.50 per linear foot (mid-grade trim or molding)

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

Carpenters in Columbus are mandated to maintain liability insurance with a minimum coverage limit of about $500,000 per occurrence. These professionals are also expected to maintain a bond of about $25,000.

There are a lot of hazards that come with performing carpentry works, including injuries, exposure to toxic molds, fungi, and bacteria, risk of eye injury from flying particles, and risks of falling from working at heights. For instance, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 166 fatal work injuries occurred in Ohio in 2019, with about 30 of these fatalities occurring amongst construction-related professionals. Hence, considering that carpentry involves a lot of risks, it is always in your best interest to make sure that any carpenter you hire for your project is duly insured. This will prevent you from suffering financially, should the carpenter you hired get injured, damage your property, or cause injury to you or others while working on your property.

You can contact the City of Columbus Department of Building and Zoning Services (BZS) at (614) 645-7433 to make inquiries about the mandatory insurance requirements for contractors in the city.

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

The Ohio Attorney General's Consumer Protection Section received about 22,000 complaints from consumers in 2017. Some of the most common complaints involved home improvement scams, including contractors or companies that did not complete the work they were paid to do. Others offered false promises and often disappeared without doing any work or after doing a shoddy job. For instance, an elderly couple in Columbus was scammed by a contractor who absconded after collecting $2,500 upfront for a project. Hence, homeowners should do their best in ensuring they hire the right carpenter in Columbus to work for them.

Here are ways to avoid contractor scams:

  • Always verify the license of any carpenter that you intend to hire.
  • Ensure the carpenter is insured and bonded.
  • Ask the carpenter for references and cross-check these references.
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau and the Ohio Attorney General's Office to see if any complaints have been made against your intended carpenter.
  • You can also search for previous lawsuits filed against the carpenter by utilizing the Consumer Protection Lawsuit Search on the Attorney General's website.
  • Get at least three written estimates from three different carpenters.
  • Contact the City of Columbus Department of Building and Zoning Services (BZS) at (614) 645-7433 to know if permits are required for your project. Then you must ensure your intended carpenter obtains the necessary permit.
  • Get written contracts that contain a complete description of the work to be done, timeframe, warranty, cost of the work, and the materials to be used.
  • Do not pay huge amounts for the job upfront and do not pay in full until the job is completed and done to your satisfaction.

You can report home improvement and carpenter-related scams that occur in the City of Columbus to the Ohio Attorney General's Office (AGO) online or by mailing a printable Consumer Complaint Form to:

Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Protection Section
30 East Broad Street, 14th floor
Columbus, OH 43215-3400

Typically, after receiving your complaint, the AGO will attempt to resolve the dispute by working with you and the relevant individual or business to reach an amicable resolution. Be aware that the Ohio Attorney General's Office cannot guarantee restitution. If you seek restitution, you can consult an attorney for legal advice. If the matter involves a total of $6,000 or less, you can also consider the possibility of filing a small claims case at the Franklin County Municipal Court. However, before you proceed with any legal action, ensure you consult an attorney.