Ask any builder or contractor in Massachusetts and they'll tell you that one of the most important sub-contractors on any construction project is a framer. In the over 20 years we've been in business, we've built our reputation as one of the premier wood framing companies in Massachusetts.
This reputation is built on the back of hundreds of successful residential and commercial construction projects and an equal number of hugely satisfied clients, both homeowners, and contractors alike. But, before we go ahead with the details, let's first gain an understanding of what a framer's job is on a job/construction site and why they're considered so important in the scheme of things. Quick note, we will not be going into the difference between a framer and a carpenter, as that has already been explained in some detail in an earlier article.
What is Frame Carpentry?
On the surface, Frame Carpentry is the process of creating the wooden framework on a construction site that will eventually support the walls, ceilings, and roofs. This wood framing forms the skeleton of the structure and is what everything else is built around. Within this scope, there are three phases of construction that a framing contractor or a framer is involved in.
The first level of involvement of the framer is creating the rough framework of the house, the structure that makes the home or the building look, well, like a home or a building. This is generally done before the electrician, the plumber, or the HVAC contractor arrives on site. In fact, in some cases, the framer might be one of the first people on-site after the excavation work has been completed. The rough framework generally comprises of the following:
In most cases, the floor system is the first thing that the framer will work on. This is because it provides a stable platform for them to stand on while working on the rest of the rough framework.
The second phase of work for the carpentry framer is what you'd typically see on the outside of the home i.e. the windows and weatherization/waterproofing. Given how damaging water can be to the structural integrity of the build, it's absolutely critical that this phase be done to exacting standards, something that we've excelled at in all the years we've been in business. This phase also includes
The third, and final, phase of work for the framer is what you see on the top of the house, the soffits, the facia, and the sheathing. This is a protective layer that is put over the wood framing to provide additional support and protection. The most common type of sheathing is plywood, but in some cases, fiberboard or oriented strand board (OSB) might be used.
With the phases of framing carpentry done, let's dive back into the core question of this article, how to find a really good wood framer?
How to Find a Good Wood Framer?
While there are plenty of ways to find a good & dependable wood framing company, we'll first outline the typical ways and then outline the steps we usually take to get a really good wood framer onto our crew.
Typical Ways to Find a Wood Framer
The first step in finding a wood framer is to ask around for recommendations. Talk to friends, family, and acquaintances who have recently had construction work done on their homes or businesses. If they had a good experience with their framer, they'll be more than happy to pass on the contact information.
Another avenue you can explore is online directories such as Angie's List, HomeAdvisor, or Thumbtack. These websites have a wealth of information on local wood framers in your area and also provide customer reviews that can give you an idea of the quality of work to expect.
The Wells Custom Way to Find a Quality Wood Framer
While we have a fairly large crew of wood framers already on our team, given how busy we are, we're always looking to hire new framers. And when we're on the hunt for talent, these are the avenues we usually turn to:
Talk to Your Lumber Dealer
Lumber dealers are a great source of information when looking for qualified individuals. They usually have deep connections within the industry and know who always seems to be busy with work, ordering lumber for projects, and who is on the bench more often than not.
Talk to Other Builders or Industry Associations
While a little tricky to pull off, this avenue is also a great source of information for trusted contacts. In most cases, wood framers usually have a good idea of who the other top wood framers in the area are. If you can get in touch with any of them and establish a relationship, it'll be much easier to get information from them on who their best contacts are. Bonus tip, you can also look at reaching out to associations like the local Homeowners Association and the local chapter of the AIA or the American Institute of Architects.
Talk to Finish Carpenters
Very often overlooked, this is the route we prefer (after the lumber dealer route) as they are the guys that have to deal with the work done by the framing carpenter, so they know the guys who do a fabulous job and those who don't - the framing carpenters who are finishing jobs with walls plum, doorways with lovely straight corners and the like. You can be sure that when a finish carpenter has to spend time correcting a mistake done by a framing carpenter, they're not going to give any recommendations for future projects.