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2018 How Much Does a Carpenter Cost?

Last Updated Sep 14, 2018 · Written by Craig Gibson


Need a new kitchen? Seeking a custom entertainment unit? Or need a new door, floors or windows installed?

You would be surprised what a humble chippy is able to do. Carpenters are also able to work with different materials, like steel and plastics such as PVC.

But exactly how much do carpenters charge for this work? This article aims to give an overview of what jobs a carpenter does and how much these may cost you.

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Timber windows can add real character to a home. © Fairoak Timber Windows

What do carpenters do?

Carpenters are a versatile trade able to work on a range of projects around your home, including:

Architraves: a carpenter can make sure all the detail work, like architraves, are just right.

Built-in wardrobes: you would be amazed how much more you could fit into a properly fitted out wardrobe.

Decking: one of the most popular features for an outdoor setting, timber decking is available at a range of price points.

Doors and windows: timber doors and windows have excellent thermal properties and add a distinctive look to any home. 

Renovations: carpenters can help with a wide range of renovation tasks, like creating kitchen cabinetry.

Stairs and handrails: creating timber stairs and handrails are a specialised task best left to a carpenter.

House frames and formwork: house frames and formwork for concreting are often constructed from timber by a carpenter specialised in working on building projects.

Pergolas: an outdoor timber pergola can add real character to your outdoor area.

Retaining walls: often used to create more usable space on a property, a timber retaining wall can also help stabilise a sloped area for your safety. 

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A carpenter can build you a stunning timber deck like this.  © Utopia Landscape Design

Does my carpenter need to be licensed?

Some, but not all state/territories require someone advertising themselves as a carpenter to be licensed. 

ACT: the ACT Planning and Land Authority (ACTPLA) regulates all building related trade licences and requires carpenters to hold a builders licence with the appropriate endorsement.

NSW: in NSW Fair Trading regulates the building trade and requires  a carpenter to be licensed, even for non-structural work.

NT: in the Northern Territory carpenters are not required to be licensed unless the value of work exceeds $12,000, in which case they need a builders licence issued by the Building Practitioners Board. 

Queensland: the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) requires carpenters to be licensed builders.

SA: Consumer and Business Services (CBS) regulates the construction industry and require carpenters to be licensed builders.

Tasmania: the Department of Justice issues trade licences in Tasmania and require carpenters to be licensed builders.

Victoria: the Building Practitioners Board (BPB) requires a carpenter to hold a DB-L-C
registration for general carpentry work.

WA: unless your carpentry job is in excess of $20,000 in value there is no need for your carpenter to be licensed. If it is, they will require a builders licence.

In some states carpenters work under a builders licence


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A carpenter can make your dream kitchen a reality. © Taste Living

How much do carpenters cost?

Carpenters charge anywhere from $40 - $80 an hour, depending on where you live. There rates will also vary depending on what job they are carrying out.

Smaller jobs such as installing skirting boards may cost at the lower end of the scale, $40 per hour. More complex jobs, such as custom installations or building a new kitchen, will cost more as the carpenter will require a higher skill set. For these jobs, you’re likely to be looking at $80 or more per hour. Building built-in wardrobes and more complex cabinetry comes in at closer to $120 per hour. For other specialist tasks – such as building a deck or pergola – the carpenter may charge a fixed price. They’ll usually calculate this rate after assessing the size of the structure and how much of their time is required.

Carpenters charge anywhere from $40 - $80 an hour, depending on where you live

Find a Local Carpenter now

Built-in wardrobe cost

For built-in wardrobes expect to pay in the region of:
 

  • $1,000 for built-in wardrobes using budget materials and fittings
  • $2,500 for mid-range built-ins using better materials and fittings
  • $5,000 for a luxury install using the best materials and fittings

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A fully-featured walk-in wardrobe. © Best For Less Wardrobes & Shower Screens

Timber staircase cost

For timber staircases expect to pay in the region of:

  • $900 for a straight flight, using MDF
  • $1,220 for a U shaped flight, using MDF
  • $1,100 for an L shape flight, using MDF

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Solid timber stairs add real warmth and character to this home. © On The Way Up

Timber decking costs

The cost of your deck will depend on its size and what materials and timber you use. Treated pine is at the lower end of the cost scale, with hardwood timber and composite timber progressively more expensive.

Expect to pay in the region of $265 per square metre as a median guide, including materials.  Averages can be deceiving, though. Treated pine decking costs about $13 - $15 for 90mm wide lengths of up to 6 metres while composite decking can cost between $35 and $60 for a board of the same dimensions.

For a timber deck expect to pay in the region of:

  • $3,200 for a 20 square metre deck using treated pine
  • $7,000 for a 20 square metre deck using a mid-range hardwood
  • $15,000 for a 20 square metre deck using composite timber

Read: How much does decking cost?

Timber retaining wall cost

For a timber retaining wall, expect to pay in the region of:

  • $150 – $250 per square metre for a pine sleeper wall, depending on site access, soil type and drainage status
  • $200 – $300 per square metre for a hardwood sleeper retaining wall, depending on site access, soil type and drainage status

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A multi-level timber retaining wall. © Inspired Landscape Design & Construction

Timber fence cost

For a timber fence, expect to pay in the region of:

  • $60 to $180 per linear metre for a timber picket fence

Timber flooring cost

The type and grade of timber you choose is the most important factor in determining price.

For example, standard grade Blackbutt flooring can cost around $5.00 a linear metre (80mm wide by 13mm thick), whilst select grade Blackbutt can cost in the region of $9.00 a linear metre (85mm wide by 19mm thick) or more.

For solid timber flooring, expect to pay in the region of:
 

  • $40 per square metre for low grade timber
  • $70 per square metre for mid-grade timber
  • $100 per square metre or more for premium timber with few or no defects

For floating timber flooring, expect to pay in the region of $40 to $100 per square metre, depending on the type of timber and brand purchased.

Timber house frame cost

For a timber house frame, expect to pay in the region of:

  • $1480 per square metre

The best way of finding out the cost of your job is to get quotes from local carpenters. This will give you a sense of what market rates currently are. 

* All the costs and prices quoted were sourced at the time this article was written. They are indicative, may vary locally, are subject to market forces and should only be used as a guide.

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